Ochoa Delivers Third Title

By Futures Tour MediaAugust 11, 2002, 4:00 pm
Futures TourMORGANTOWN, W. Va., ' Rookie Lorena Ochoa of Guadalajara, Mexico, captured her third tournament in nine starts at the $70,000 Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic held at The Pines Country Club in Morgantown, W. Va. Ochoa fired a 69 (-3) for a 207 (-9), defeating non-exempt LPGA Tour member Erika Wicoff of New Albany, Ind., and Teresa Ishiguro of Sutter Creek, Calif., by two shots. Wicoff and Ishiguro shot rounds of 66 (-6) and 70 (-2).
 
Ochoa, who came into the final round with a one-stroke deficit to Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, at 138 (-6), caught up early on in the match with a birdie on two. A bogey on eight was wiped out with a birdie on nine. Through nine holes, Ochoa was tied with Kang, her playing partner, and Ishiguro at 7-under-par for the tournament.
 
As Ochoa made the turn, she recorded her second bogey in three holes on the par-4 394-yard 10th hole. The 20-year-old came back with another birdie, her third of the day, on 12, to go to 7-under-par again. An additional birdie on 14 gave her the outright lead and in true Ochoa fashion, she finished strong by capping off her round with a 10-foot birdie putt on 18. She ended with a 69 (-3) for a 207 (-9) total.
 
'The round seemed very long today,' commented Ochoa, who picked up the $9,800 first-place check and moved to top spot on the Futures Tour Money List. 'I was a little frustrated with my play on the front nine. Once I made the turn, I started from zero. I stayed patient, played consistent, and my goal was to finish strong. Im very pleased.'
 
Wicoff made an impressive run for her second Futures Tour career victory. She started the day tied for 16th at 143 (-1) and recorded only one birdie through the first nine holes. Wicoff turned in a scorching back nine, picking up birdies on 10, 12, 16, and she chipped in from 30 feet for eagle on the final hole, the par-5 446-yard No. 18. Wicoff finished with a 6-under-par 66. Oddly enough, she was victorious at the 1996 Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic, where she also shot a final-round 66 (-6) for a 212 (-4).
 
'Regardless of the outcome, my goal was to play well,' said Wicoff. 'Things were pretty slow on the front nine. I just kept telling myself that I needed to make birdies if I wanted something to happen. When I saw the leaderboard on 16, I knew I was only a couple shots away from Lorena. I was determined to finish strong with at least a birdie, and it turned out to be a lot better.'
 
Ishiguro, who started at 5-under-par 139, carded three birdies and one bogey to match Ochoa and Kang, who were playing one group behind. Like Ochoa, Ishiguro bogeyed 10 and birdied 12 to remain tied with her competitor. She parred her remaining holes and finished one shot back of Ochoa at 7-under-par 209, her career-best finish on the Futures Golf Tour.
 
Second-round leader Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, recorded one birdie and one bogey on the front side, but collapsed with two straight bogeys on 10 and 11. Kang was unable to recover and ended the round at 1-over-par 73. Kang finished in fourth with a 54-hole total of 210 (-6).
 
It felt like dj vu for Ochoa, who was paired with Kang three tournaments ago in the final round of the M&T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic in Syracuse, N.Y. Kang beat Ochoa by one shot. Rather than suffer the agony of defeat, Ochoa promised herself that things would be different this time around.
 
This is Ochoas third victory of the season, becoming the first player to do so this year. The rookie turned professional and joined the Tour in mid-May. In only nine tournaments, she has posted three wins, and four runner-up finishes, placing out of the top five only once. By reviewing her performance, it is clear that Ochoa has made a smooth transition from the amateur to professional ranks.
 
She credits LPGA superstar Annika Sorenstam of Stockholm, Sweden, another product of the University of Arizona, for helping Ochoa make the grueling decision of leaving school to turn professional. The two have become good friends and even had the opportunity to play in the third round of the Nabisco Kraft Championship, an LPGA major, in late March. Sorenstam was the eventual winner, while Ochoa, who was still an amateur, placed eighth with a 285 (-3), only five shots short of Sorenstam.
 
'Annika gave me some great advice before I decided to turn professional,' Ochoa commented. 'We have become good friends and I really admire all of her accomplishments. I also had the chance to play a play a practice round with her during the U.S. Open and I am looking forward to playing again with her soon.'
 
Ochoas goals are to not only make it onto the LPGA Tour, but she is determined to follow in the footsteps of her friend. She has made a remarkable start.
 
Getty Images

Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

Getty Images

Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.