Pair Tied on Futures Tour

By Futures Tour MediaJune 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourAVON, Conn. -- For Stephanie George, today's share of the lead kept the momentum going from her previous week. For Valerie Osborn, who has missed all seven tournament cuts this year, her share of the lead was that long-awaited sign that better rounds are in sight.
'This is my low score, ever,' said Osborn, of Kildeer, Ill., a third-year player, who tied with George for the first-round lead of the GMAC Futures Golf Classic at four-under-par 67. 'Today, I trusted my clubs and trusted my reads on the green. It was all about trusting myself.'
George, who tied for second last week in Decatur, Ill., made her charge mid-season last year. The third-year player has gotten off to an earlier start this season with top-five finishes in Kansas and Texas in April, and a near-win last week.
'I'm right where I want to be,' she said after her morning round on the par-71, 6,154-yard Blue Fox Run Golf Course. 'And it would be OK if somebody comes in this afternoon and shoots 65 or 66. It would give me the motivation to come out and shoot another low number in the second round.'
But no player from the afternoon wave emerged to pass the morning leaders. The day's low scores came out of the morning rounds with Osborn and George setting the pace in perfect, windless scoring conditions. Also playing in the morning was Tour veteran Michelle Murphy of Tacoma, Wash., who carded a three-under-par score of 68 to trail the clubhouse leaders by one shot. The afternoon leader, first-week rookie Meaghan Francella of Port Chester, N.Y., later joined Murphy. The University of North Carolina All-American got off to a solid start in her Futures Tour debut with her own three-under-par score of 68.
Five players recorded two-under-par scores of 69 in the first round, including last week's winner Aram Cho of Seoul, Korea and rookie Jeanne Cho (no relation) of Orlando, Fla., who suffered a case of food poisoning last week during the U.S. Women's Open qualifier in Rochester, N.Y.
Blue Fox Run gave up two eagles on the par-5 third hole and two more on the par-5 fifth hole today. But the key for the morning groups was the smooth-surface greens. Osborn hit 14 greens and finished the day with 27 putts, while George sunk five birdie putts from ranges of two feet to 20 feet.
'My ball striking has been good, but my putting has saved me,' said George, of Myerstown, Pa.
Osborn's putting allowed her to take her game to a new place. A walk-on at Southern Methodist University, Osborn graduated in 1997 with a degree in business and went to work in the logistics chain supply side of Corporate America. She had a steady job with regular income, but she hated being behind a desk. With her parents' blessings and financial backing, she embarked on her biggest challenge yet -- trying to earn a paycheck playing professional golf.
'This is a work in progress, but I believe things are going to come together for me,' said Osborn. 'Those three years away from golf made me a stronger person. I knew if I didn't try to play out here, I'd regret it. You can never really rest in golf, but today is a real confidence builder.'
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.