Korean rivals paired in Women's PGA Championship

By Randall MellJune 6, 2016, 2:13 am

In Gee Chun and Ha Na Jang will be paired together for the first time since an escalator mishap in Singapore three months ago set off a tempest in their native South Korea.

Chun and Jang are scheduled to go off together next week in the first and second rounds of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in suburban Seattle.

Back in March, Jang’s father lost control of a 15-pound travel bag that crashed down an airport escalator and hit Chun in the tailbone, knocking the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion out of the HSBC Women’s Champions just a few days before that event began. Chun reported needing treatment for injuries to her lumbar muscles, sacroiliac joint and pelvis. Jang ended up winning the tournament that week and bumping Chun out of the Korean Olympic team mix at the time. The events set off a firestorm in South Korea with Chun missing three LPGA events while recuperating.

At the Founders Cup in Phoenix two weeks after the mishap, Jang said backlash from the incident left her struggling emotionally. She left an interview with two reporters in Phoenix in tears. Two weeks after that, Jang and Chun both played their way into early contention at the ANA Inspiration and said there that they had settled any differences. It was the first tournament they appeared in together since the mishap.

“There’s no problem,” Jang said there.

“It’s bygones be bygones,” Chun said.

But Jang hasn’t played a full found of an LPGA event since tying for 36th at the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew in her next start at the Swinging Skirts Classic, with South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reporting Jang was suffering from insomnia and anemia. The news agency also quoted her management company saying that she was seeking medical treatment for blurred vision and dizziness.

“She was treated at a U.S. hospital but made no progress,” a Jang spokesman told the news agency in April.

Jang, who won twice in the first two months of the season, will be making her first start since that withdrawal at the Swinging Skirts Classic. Chun currently sits third in the Korean Olympic women’s golf rankings and Jang fourth, both within the team qualifying mix.

Chun and Jang are scheduled to go off together with Melissa Reid at 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday and 11:20 a.m. ET on Friday.

In other marquee pairings (all times are ET), Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko is scheduled to go off with Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday and 4:40 p.m. on Friday. Ko is trying to win a third consecutive major championship. Inbee Park is scheduled to go off with Ariya Jutanugarn and Paula Creamer at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and 11:20 a.m. on Friday. Park will be trying to become the first woman to win the same major four years in a row and Jutanugarn will be trying to win her fourth consecutive start this year.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.