The Race For Five LPGA Cards Ends at York

By Futures Tour MediaAugust 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
Futures TourThe final countdown is here. And by Sunday afternoon, August 17th, five members of the Futures Golf Tour will hold cards as full exempt members of the 2004 LPGA Tour.
With their eyes on the prize for LPGA exempt status, the members of the Futures Tour have jockeyed for position into the top-five on the Futures Tour Money List all year. That effort culminates Aug. 15-17, at the York Newspaper Company Futures Classic at Regents' Glen Country Club in York, Pa. Following the 54-hole competition, five players will advance to the LPGA Tour. Players finishing in positions six through 10 on the final money list will advance directly into the LPGA's Final Qualifying Tournament in October.
York will host a full field of 144 players representing 26 nations spanning six continents with international players comprising nearly 38 percent of the field. This year's tournament purse will be $75,000, with the winner taking home $10,500. All proceeds from the event will benefit the YWCA of York.
The tournament field will include all of the top-25 players on the season money list, 15 non-exempt LPGA Tour members and 11 of the 12 different Futures Tour tournament champions crowned in 2003, including all three two-time winners. While the money-list positions are subject to change, the current top-five players are (in order): non-exempt LPGA Tour rookie Stacy Prammanasudh of Enid, Okla.; non-exempt LPGA Tour and Futures Tour rookie Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, South Korea; Ju Kim of Seoul, Korea; last week's winner and non-exempt LPGA rookie Candy Hannemann of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and former LPGA Tour member Lisa (Hackney) Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England.
A four-time All-American at the University of Tulsa and second-year Futures Tour player, Prammanasudh leads the money list with earnings of $51,470. She won her first professional title in late April at the Frye Chevrolet Classic in Wichita, Kan., and won again four weeks ago at the Lincoln Financial Futures Golf Classic in Avon, Conn. Prammanasudh finished one stroke behind Moon two events ago, giving her a second runner-up finish for the season. The Oklahoman now has 10 top-10 finishes in 12 events.
Following injuries sustained in an automobile accident in late May, Moon has rebounded and moved into the No. 2 position on the money list. She won the season-opening Lakeland Futures Golf Classic in Lakeland, Fla., and won again two weeks ago at the M&T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic in Syracuse, N.Y. Moon was No. 1 on the money list when she was involved in a car crash at the Wisconsin tournament. The accident forced her to withdraw from competition for two weeks and she dropped out of the top spot on the money list, but Moon now has $45,208 in season earnings. She was runner-up a week ago, which gives her eight top-10 finishes in 14 tournaments.
Kim missed getting her exempt LPGA Tour status by a mere $210 in 2001. That amount separated the No. 3 spot from Kim's No. 4 position. Prior to 2003, only three exempt cards were awarded to the top finishers and Kim fell short of her goal in 2001. But if she can hang on to one of the top-five spots over the next two weeks, her patience will pay off. The Korean carded a final-round 66 and charged from six strokes behind second-round leader Prammanasudh to win her third career title at the Bank of Ann Arbor Futures Golf Classic last month in Ann Arbor, Mich. It was her first win in two years.
Hannemann's win a week ago at the Hunters Oak Futures Golf Classic enabled her to jump from the No. 9 position to No. 4 with earnings of $32,227. The 2001 NCAA Division I individual champion from Duke University won her first professional title by three shots over Moon. She has posted seven top-10 finishes in 12 events.
Rounding out the top five in the No. 5 spot is Hall, a former LPGA Tour player and member of the European Solheim Cup team. Hall hopes to regain the form that made her the LPGA's 1997 Rookie of the Year. A top-five finish also would enable her to regain her exempt LPGA status. With a rebuilt golf swing and reconstructed confidence, Hall has an eye set on winning one of the last two season events, including this week's Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic in Morgantown, W. Va. A Futures Tour winner last year, Hall is the only player among the top five without at least one title this season. She has three second-place finishes this year and six top-10 finishes in 14 events with earnings of $31,186.
Along with the top 10 are other notable players, including: Erika Wicoff of Hartford City, Ind., a non-exempt LPGA Tour member who has nine top-10 finishes; and recent Pepperdine University graduate Katherine Hull of Queensland, Australia, who won her professional debut in early June and repeated as champion the next week following a collegiate season in which she recorded the lowest NCAA 18-hole score (nine-under 63) and 54-hole score (16-under 200).
Catherine Cartwright currently No. 7 will attempt to climb back into the top five after spending much of the season there. The 20-year old from Bonita Springs, Fla., won her first professional title in May at the season's largest-purse event, the $95,000 Isleta Casino & Resort Futures Golf Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. Prior to turning pro at age 18, Cartwright won the 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.
The five LPGA exempt cards will be awarded immediately following the final round of the York Newspaper Company Futures Classic. Players who gain automatic entry into the final stage of LPGA qualifying also will be recognized, as will the Futures Tour Player of the Year (awarded to the season's top money winner) and Futures Tour Rookie of the Year (awarded to the rookie who leads in earnings).
Getty Images

Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."

Getty Images

Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

Getty Images

Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

Getty Images

13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.