Field Set for LPGA Sectional Q-School

By Lpga Tour MediaSeptember 7, 2004, 4:00 pm
LPGA logo for LeaderboardsDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The field for the LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., has been finalized, and 199 hopefuls will begin their march toward the LPGA Tour in two weeks at the Sept. 21-24 qualifier. Among the players who will battle for a spot in the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament (Dec. 1-5) are amateur standouts Paula Creamer and Leigh Ann Hardin, as well as 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship winner Virada Nirapathpongporn.

The 72-hole sectional will be played at the same site as the Tour's first major of the 2004 season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, for the third consecutive year. The field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties after 36 holes. After four rounds, the top 30 players and ties will advance to the LPGA Tour's Final Qualifying Tournament at LPGA International's Legends Course in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Creamer and Hardin are two of the 22 amateurs who will attempt to qualify for the LPGA Tour this year (four additional amateurs are entered into the second sectional, Oct. 5-8, in Venice, Fla.). Nirapathpongporn of Thailand is one of 75 players from outside the United States in the California sectional (an additional seven international players are entered into the Venice field).

Creamer, who celebrated her 18th birthday on Aug. 5 and is the nation's third-ranked amateur, has competed in nine LPGA Tour events from 2003 04. She came within one stroke of a sudden-death playoff with Cristie Kerr at this year's ShopRite LPGA Classic, ultimately finishing tied for second and posting the best finish for an amateur in an LPGA event since Jenny Chuasiraporn was a runner-up at the 1998 U.S. Women's Open.

Creamer was a member of the victorious 2004 U.S. Curtis Cup Team and is a two-time member of the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup Team (2002-03). Creamer was a semifinalist at both the 2003 and 2004 Girls' Juniors and Women's Amateurs, and tied for low-amateur honors at the 2004 U.S. Women's Open, finishing tied for 13th. She has won 11 American Junior Golf Association events and was named the AJGA Player of the Year for 2003.

Hardin, a 22-year-old graduate of Duke University, has competed in seven LPGA tournaments in her career, with a best finish of 51st at the 2003 U.S. Women's Open. Currently ranked second on the Golfweek/Titleist Women's Amateur Rankings, Hardin was the 1998 USGA Girls' Junior champion, 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship medalist and 2002 U.S. Curtis Cup Team member (she was an alternate in 2004). At Duke University, Hardin was a member of the 2002 NCAA Championship team and served as captain of the golf team in 2003-04.

Hardin is joined by fellow Blue Devil teammate Nirapathpongporn, who also graduated from Duke this spring, but has since turned professional and has been competing on the Futures Tour, where she has posted two top-10 finishes. Nirapathpongporn is a four-time NCAA First-Team All-American selection (2000-03) and the won the 2002 NCAA individual championship.
In 2003, she won the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship and was runner-up at the Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. Nirapathpongporn holds Duke University's scoring records for 18 holes (65), 54 holes (207) and 72 holes(279) and received the 2004 Nancy Lopez Award for her outstanding 2003 amateur performance. Nirapathpongporn has competed in seven LPGA events, with her best finishing coming at the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she tied for 21st.

Consistent with the LPGA's history as being a true 'World Tour,' the 199-player field features players from 24 countries outside the United States, as well as a player from Puerto Rico. Canada is represented by the most players with 11, followed by Australia (9), England (7) and Korea (7). Four additional Korean players will join the field for the LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Venice, along with a player from France, Argentina and the Bahamas.

The Rancho Mirage qualifier is the first of the LPGA Tour's two sectional qualifying events in 2004. The second LPGA Tour Sectional Qualifying Tournament is Oct. 5-8 at Plantation Golf and Country Club's Bobcat and Panther courses in Venice, Fla. The top 30 finishers and ties from the California qualifier will join the top 30 players and ties from the Venice sectional qualifier, current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status and the 10 players from the 2004 Futures Tour money list at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.