Sunny Oh Wins FUTURES Tour Lid-Lifter

By Futures Tour MediaMarch 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
Duramed FUTURES TourLAKELAND, Fla. -- It took four years, then 19 hard-fought holes in the 2008 season opener, but Sunny Oh finally earned her first professional win. Oh rolled in a 20 footer on the first playoff hole to break the tie at 211 (-5) and win the $85,000 Bright House Networks Open.
 
Oh edged rookie Chella Choi (70) of Seoul, South Korea and Kim Welch (71) of Sacramento with a birdie on the last hole at Cleveland Heights Golf Course. In regulation, the former University of Nevada-Las Vegas star saved par from 10 feet on the 16th hole, rolled in a birdie putt from three feet on the 17th, and then chipped in from 20 yards on the 18th hole to grab the lead.
 
But she had company on the leaderboard. Choi also birdied the 18th with a 25-foot birdie, followed by second-round leader Welch, whose 'thin miss' with a 56-degree wedge landed three feet from the hole to set up her birdie to join the three-way playoff.
 
When the three players returned to the 18th tee for an extra hole, Choi's approach rolled through the green to the back rough. Her chip skidded six feet past the hole and she made par. Oh's approach was short of the green and landed in the short front fringe. Just as she had done in regulation, the resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., drained her birdie attempt to put the pressure on Welch, whose approach rested seven feet away from the hole. Welch's birdie chance seemed destined to drop. Instead, it rolled past the hole to give Oh the victory.
 
'Everything finally came together,' said Oh, a native of Seoul, South Korea. 'It has been hard for me and I've struggled a lot for four years, so this means so much.'
 
To trace her path, Oh, who turns 25 next week, was a rising star on the fast track at UNLV. She was the 2003 Mountain West Conference (MWC) Freshman of the Year, a two-time All-American, the 2003 NCAA West Regional Championship winner, the 2004 MWC Conference Player of the Year and a five-time collegiate winner, including the 2004 MWC Championship. After two seasons at UNLV, Oh turned pro and left college in 2004.
 
By all indications, she was a young woman with a bright future. That is, until a truck rear-ended her in Las Vegas that same year and left her with a lower-back injury and a right-ankle injury that required surgery. After that, Oh limped through her pro start and nursed an aching back that finally sent her home last May for the entire season. She made three cuts in seven events and packed it in.
 
'When I turned pro, everything was good, but after the accident, I was in pain and I didn't have the distance,' she said. 'It was like I quit golf.'
 
In four mostly partial seasons on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, Oh never posted a top-10 finish before today, recording a career-best tie for 13th in 2006. But after spending the second half of last year strengthening and resting her back, she returned to the Tour this year full of hope. She had finally spent the time she needed to heal. She married Clifton Lin six months ago and settled down in Southern California. She also gave herself a deadline to play better this year or figure out something new to do with her life.
 
'This is big because I have been waiting for so long and just trying to get stronger with my back,' said Oh.
 
While she says her back is still sore, Oh played like a woman on a mission this weekend. With two chip-ins from 20 yards on both the 11th and 18th holes in today's final round, she needed only 26 putts. Oh held off both long-hitting Welch and Choi, a 17-year-old rising rookie star, with the same poise that she used to have as a fearless college player. Welch and Choi rallied in their own attempt to win a first professional title, but this time, Oh came out on top.
 
'I'm happy with my performance and I'm going to work really hard for my next chance to win,' said Choi, the former Korean National Team member who finished 14th last year in a Korean LPGA Tour event.
 
'I'm getting closer,' said Welch, whose tie for second with Choi is her career-best finish. 'My goal this year is to be consistent and start the year out strong, so I feel great about this.'

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."