Kentucky Moves into First in Central Regional

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 22, 2004, 4:00 pm
Courtesy of ukathletics.com
 
College CentralWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. ' The Kentucky mens golf team played like a team on a mission in the second round of the NCAA Central Region Championships. The Cats (298-285=583) posted a tournament-best 285 score on day two to move ahead of Oklahoma State (287-298=585) for first place after 36 holes of the tournament. Juniors Brandon Waldrop (70-70=140) and John Holmes (73-70=143) posted a pair of 70 scores and sit in 1st and tied for 3rd, respectively.
 
We got off to an extremely fast start on the front nine today, said Kentucky coach Brian Craig. We came out and playing with confidence and poise.
 
The Wildcats were one of the first teams to tee off on day two, but play was slowed by rain, lightening and windy conditions. However, the conditions didnt seem to affect UK on the front nine as four Cats went out under par. After the first nine holes, the Cats were 7 under par and blowing away the rest of the field.
 
The wind started to pick up and then we had the rain delay, Craig said. When we hit the back nine it was much more difficult. We still hung in there and played very well only giving up a few shots here and there.
 
UK was the only team of the day to finish under par with its 3-under par 285. The next best team performance was Oklahoma (305-294=599), which shot a 6-over par 294.
 
Waldrop, who has played as Kentuckys No. 4 player most of the season, has been the biggest surprise of the tournament thus far. The Louisville, Ky., native hasnt finished higher than eighth place this season, yet he has a chance to take home top honors in UKs biggest tournament to date. Waldrop leads Jason Hartwick (Texas) by two strokes heading into the third and final round.
 
It looks to me that Brandons maturity level has skyrocketed looking at how he has conducted himself with his pre-shot routine and approach to each shot, Craig said. He looks like a professional out there as opposed to a college player. He hits the ball well all the time, but the way he has handled himself has been remarkable and translated into two terrific rounds of golf. We are real proud of him, he is right in there and it is good to see him play well.
 
'I just stuck to my game plan of trying to hit the fairways, Waldrop said. With these roughs, its tough to get anything out of them, so the best bet is to hit the fairways. The course is very tough, but I thought it actually played a little easier today. We had a talk last night about picking up our games and trying to catch Oklahoma State.'
 
Holmes, a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and Kentuckys No. 1 player, is also in the hunt for the individual championship. The junior moved to within three strokes of the lead after trailing by four strokes at the beginning of the day.
 
John played very well yesterday with the exception of one bad swing, Craig said. Today, he played beautiful all day and probably shot the highest score he could have shot. He is a terrific player and he has his A game right now. He will be knocking on the door tomorrow trying to win it. He is due for something like that.
 
The Cats also got a lift from Matt Wells (76-72=148), who played an even-par 72 in the second round and Mark Blakefield (79-73=152) turned in a 1-over par 73. Tyler Wilson (81-77=158) rounded out Kentuckys lineup with a 77.
 
Overall, I feel pretty good about getting through the circumstances, the stage and the golf course, Craig said. I think 285 will prove to be an exceptional round of golf especially considering the weather conditions. Im real happy with the guys. They deserve this and have worked hard for it.
 
Top 10 Team Standings
1 Univ. of Kentucky 298-285=583
2 Oklahoma State 287-298=585
3 Univ. of Texas 298-296=594
4 Texas A&M 292-303=595
5 Purdue 295-302=597
6 Univ. of Oklahoma 305-294=599
7 Southern Methodist 302-299=601
T8 Wichita State 302-300=602
T8 Texas Christian 305-297=602
T10 Univ. of Minnesota 302-303=605
T10 Kansas State 300-305=605
 
Top Five Individuals
1 Brandon Waldrop (Kentucky) 70-70=140
2 Jason Hartwick (Texas) 69-73=142
3 John Holmes (Kentucky) 73-70=143
Andrew Parr (Texas A&M) 69-74=143
Casey Wittenberg (Oklahoma State) 69-74=143
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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.