Strom Clubhouse Leader

By Futures Tour MediaAugust 8, 2003, 4:00 pm
Futures TourMORGANTOWN, W.V. -- Summer thunderstorms once again took center stage in the opening round of this weeks Futures tournament -- the Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic. Players ran for cover when a thunderstorm rolled through at 12:45 PM. The nearly two-hour suspension lasted until 2:40 PM.
 
But once the morning rounds resumed at The Pines Country Club, Lisa Strom of Huntersville, N.C., emerged as the clubhouse leader at 6-under-par 66. Strom was soon shadowed by Reilley Rankin of Hilton Head Island, S.C., who fired a first-round 67 to remind Strom that she held a tenuous one-shot lead.
 
This course reminds me of Merrillville, said Rankin, of the Innsbrook Country Club in Merrillville, Ind., where she won her first professional event in May. I wanted opportunities out here and this course gives you that.
 
Strom made the most of her opportunities on the hilly, tree-lined 6,276-yard course. She rattled in three birdies and 11 putts on her first nine holes, then rolled in three more birdies on her second nine ' two of which came after the storm delay. Perhaps more importantly, Strom rammed in seven par-saving putts that ranged from four to 20 feet in length.
 
I was putting like a maniac today, said Strom, who recorded 24 putts for the round. I was seeing the lines so well and my speed on the greens was really good.
 
Rankin jumped into position when she eagled her 17th hole, the par-4 eighth, when her 77-yard sand wedge approach hit behind the cup and spun back into the hole for a 2.
 
Anytime I can eagle out is good, said Rankin, who missed only three greens in her opening round.
 
Kylie Pratt of Mackay, Australia carded a 68 in the morning and was joined by Stephanie George of Myerstown, Pa., and Kathryn Cusick of Jacksonville, Fla., both firing 4-under-par rounds of 68 in the afternoon following the weather delay.
 
Recording rounds of three-under 69 were Futures Tour top money winner Stacy Prammanasudh of Enid, Okla., Russy Gulanamitta of Rayong, Thailand, Bo Mi Suh of Seoul, Korea, Joellyn Erdmann-Crooks of Little Chute, Wisc., Jordan Cherebetiu of Rapid City, S.D., and Natalie Wong of Montebello, Calif.
 
Seventeen players recorded scores of 2-under-par 70, with eight players tied at 71.
 
Play was suspended for darkness at 8:08 PM and will resume at 7 AM Saturday. Eighteen players with three holes to play will return to the course to finish. Upon completion of the first round, players will be re-paired according to score. The second round will begin at approximately 8:30 AM.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.