Song to Make Professional Debut in Lakeland
Making her professional debut in the tours first event in Lakeland will be teenager Naree Song, who at 17, will be the youngest tour member in 2004.
Song, now of Orlando, Fla., won the 2001 Kosaido Thailand Ladies Open as an amateur. Better known as Naree Song Wongluekiet -- one of the two Thai-Korean twin sisters who began playing LPGA Tour events by age 12 -- Naree will attempt to earn her LPGA Tour status this season to join sister Aree, who is playing the LPGA Tour.
The sisters each received special permission to play on their respective professional tours this year as 17-year-olds until their 18th birthday on May 1. Typically, the legal starting age for members of the LPGA and the Futures Tour is 18.
Duke University senior Virada Nirapathpongporn of Thailand will join the developmental tour following the NCAA Womens Golf Championship this spring.
Also joining the Futures Tour in 2004 will be: Becky Lucidi of Poway, Calif., the 2002 U.S. Womens Amateur Champion and a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. She is a former college teammate Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden, who won the individual title at the 2003 NCAA Womens Golf Championship as a member of the Southern Cal national champion team. Parmlid is both a non-exempt LPGA Tour and Futures Tour rookie.
Tri-medalists from the Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament last November will also be among this years membership. They are: Summer Sirmons of Cuthbert, Ga., who played at the University of Georgia; Courtney Wood of Brentwood, Tenn., presently an amateur completing her senior season at Vanderbilt University; and Sung Ah Yim of Seoul, Korea, the 2001 Korean Womens Amateur Champion.
The Futures Tours 24th season will feature an 18-tournament schedule that spans 15 states and begins in Florida, moves to the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, New England, then travels down the Eastern Seaboard to culminate Aug. 27-29, at the season-ending York Newspaper Company Futures Classic in York, Penn.
Once again, Futures Tour members will compete for five fully exempt LPGA Tour cards, which will be awarded to the top five players on the Futures Tour Money List at the conclusion of the York tournament. The cards will entitle top Futures players to compete as full members on the 2005 LPGA Tour.
In addition, Futures Tour members ranked sixth through 15th in season earnings at the conclusion of the York event will automatically advance into the LPGAs Final Qualifying Tournament in December. Last year, a total of 29 Futures Tour players earned LPGA Tour status, further demonstrating the tours designation as 'the official developmental tour of the LPGA.'
The Tour will compete for more than $1.2 million, with five tournaments increasing purse size by up to $10,000. Eight tournaments will offer purses of $70,000, giving the tour a record 10 of 18 tournaments at $70,000 or higher. Two tournaments -- the Isleta Casino & Resort Futures Gold Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., and the York tournament -- will offer a $75,000 purse.
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)
The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...
And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.
Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.