Webb Miyazato Set for ANZ Ladies Masters

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 31, 2006, 5:00 pm
QUEENSLAND, Australia -- The leading lights of womens golf have assembled at Royal Pines Resort on Australias Gold Coast for this weeks ANZ Ladies Masters.
 
Japanese sensation Ai Miyazato will be looking to go one better after she finished second in the event last year. The 20-year-old will start as favorite in the four day event after a string of successes in 2005. With six wins at home in Japan and victory in the World Cup in South Africa, she rounded out last year by winning the LPGA Tour Q-School by a record 12 shot margin.
 
Now, with last years successes behind her, her biggest challenge will be defeating defending champion Karrie Webb of Australia. But there are a host of other promising youngsters in the field ho could challenge for the title, including Swedens Louise Stahle, American Brittany Lang, Japans Shinobu Moromizato, and 2005 Samsung Ladies Masters champion Bo Bae Song from Korea.
 
Three-time winner of the event and former World No. 1 Laura Davies of England is in the field and keen to return to her winning ways. She is joined by fellow Europeans Maria Hjorth of Sweden, Gwladys Nocera of France, Mhairi McKay of Scotland, and Minea Blomqvist of Finland.
 
Webb, who has won the event five times, beat Miyazato by a shot in last years tournament. Speaking from the Karrie Webb Room on site at Royal Pines, it was little surprise that she felt very much at home.
 
'This is like a home course to me as Ive played it so much,' said Webb, who won the ANZ Ladies Masters four-times in a row from 1998. 'I feel like Im easing myself into the year. Im really looking forward to it; Ive put in a lot of hard work and now its time to get some results.'
 
Her achievements in the game, including six major championship victories, recently saw her inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, but the former World No. 1 claimed that her biggest achievement could still lie ahead.
 
'To become world No. 1 again would be my biggest achievement,' she said. 'Its just that only now am I learning the mental game. Before, when I was playing well, I was playing out of ignorance and it was all just natural talent, whereas now I feel Im learning how to regain that confidence.'
 
Webb admitted that despite hating it, she has been in training in the gym, and practicing with the putter 'harder than ever' during the off-season, as well as receiving mental coaching from her coach Ian Triggs.
 
'I felt that I didnt have the memory bank I needed; when things were going really well I never worked that hard. But Im hitting shots now that I cant even believe; it's just trusting it.'
 
Now that she is back in business, Webb is likely to pull out something special for the home crowd this week as she knows the par 72, 5892-metre Royal Pines layout like the back of her hand. The ANZ Ladies Masters is being played for the 17th consecutive year and is co-sanctioned by Ladies European Tour(LET) and Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour (ALPG).
 
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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, part of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward the back-right hole location, about 25 feet away, closer than both Fleetwood and Johnson.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”


    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back after the opening round. He tied for second here a year ago.

    Johnson is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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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.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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."