Nari Kim Takes Day 1 Futures Tour Lead
'It was steady golf on the front nine but somehow on the back nine I ran into more trouble, so it was kind of a strange way to do it,' Kim said. 'I actually had more birdie chances on the front nine than the back nine.'
While Kim might be a rookie on paper with the Duramed FUTURES Tour, some background research on the first-year player reveals an experienced veteran who has put her time in with the LPGA and KLPGA. Last season, she recorded a career-best tie for 17th at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay on the LPGA Tour. A native of Seoul, South Korea, Kim blazed through the morning sun to carve out five birdies on the scorecard and take an early lead heading into Saturday's second-round action.
Coming off of a 16th-place tie in the season-opening Bright House Networks Open in Lakeland, Fla., Wigger had her sights set on bigger things in Daytona Beach. The former four-time Academic All-American at Virginia stormed through the back nine with four birdies including back-to-back birdies on No. 17 and 18 to head into the clubhouse.
'I played pretty well, I putted awesome,' said Wigger, of Louisville, Ky. 'I had 24 putts on the day. I just had one really bad hole and ended up doubling No. 7. It was just a great round with solid ball-streaking and solid play.'
Wigger could tell the momentum was on her side on the 13th hole when she hit a drive that caromed near the trees, but received a lucky bounce. On her ensuing provisional shot, Wigger stuck the ball three feet from the pin to set up her birdie streak. As a senior at UVA, Wigger tied for second at the 2006 NCAA Fall Preview at the LPGA International Golf Course and has played the course on numerous occasions, prompting her to call it a home course.
Two-Time 2007 Tournament Champion Leon Finds Red Numbers in Season Debut
Two-time Duramed FUTURES Tour winner Taylor Leon made her anticipated season debut in Daytona Beach and finished at 1-under par with a 71 in her first round of the year. The top individual at the CIGNA Golf Classic in Bloomfield, Conn., and the Betty Puskar Golf Classic in Morgantown, W.Va., as a rookie, Leon captained the winning pro-am team earlier in the week and battled back from a bogey on her first hole today to rattle in three birdies on the front nine.
'I definitely played better than what I have been playing,' said Leon of Dallas. 'I hit the ball well and made some good putts, but I feel like I could have played better. I don't know why that first hole always gets me, but I just stayed focused, made a birdie (on No. 5) and calmed down.'
Leon is no stranger to the LPGA International Course, finishing at 2-under par in the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament last fall to earn conditional status and tying for fourth at the 2006 NCAA Fall Preview in Daytona Beach with the University of Georgia. She also tied for 33rd at the 2004 Rolex Junior Girls Championship.
A non-exempt member of the LPGA Tour and two time first-team NGCA All-American in Athens, Ga., Leon was ninth on the Duramed FUTURES Tour money list as a rookie despite playing only eight events.
AMERICAN SYSTEMS Makes Corporate History
The second tournament on the calendar of the Duramed FUTURES Tour schedule signified the first sports-sponsored event for the Chantilly, Virginia-based AMERICAN SYSTEMS. Founded in 1975, the company provides systems engineering, technical and managed services to government and private sector customers. Executive Vice President Bobby Christian was on hand with Duramed FUTURES Tour CEO Zayra Calderon in Daytona Beach to present awards following the pro-am tournament and was on a team led by second-year Duramed FUTURES Tour player Caroline Larsson of Stockholm, Sweden.
March Madness Extends to the Links
With the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament coming to a close in San Antonio, Texas, the college rivalries continue to heat up on the course - just ask former UCLA Bruin Mo Martin and former North Carolina Tar Heel Ashley Prange. The pair set up a bet for dinner between Martin's Bruins and Prange's Tar Heels if they meet in the title game. UCLA would have to knock off Memphis and UNC would have to down Kansas for the showdown to take place. Martin's former teammate at UCLA, Bridget Dwyer, helped her pro-am to a second-place finish. The Jayhawks are represented on the Duramed FUTURES Tour roster by rookie and 2007 Big 12 champion Amanda Costner, who is not in the tournament field this week.
Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys
After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.
There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.
It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.
It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.
“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.
In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.
Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”
Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.
“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”
Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.
Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.
If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.
For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.
Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.
Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.
While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.
When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?
Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.
After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.
The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.
That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.
The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.
While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.
Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.
Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.
“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?
Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'
John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.
That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.
Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.
Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid
Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.
Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.
Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.
World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.
Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.
Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain
The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.
Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.
"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."
Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.
Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.
Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.