Murphy Wins on Futures Tour

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourSYRACUSE, N.Y. -- And you thought that cloud of smoke on the ninth green was a hotdog fire at the adjacent halfway house outdoor grill? Nope. It was Michelle Murphy, doing a slow burn after an untimely bogey on No. 9 with three putts from 30 feet.
Murphy could have really gone up in smoke right there in the cloud of sizzling pork. But instead, she steadied herself like a 14-year veteran pro, birdied the 14th hole from eight feet, and closed out the win in today's final round of the $60,000 M&T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic. She fired a 2-under-par 69 for a 54-hole total of 207 (-6) for her first victory since 2002.
'It feels great,' said Murphy, 37, a native of Tacoma, Wash. 'I haven't had a win in a couple of years. I don't win a lot playing golf.'
But what Murphy won was the war of attrition. In a week when the season's pressure finally bent the backs (and knees and wrists) of four players who withdrew with injuries, and on The Links at Erie Village course that required constant attention to detail and direction, the veteran used her years of hard licks to outlast the 144-player field on the tricky par-71, 6,224-yard track.
It was a week in which several top players, long hitters and season winners missed the cut because their straight shots weren't straight enough. And it was a week in which normally patient players were all but grinding their teeth to pencil in numbers on their scorecards they haven't written in years -- numbers like 8 and 10 on hole No. 7 -- a par-5, 510-yard dogleg right that required players to thread the needle on their tee shots between tight out-of-bounds stakes on the left and a gaping water hazard on the right. Top players like Aram Cho of Seoul, Korea and Nicole Perrot of Vina del Mar, Chile each scribbled 8s on their cards in the final round.
'You have to hit the balls where you want to play them,' said a disappointed Perrot, who started the day at 3 under par and finished at 3 over with a 6-over 77. 'I went O.B. on No. 2 for a double and I hit the water and three-putted on No. 7 for a triple-bogey. Those two holes cost me five shots today.'
Kris Tamulis of Naples, Fla., started the day tied for the lead with Allison Hanna, but she stumbled with bogeys on holes 4 and 9, then doubled at the 11th. The best Tamulis could do was post a 2-over-par 73 to finish tied for third at 210 with Emily Bastel of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, who carded a 3-under 68 today. Bastel finished with three birdies and no bogeys and a sense of relief by safely hitting 16 greens in regulation.
'The driver doesn't get you anywhere on this golf course,' Bastel said. 'I could have left it in the trunk of my car all week. Winning always comes down to putting, but this course brings accuracy more into play.'
Hanna had the best chance to chase Murphy and the only real chance to win the tournament in today's final round. With scores soaring, hopes plummeting and nerves on edge, it was a day that begged the question: Who wants to win this tournament, anyway?
Hanna had her hand in the air. The recent Ohio State University grad and Futures Tour rookie birdied the first hole to take the lead right out of the blocks. She bogeyed No. 4 to fall behind, but fought back with a birdie from three feet on No. 5 to let Murphy know she wasn't going to hand over the $8,400 winner's check without a tussle. But bogeys on No. 9 and No. 10 put Hanna a shot behind Murphy with eight holes to play.
'I had a hard time reading the greens today,' admitted Hanna, of Portland, Ore. 'The greens were getting a little firmer and even the chip shots rolled a little faster.'
Hanna felt she had birdie chances on each of the last four holes. Her 15-foot birdie attempt on the 17th stopped a dimple short. Her 10-foot birdie on the 18th left her one shot shy of forcing a playoff with Murphy, who was already in the clubhouse. Hanna carded an even-par 71 to finish at 5-under 208 for solo second.
'I always like to win, but all I can do is put myself in that position,' said Hanna, who finished third in her debut tournament as a pro back in late May. 'I have to hope this will prepare me for the next time.'
There were some final-round heroics from Kathy Choi-Rogers of Huntington Beach, Calif., who fired a 67 to jump into a tie for fifth with Kyeong Bae (68) and Sung Ah Yim (69), both of Seoul, Korea. Veteran Abby Pearson of Florence, S.C., fired a 5-under-par 66 on Sunday for a share of 18th place and bragging rights for the week's low 18-hole round.
But it was Murphy who was still standing at the end of the day. The disappointed faces had ambled on to their cars while Murphy, atypically social for a touring pro, chatted to fans, volunteers, kids and staff members as the scoring tent was broken down around her. Her 158-yard fairway bunker shot on the 18th had been a perfect 6-iron finish to 10 feet above the hole, which she two-putted for par. Her three-birdie, one-bogey round was good enough to win. And Murphy was satisfied.
'I'm a talker, but I don't talk a lot out there,' she said. 'I wish I could play like a goofball on the course, but I can't. I just get the job done.'
A member of the LPGA Tour in 1998, 2000 and 2001, Murphy is not sure she wants to return to the big leagues. Even jumping from No. 25 to No. 10 on the Futures Tour Money List with her win, she says she would simply like to 'have the option' to return to the LPGA Tour. She has a couple of job interviews lined up. She dreams of not packing up her custom van to travel week after week. She and husband, Dan Murphy, would like to 'be in one place' in Oregon, Colorado or New Mexico.
'I have other things I want to do,' she said. 'I have a life. I don't want to leave anything undone.'
And that's not likely to happen. Not for the player who emerged from the hotdog smoke with a smile on her face and a fire in her belly.
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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.