Golden Defends First Career Title

By Lpga Tour MediaAugust 27, 2002, 4:00 pm
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Over the past 27 years on the LPGA Tour, the State Farm Classic has crowned nine first-time winners. In last year's event, Kate Golden added her name to that notable list after firing a final-round 9-under-par 63 to defeat Annika Sorenstam by one shot. Golden, who played on tour for nearly 10 years, earned the win and her best finish since a fourth-place finish in 1997.
This week, the event features not only several American players striving for those last few Solheim Cup points - Pat Hurst, Danielle Ammaccapane, Dorothy Delasin and Nancy Scranton - but also a list of players trying to win the State Farm LPGA Series Bonus Pool, which culminates Sunday. Sorenstam leads the bonus pool standings, but players do have a chance to catch her since points are tripled for the final event.
Nine past champions are playing this week and the list includes LPGA Tour Hall of Famers Beth Daniel, Betsy King and Nancy Lopez along with Laurel Kean, Michelle McGann, Barb Mucha, Pearl Sinn and Mary Beth Zimmerman.
Seven winners off the 2002 LPGA Tour season are competing. Three-time winner Se Ri Pak and two-time winners Laura Diaz, Mi Hyun Kim and Rachel Teske are all looking for another victory, while Cristie Kerr, Meg Mallon and Gloria Park all are in the hunt for a second season victory.
Rookies Natalie Gulbis and Beth Bauer continue to battle for the last few Rolex Rookie of the Year points. The points race ends at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., Sept. 15. Bauer overtook Gulbis after a top-10 finish at last week's First Union Betsy King Classic, but leads by only one point, 600-599.
In last year's event, Sorenstam led throughout all three rounds and was 18-under-par heading into the final round. During the final round, Golden began six shots behind and played one group ahead of Sorenstam. Golden began her round with a birdie on the third hole and then reeled off four consecutive birdies on holes 6 through 9 to make the turn at 17-under-par.
At that point, Golden was just two shots off Sorenstam's lead. Golden added a pair of back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes and then again on the 14th and 15th holes to get to 21-under-par for the tournament. Golden was then one stroke ahead of Sorenstam after the 15th hole. A bogey on the 16th hole put Sorenstam two strokes behind Golden, but a birdie on the 17th hole brought her back to within one. After missing a birdie putt on the final hole, Sorenstam finished the day with a two-under-par 70 and in second place.
Moira Dunn finished in third place with a 17-under-par 271 after a final-round 67 (-5), her fourth consecutive round in the 60s. Emilee Klein finished in fourth place at 16-under-par 272, while Laura Diaz was fifth at 15-under-par at 273.
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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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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.