Blue Devils Start Strong at East Regionals
HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, FLA. - The top-ranked and top-seeded Duke women's golf team kicked off the 2004 NCAA East Regional in stellar fashion on Thursday as the Blue Devils carded a 2-under-par round of 286 and lead by 11 strokes at the Par 72, 6,165-Yard El Campeon Course in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
Duke (286) leads UNLV (297), Oklahoma State (298), Tulane (301) and Auburn (302) rounds out the top five. It marks the 16th time this season the Blue Devils have registered an under-par round as a team.
'Today I saw good shots, but I also saw quite a few misses,' said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. 'I think our best golf is ahead of us.'
Senior Leigh Anne Hardin and freshman Brittany Lang each led Duke with 1-under-par rounds (71) on the morning. Hardin, a product of Martinsville, Ind., came into the final hole with a 2-under-par score, but suffered her only bogey on the day as she missed the green on the final hole and could not get up and down.
'Leigh Anne has been such a hard worker on her golf swing and her swing is looking better right now than it has looked since she has been at Duke,' said Brooks. 'The nice thing is she is starting to own it-she is starting to swing the club in this new technique like she has always done it this way. That is what we have needed her to do. She is starting to store power and hit the ball longer. Leigh Anne knows what it feels like to hit a ball hard now and that is the greatest thing going on in her game at this time.'
Lang made the turn at even par and was able to also obtain a 2-under-par score through 12 holes, but had a bogey on the par-4 hole 13. A McKinney, Texas, product, Lang led Duke with four birdies. Both Hardin and Lang are tied for fourth in the individual competition.
The nations top-ranked individual golfer, Liz Janangelo posted an even-par 72 on the day and sit in tied for seventh place along with freshman Anna Grzebien. Janangelo began the morning with a birdie of the first hole but suffered bogies on holes seven, eight and nine. The product of West Hartford, Conn., had three birdies on the day, all of which came on par 5s.
Grzebien, a Narragansett, R.I., native, notched three birdies and three bogies on Day 1 to finish with a 72. She was about to post a birdie on the par-5 hole 17 to move to even par. Overall, Duke owns four golfers in the top seven of the individual competition.
The 2001 East Regional Champion, Virada Nirapathpongporn, began her day with three bogies on the first four holes and later collected one birdie and one bogey on the back nine to finish with a 3-over-par 75. The Bangkok, Thailand, native is in tied for 19th place after round 1.
'What is nice is they gave us a good golf course this time,' said Brooks. 'It is set up pretty tough and the pins are in tough spots. This is a course where I am not surprised that we are separated a little bit, because I think every time we have been tested by the golf course this year we have had solid wins. We tend to excel when the course is difficult.'
Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one
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
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 six 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
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."
Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA
Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.
Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.
Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.
With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.
Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.
“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”
Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.
Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday:
"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."