Laides Back in New York for Corning Classic

By Lpga Tour MediaMay 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Corning ClassicCORNING, N.Y. -- The $1.5 million LPGA Corning Classic tees off this week with a field highlighted by first-time defending champion Young Kim. The then-27-year-old Kim fired four consecutive rounds in the 60s, including a season-low 64 in the second round to edge Paula Creamer and Mi Hyun Kim by three strokes and become the fifth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2007 season.
 
The battle for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year will heat up this week on the 6,223-yard, par-72 layout as leader and non-exempt Tour member Na Yeon Choi, of South Korea, (500 points) continues to hold off Yani Tseng, of Taiwan, (441 points). Reigning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Angela Park, who struggled to a tie for 35th at last season's LPGA Corning Classic, will also make an appearance in search of her first LPGA victory.
 
Creamer is back for her second go-around at the Corning Country Club after finished tied for second last season. Since her last trip to Corning, she has three victories (2007 Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions, 2008 Fields Open in Hawaii and 2008 SemGroup Championship Presented by John Q. Hammons). Creamer entered the final round last year tied for the lead at 16-under-par with Kim and Beth Bader, but her 1-under-par 71 finish was not enough to finish with the title.
 
In the first 29 stagings of the LPGA Corning Classic, there have been 27 different winners. Only LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Famer Betsy King (1991, 2000), and 13-time Tour winner Rosie Jones (1996, 1997) have won the event twice in their careers. In addition to Kim, five other past champions are in the field this week, including 2006 champion Hee-Won Han, Jimin Kang (2005), Laura Diaz (2002), Sherri Turner (1988) and Jones.
 
Just as impressive are the number of past champions over the event's 30 Years of Golf & Giving, who have been members of either the European or U.S. Solheim Cup teams. Upcoming 2009 team captains Beth Daniel (U.S.A.) and Alison Nicholas (Europe) won in Corning in 1994 and 1995, respectively, as well as one of Daniels' assistant captains Kelly Robbins (1993). Other past champions who have competed on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team are: 2002, 2003 captain Patty Sheehan (1983); 1994 captain JoAnne Carner (1984); 2000 captain Pat Bradley (1990); 2007 captain King; Jones; Tammie Green (1998); Kelli Kuehne (1999); Diaz; and Juli Inkster (2003). Carin Koch (2001); and Annika Sorenstam (2004) are past champions who have represented the European Solheim Cup team.
 
The GOLF CHANNEL has coverage of all four rounds this week.
 
Next week, the LPGA heads to South Carolina for the Ginn Tribute hosted by Annika. Annika Sorenstam is expected to compete for the second time since announcing she is stepping away from golf at the end of the year. Nicole Castrale downed Lorena Ochoa in a playoff to win the inaugural title last year.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.