Trio Tied for the Lead

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
Futures TourAVON, Connecticut -- Its a stretch to call the first round of the Lincoln Financial Futures Golf Classic relaxing. But for several players in the tournament field, the fairways of Blue Fox Run Golf Course were a welcome change from what they faced at last weeks U.S. Womens Open Championship at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
 
After the Open, these fairways look like theyre the size of Texas, said Stacy Prammanasudh of Enid, Okla., who fired an opening round of 4-under-par 67 to tie for the lead with Seol-An Jeon of Seoul, Korea and Michelle Fuller of Jupiter, Fla.
 
Prammanasudh, who missed the 36-hole cut at the Open, rebounded Friday in the seasons 12th tournament, presented by Mohegan Sun. She got a quick start by holing out from a bunker from 20 yards on the first hole, then rattled in a seven-foot birdie putt on the fourth. By days end on the 6,156-yard, par-71 course, she had added birdies from 10 feet at the 13th and from 15 feet at the 16th to hold the clubhouse lead after the morning rounds.
 
I didnt play well here last year, so I felt like the course kind of owed me something, said Prammanasudh, who recorded 29 putts and hit 15 greens and 12 fairways.
 
Jeon also played in last weeks Open and missed the cut, but returned to the Futures Tour with a new putter, new driver and an improved dose of confidence.
 
I watched many players at the Open and I believe I am not much different than them -- than the LPGA players, said Jeon, who has four top-10 finishes this season on the Futures Tour. This course is wide open and the greens are easier than last week.
 
Fuller, in her fifth full season on the Futures Tour, birdied two of her first three holes, made the turn at 3-under 33 and recorded a three on six straight holes ' holes 8 through 13 ' to put herself in position for a share of the lead. Her par putt spun out of the cup on No. 15 and she three-putted for bogey from 20 feet on the 17th, but Fuller saved par on the last hole with a bunker shot to nine feet for her 67.
 
This course has some holes where you really have to place it well to have an opportunity at the pin, said Fuller, who hit 14 greens and used 28 putts in her round. Its a course where you have to play smart.
 
Kristy McPherson of Conway, S.C., Ju Kim of Seoul, Korea and Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea finished one shot back at 68 (-3). Kim, the Futures Tour leading money winner, recorded five birdies and two bogeys for the day.
 
I dont have a house here [in the United States] and I didnt try to qualify for the U.S. Womens Open, so I just came here [to Connecticut] for two weeks and practiced, watched movies and went shopping, said Kim, who has one tournament win this year.
 
McPherson, a former All-American from the University of South Carolina who turned pro in early June, is playing in her fourth professional event and sees progress in her game this week.
 
The first round has been my struggle, so far, said McPherson of her young professional career. Its nice to finally start around the top. Now, I just have to stay there.
 
Tammy Lohren of Dandridge, Tenn., Yvonne Cox of Charleston, W. Va., and Kim Augusta of Rumford, R.I., all carded first-round scores of 69. Seven players tied at 1-under 70. Twenty-seven players finished the first round at par 71 or better.
 
Blue Fox Run teaching professional Suzy Whaley, who is preparing for her PGA Tour debut in the Greater Hartford Open (G.H.O), also is in the Futures Tour tournament field this week. Whaley opened with a 73 (+2), but said a mental lapse early in the round made her focus.
 
I bogeyed holes three, four and five and that ticked me off, said Whaley of Farmington, Conn., who is tied for 43rd. I started thinking about the G.H.O. and I think thats why I faltered. I know its got to be one day at a time. Sometimes I just forget to focus for the moment, but I got it back and Im proud of that.
 
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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.