Inkster Looks to Hold Off Annika Again

By Lpga Tour MediaJune 30, 2003, 4:00 pm
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. ' The U.S. Womens Open, one of the LPGAs four majors and one of the most prolific tournaments in all of golf, is set to begin.
 
The backdrop for the 58th staging of the prestigious four-day, national championship, July 3-6, is the picturesque Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore. One hundred and fifty-six of the worlds best female golfers will be on hand competing for the esteemed honor of being crowned U.S. Womens Open champion.
 
The tournament'with a record $3.1 million purse'can turn any season into a remarkable one as the winner will walk away with a $560,000 paycheck. Last year, that amount alone would have placed a player 16th on the season-ending money list.
 
The field represents an eclectic mix of golfing talent as contestants ages range from 13 to 48.
 
Youth will certainly be served as precocious teenagers like 13- year-old Michelle Wie and 16-year-old Paula Creamer prepare to tee it up with LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame members Beth Daniel, Betsy King (the oldest player in the field) and Juli Inkster, who combine for a total of 95 LPGA Tour wins.
 
Inkster is the defending champion, and once again the 43-year-old mother of two has to be considered one of the favorites. She has a win in the bag this year and is a perennial force in any major championship. Seven of her 29 wins have been majors and she has won at least one major three out of the last four years'a stint that includes two U.S. Womens Open titles (1999, 2000).
 
Precedence may be on Inksters side, but that can only account for so much when the field includes the likes of Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb.
 
Sorenstam is a two-time U.S. Womens Open champion and has had a strong season so far. She has won three times, including the McDonalds LPGA Championship Presented by AIG. Sorenstam, who has stated that her main focus is on winning majors, also has some unfinished business at Pumpkin Ridge.
 
The Swede was aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive U.S. Womens Open title in 1997 when the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge first played host to the tournament. The course got the best of her as she struggled to a two-day total of 150 and missed the cut.
 
Pak is a player to keep an eye on. She won this tournament in 1998 and already has four major championships at the age of 25. With two wins this season and 20 for her career, she is unquestionably a threat to win any event she enters. Pak has won a major each of the last two years and traditionally plays well in the U.S. Womens Open. She finished fifth last year and second in 2001.
 
Buoyed by wins in 2000 and 2001, Webb enters her eighth U.S. Womens Open as the tournaments all-time winning money leader with $1,158,532. The 28-year-old is riding a four-year streak with a major win and has been unstoppable as of late with five wins in the last 14 majors.
 
Last years U.S. Womens Open was held at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., and showcased a remarkable final round. Sorenstam led by two entering the final day, but a hard-charging Inkster fired a 4-under-par 66 to close the tournament at 276. The result was a two-shot win over Sorenstam and a $535,000 paycheck.
 

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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.