Weather Plagues Futures Tour

By Futures Tour MediaAugust 21, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourQUEENSTOWN, Md. -- She was one hole away from finishing, but first-round leader Smriti Mehra and her group were forced to suspend play for darkness today around 8 p.m.
 
Mehra, still leading the $65,000 Hunters Oak Futures Golf Classic, will resume the second round Sunday morning at 7 a.m. from the 18th tee, along with Kylie Pratt of Mackay, Australia and Brittney Bacon of Minot, N.D. A 36-hole tournament cut will be made once the trio has completed play and Sunday's final round will begin on schedule at 8 a.m. at Hunters Oak Golf Club.
 
'I probably could have hit my tee shot on 18, but we would have had to come back anyway on Sunday morning to play the second shot and finish the hole,' said Mehra a native of Calcutta, India, who is 3 under par for the tournament with one hole remaining. 'I'm totally disappointed because I don't want to wake up, play one hole, and then wait around for three hours to tee off again.'
 
But if it means that Mehra is the leader for Sunday's final round, she most likely can handle that little inconvenience of playing in the day's last group. Certainly, it's a place where the non-exempt LPGA Tour member wants to be, especially after a day when she lost three shots with four bogeys and a single birdie. Mehra, who blistered the undulating, links-style 6,370-yard, par-72 course on Friday with a six-under 66, struggled today.
 
'I just couldn't get any momentum,' she said, leaving the course in the dark. 'I had a one-and-a-half-footer for birdie on the 17th hole and I couldn't see the line.'
 
And while the field also struggled to regain momentum after a storm delay that lasted from 3:55 p.m. to 4:48 p.m., it was able to inch closer to Mehra's lead when she missed a green and didn't save par on the par-3 11th hole. Mehra also three-putted for bogey from 12 feet on the 12th.
 
Those two bogeys, combined with rookie Erica Blasberg's birdie on the 14th hole, catapulted Blasberg into a tie for the lead at 3 under par with four holes to play. But Blasberg gave up three strokes on the last two holes to fall back to even par, negating her birdies at holes No. 8, 10 and 14.
 
After a stacked-up, 10-minute wait on the 17th tee, Blasberg's approach shot into a headwind landed short of the green. She chipped to 10 feet, but missed her par putt.
 
'I was in my flow going into the 17th hole and then we just sat around with the wind picking up,' said Blasberg, of Corona, Calif. 'After that [bogey on No. 17], I was like 'OK, let's go to 18.' '
 
But her 8-iron approach on the par-5 18th flew wide right and landed just beside the water hazard bordering the green. Her ball position forced the 2004 Curtis Cup player to chip her fourth shot up to the elevated green.
 
'It was down deep and I had to try to chunk it out, kind of like a bunker shot,' she said.
 
But that precarious shot flew over the green, leaving Blasberg with a touchy downhill chip that didn't release. She two-putted from 6 feet for double bogey, dropping back into a tie at even-par 144 with Kristin Dufour of Austin, Texas and Caroline Goasguen of Montpellier, France.
 
'I just have to go out there on Sunday and make birdies to give myself a chance,' said Blasberg, who was visibly frustrated following her round.
 
Tied at 1-over-par 145 are Michelle Murphy of Tacoma, Wash., and Kathryn Cusick of Jacksonville, Fla. Pratt and Bacon, completing the second round on Sunday alongside Mehra, both stand at two-over-par with a hole to play. Five players, including top-ranked Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, currently are at 2-over 146 after 36 holes.
 
Rookie Kyeong Bae of Seoul, Korea fired the day's low round of 3-under-par 69. Bae is tied for 11th at 147.
 
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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.