Tiger Tracker: Day 1 at the Honda Classic

By March 1, 2012, 8:00 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods played alongside Lee Westwood and Miguel Angel Carballo (in for Ian Poulter, who withdrew) in the opening round of the Honda Classic. GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell is at the Champion Course and tracked Tiger on Day 1. (Click for Honda scores)

No. 18 (par 5, 604 yards): The short game fails Woods yet again from behind the 18th green. With a chance to get back to even par, Woods couldn't get up and down with a short flop. He left the shot way short, just like he did with chips at the seventh, eighth and 15th holes. He ended his day 0 for 4 trying to get up and down. His par at the final hole left him at 1 over and tied for 68th when he left the course.  (Final score: 1-over 71)

No. 17 (par 3, 190 yards): Ho-hum. It is the story of this round and the story again at the 17th. Woods hits another green and two-putts for par. Woods had folks howling with back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th, but he couldn't keep them howling.  (Score: 1 over through 17)

No. 16 (par 4, 434 yards): After another iron off the tee, Woods hits another green, but with a mediocre approach to 40 feet or so. It's another two-putt par. Woods' ball-striking has been solid all day, but his last three iron shots have not been as sharp.  (Score: 1 over through 16)

No. 15 (par 3, 179 yards): The short game is letting Woods down. He fails for the third time today to get up and down. Woods thumps a chip short from behind the green and misses a 10-foot par putt.  (Score: 1 over through 15)

No. 14 (par 4, 465 yards): Fairways and greens, fairways and greens. Woods follows the formula again with a two-putt par.  (Score: even through 14)

No. 13 (par 4, 388 yards): Ouch! Another lip-out. This time Woods lips out a 25-footer for birdie. He is becoming a fairway/GIR machine at PGA National but he is not holing a lot of chances, still.  (Score: even through 13)

No. 12 (par 4, 427 yards): Woods endured his first three-putt of the day here, lipping out about a 4- 5-footer and making bogey. Aside from that, he is showing U.S. Open form, hitting lots of fairways and greens. (Score: even through 12)

No. 11 (par 4, 479 yards): Woods isn't trying to overpower PGA National's Champion Course. He's using finesse. He hits another iron off the tee at the 11th and sets up a two-putt par. (Score: 1 under through 11)

No. 10 (par 4, 525 yards): After Woods stuck an 8-iron to 3 feet, the gallery roared. He set up his second straight birdie with a monster driver into the fairway. The gallery went crazy with Woods walking to the 11th tee back in red numbers. (Score: 1 under through 10)

No. 9 (par 4, 421 yards): The ninth hole was teeming with folks in the stands and pressed against the ropes. Woods gave them something to howl about, sticking his approach to 10 feet and draining the birdie putt. He is back to even with some momentum for the tough back nine. (Score: even through 9)

No. 8 (par 4, 455 yards): Woods takes 3-wood off the eighth tee, hits his fourth of six fairways and another green (6/8) in regulation. A two-putt par leaves him at 1 over. Westwood has hit twice as many drivers today as Woods but he is also 1 over. (Score: 1 over through 8)

No. 7 (par 3, 226 yards): Woods misses his second green in a row. He tried talking his golf ball down on the green, but it wouldn't listen. After a poor chip, he fails to get up and down for the second hole in a row. We rarely saw this at the height of his powers. (Score: 1 over through 7)

No. 6 (par 4, 488 yards): Woods trusted his driver here for just the second time today and missed his second fairway with it, just barely to the right, though. Still, the rough crossed him up; he missed his first green in regulation and couldn't get up and down for par from behind the green. (Score: Even through 6)

No. 5 (par 3, 217 yards): Confident with his iron play, Woods hits his tee shot at the fifth dead at a flag tucked left against the water. Woods missed the 25-foot birdie chance, short yet again, but he has yet to miss a green in regulation. (Score: 1 under through 5)

No. 4 (par 4, 376 yards): Conservative gameplan working well for Woods. He hit another iron off the tee and hit his third fairway. The course dictates some of the plan, not all of it. Westwood has hit longer clubs off two tees, at least. Though Woods had his best chance yet for birdie here, he pushed the 15-foot putt right. He is 4-for-4 hitting greens. (Score: 1 under through 4)

No. 3 (par 5, 538 yards): A noisy sandhill crane raised all kinds of hell before Woods hit his second shot, a layup. No, it wasn't Ben Crane. Woods missed a 15-foot birdie chance left to stay 1 under. Woods hit his first driver of the day here, pulling it left near the tree line. (Score: 1 under through 3)

No. 2 (par 4, 464 yards): With another iron off the second tee, Woods hits another fairway and gives himself another birdie chance, but he leaves the 20-footer just short. Good read, though, had the line but not the speed. (Score: 1 under through 2)

No. 1 (par 4, 365 yards): Woods gets off to a strong start with his highly scrutinized putter, draining an 18-foot birdie chance. A fan would have been hard pressed to squeeze into a spot along the entire length of ropes at the first hole. All of Palm Beach must be here. (Score: 1 under through 1)

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.