Notes In the shadow of Wie Lewis shines

By Jay CoffinDecember 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' While hundreds of people followed Michelle Wie on LPGA Internationals Legends Course, little ole Stacy Lewis and her support staff of one were quietly putting together an impressive round on the adjacent Champions Course.
 
Although Wie and Lewis both shot 69 on different courses at the same venue, it seemed as if they were playing worlds apart Wednesday at the final stage of LPGA Q-School.
 
But that suits Lewis just fine, the Texas native loves living under the proverbial radar.
 
Im not here with a bunch of people, Lewis said. I dont need a lot of people. I dont need all the attention. Id much rather just go about my business.
 
Lewis, 23, is here with only Shauna Estes-Taylor on the bag. Estes-Taylor was Lewis coach at the University of Arkansas and provides a friendly face during the long, tenuous 90-hole marathon. Lewis father, Dale, is on his way from Texas and supposed to be on hand to watch his daughter play the final four rounds.
 
The first-round 69 was a success, especially since Lewis came to the chilly Sunshine State with hopes of winning. Simply finishing in the top-20 to earn an LPGA card for 2009 is not sufficient for this fierce competitor.
 
If you go out there for top 20 you limit yourself a little bit, she says.
 
She has some work to do if shes to claim medalist honors here this week. The 3-under 69 is five shots behind leader Shiho Oyama, but Lewis will tackle the Legends Course Thursday, a place where she shot 66 in the windy final-round of the 2007 NCAA Championship to win.
 
If Lewis name isnt familiar from the NCAA Championship victory it could be for myriad reasons. For starters, her medical issues have been well-documented. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11 and wore a back brace under her clothes until she graduated from high school. When she stopped growing at age 18, she underwent a six-hour surgery to put a steel rod in her back, then, ultimately went on to win 12 college tournaments over the next four years.
 
As an amateur, she led after 18 holes at the rain-shortened LPGA NW Arkansas Championship in 2007 but the win wasnt official because the event didnt last 36 holes. Earlier in the year she was fifth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
This year has brought more success to Lewis. She played in seven LPGA events and recorded a third-place tie at the U.S. Womens Open where she was in serious contention until the final nine holes. The Open accomplishment, more than perhaps anything else, proved to Lewis that she belongs among the womens elite players.
 
I know I can compete and Ive competed with the best players in the world and almost won and most of those players arent even here, Lewis said. Its a different mindset now.
 
A winning mindset.
 
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SONGS SING NEW TUNE: Twins Aree and Naree Song are all grown up at the young age of 22. The duo dominated junior golf about eight years ago and came to the LPGA with all the expectations you could heap on teenagers being branded the next cant-miss kids.
 
There was some success early, if you consider top-10s successful for girls who were used to winning anything they ever played. Aree nearly won the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship as a 17-year-old when she made eagle on the 72nd hole. But Grace Park made birdie and won by a shot. Naree had varying success as well but nothing too spectacular.
 
After a hiatus over the past year both are looking to make comebacks in 2009 for altogether different reasons.
 
Aree received a medical exemption for 2008 and will have full status for next year. She was diagnosed with severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome and adrenal insufficieny, which made it difficult to focus on golf. So she took the year off to take care of her health and spent time volunteering with Girls and Boys Clubs and other childrens organizations in the Central Florida area.
 
Golf is important but its not everything, Aree said. There are many other things that I enjoy doing.
 
Naree was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and decided to take time away from the tour to get her health in order. She also spent time as a swing coach for the IMG Golf Academy in Bradenton, Fla., among other various things.
 
It was all good experience, Naree said.
 
Aree was at Q-School Wednesday following Naree, who will need to finish in the top 20 after 90 holes to have enough status to join her sister in Hawaii to begin the 2009 LPGA campaign. Naree shot a first-round 75.
 
Im trying to put weight on and get fit, which is not a bad problem to have, Aree said. Itll be a process.
 
Said Naree: I just need to get through this week.
 
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SHORT SHOTS: Fashion model Anna Rawson, who led after the first round of the Bell Micro Classic in September, shot 71. The Australian has been likened to Natalie Gulbis in that she isnt afraid to strike a pose for a photo shoot. . . . Big Break Kaanapali champion Kim Welch shot 73 and Big Break V champion Ashley Prange shot 77.
 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.