South Korean Bae Captures Futures Tour Event

By Futures Tour MediaMay 1, 2005, 4:00 pm
Futures TourEL PASO, Texas -- She's only 19, but in some ways, it seems that Kyeong Bae has been around forever.
Perhaps that is because K.B., as she is called on the Futures Golf Tour, is always in the hunt -- always hanging around the lead, always challenging and chasing. As an 18-year-old rookie in 2004, she finished in the top 10 seven times and made 17 of 18 cuts in a year that included two second-place finishes and a final money ranking of eighth.
So it came as no surprise that Bae would again charge from behind in today's final round of the $70,000 IOS Futures Golf Classic to win her first professional title in four starts this season. Bae trailed the leader by five shots mid-round, but remained focused and birdied two of her last four holes to card a final-round 70. That moved the teen into a three-way playoff at 5-under-par 211.
But after returning to the 18th hole for a second time at the Underwood Golf Complex Sunrise Course, Bae the chaser, finally became Bae the closer. Her competition, Tara Bateman of Phoenix, who had been the final-round leader for most of the day, along with Hye Jung Choi of Seoul, Korea, who fired a career-low 65, each stumbled with three-foot par putts that would have forced a second playoff hole.
'I didn't expect them to miss those putts,' said Bae, of Seoul, Korea. 'I thought we'd play another hole. This is just unbelievable.'
Bateman, who shot a 1-under-par final round of 71, toured the front nine holes of the 6,349-yard course with four birdies and one bogey this morning. She added another birdie on the 10th. Earlier, Bateman grabbed the lead outright from Adrienne Gautreaux of Mabank, Texas, when Gautreaux bogeyed the fifth hole and Bateman birdied. Bateman birdied the sixth and Gautreaux bogeyed the seventh, giving Bateman a three-shot cushion.
'I looked at the leaderboard after nine holes and could see that Choi was six under for the day, so I knew I needed some additional cushion,' said Bateman, 25, who played her college golf at Baylor University. 'I wanted to make a run at it. I certainly didn't think par was going to win.'
Choi was the first to finish. Her bogey-free, seven-birdie round had players in the leader's group a little nervous as they stared at her number on the board. The Futures Tour rookie hit 17 greens and was hanging out at the club's back patio waiting to see who would fold or who would come in with the score to win.
'I'm nervous and I'm excited, but I had fun,' said Choi, 20, whose best career finish had been ninth place last year on the Korean LPGA and a fifth-place finish earlier this season in Tampa on the Futures Tour. 'I felt it was going to be a good day today.'
Gautreaux righted herself on the back nine and charged back into a tie at five under with one hole to play. But that late charge ended when she didn't get up and down for par on the final hole from 20 feet. She settled into a tie for fourth with rookie Sarah Huarte of Shingle Springs, Calif., whose weekend scores of 67-69 moved the 2004 NCAA individual champion into the top five for the first time as a pro.
Last week's winner, Virada Nirapathpongporn of Bangkok, Thailand, also made a run for a spot in the playoff, but instead of making birdie from 27 feet on the 18th green, she ran her putt 2 feet past, then lipped out her comeback to drop a shot.
That left Choi, Bateman and Bae. But it was Bae's day. And the daughter of Chan Soo Bae, her faithful caddie-father who played professional soccer for Spain's Real Madrid, knew it was her time to step up. Her father and her mother, who had played world-class table tennis, spent so many years before this moment ingraining the spirit of competition into the head of their talented eldest daughter.
And today, it showed.
'I think she is just a solid player,' said Bateman of Bae. 'To be that solid all the time is incredible, and she has a great short game. It was due time for her to win.'
The three-time Korean Open champion, who was ranked sixth on the Korean LPGA Money List in 2003, bogeyed only the fifth hole and posted three birdies in today's final round. But it was enough. She had learned from her athletic parents how to patiently wait for the moment and to pounce whenever opportunity presented itself.
'Both of my parents have really good athletic minds and they gave it to me,' said Bae, handling her own interview in careful English. 'It has made me more comfortable and calm.'
K.B. calmly jumped from 13th to first on the season money list with her $9,800 winner's check. And her peers can expect the never-rattled demeanor of Kyeong Bae to calmly contend for the rest of the year.
x-won playoff
x-Kyeong Bae, $9,800 72-69-70--211
Hye Jung Choi, $6,085 73-73-65--211
Tara Bateman, $6,085 72-68-71--211
Sarah Huarte, $3,736 76-67-69--212
Adrienne Gautreaux, $3,736 69-71-72--212
Virada Nirapathpongporn, $2,388 73-71-69--213
Courtney Wood, $2,388 73-69-71--213
Ji Min Jeong, $1,951 73-72-69--214
Kelly Lagedrost, $1,951 74-68-72--214
Katie Connelly, $1,610 70-74-71--215
Kristy McPherson, $1,610 75-67-73--215
Christine Boucher, $1,426 78-66-72--216
Soon-Hwa Lee, $1,294 74-73-70--217
Kellee Booth, $1,294 71-71-75--217
Chiharu Yamaguchi, $1,011 76-72-70--218
Su A Kim, $1,011 74-73-71--218
Saki Uechi, $1,011 75-72-71--218
Jenny Gleason, $1,011 70-75-73--218
Alena Sharp, $1,011 73-72-73--218
Janell Howland, $1,011 78-66-74--218
Aimee Cho, $779 70-78-71--219
Anna Knutsson, $779 75-73-71--219
Kristin Dufour, $779 76-70-73--219
Lori Atsedes, $779 75-71-73--219
Meaghan Francella, $779 75-70-74--219
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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.