Five Share Lead in LPGA Qualifying
Susannah Laing, Kori Johns, Danielle Masters and Cherie Byrnes all played the first round on the 6,290-yard Arnold Palmer course, while Michelle Simpson opened the tournament on the 6,460-yard Dinah Shore course, which plays host to the LPGAs first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
On the front side, I played really well and made the turn at 4-under-par, said Simpson, who finished 66th on the 2003 Futures Tour money list after competing in 17 events. I was focusing really well and that is what I have been working on, so it was nice to be able to actually do it.
The 24-year-old played collegiate golf at Florida International University, where she graduated in 2001 with a degree in sports management. She got to 5-under on the day with a birdie on 11, but came back to the field with bogeys on 12, 13 and 14.
You come out here and just want to play four solid rounds of golf and then see what happens, she said. I struggled in Venice (at the first stage of qualifying) with trying to find my niche, but I like where I stand and hopefully I can do the same thing tomorrow.
Masters, of Maidstone, England, is the only amateur in the top 30 and is one of the youngest players in the field at age 20. She has a very impressive amateur record as she was twice a stroke play champion in England and was also the European Amateur Champion. Laing, who hails from neighboring Troon, Scotland, graduated this year from the University of San Francisco, where she was a four-time all-conference first-team selection.
Johns, the 1995 Texas State Amateur Champion, is the only American tied for the lead. She competed in 15 events on the 2003 Futures Tour and finished 69th on the money list. Byrnes, a 27-year-old from Australia, rounds out the top five tied for the lead. She played in the same group as Masters and was consistent all day, carding a 35 on the front as well as the back.
Players are competing on both the Arnold Palmer and Dinah Shore courses at Mission Hills Country Club, playing each of the courses once before the 36-hole cut is made following the second round. The final two rounds, which will feature the low 70 players and ties, will be played on the Arnold Palmer course. The top 30 players at the end of 72 holes will advance to the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 21-24. If necessary, a sudden-death playoff will be held to determine the 30th spot.
The Rancho Mirage qualifier is the second of the LPGA Tours two sectional qualifying events in 2003. The first LPGA Tour Sectional Qualifying Tournament was Aug. 26-29 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. The top 30 finishers from the California qualifier will join the Venice sectional qualifiers, current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status and the five players who finished sixth through 10th on the final 2003 Futures Tour money list at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:
|T20||Charles Howell III||-14||$57,754|
|T36||Tyrone Van Aswegen||-12||$27,189|
|T69||Billy Hurley III||-6||$11,623|
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.