LPGA Season Starts Up in Hawaii

By Lpga Tour MediaFebruary 21, 2005, 5:00 pm
Ladies Professional Golf AssociationKAHUKU, Oahu, Hawaii - The Ladies Professional Golf Association's (LPGA) first full-field event of the year begins this week on the historic North Shore of Hawaii. The Palmer Course at the beautiful Turtle Bay Resort will stage the $1 million SBS Open at Turtle Bay, where a field of 132 players will tee it up officially for the first time in 2005.
The first event of the year means one thing; everyone starts their quest for the top spot on the ADT Official Money List, Rolex Player of the Year honors, Vare Trophy standings and every statistical category in the exact same place.
All those zeros will be replaced with a wide assortment of statistical and numerical information that throughout the season will eventually separate the best from the rest. The first event of the season can often provide a surprise winner and serve as a springboard to a successful season, as evidenced by Karen Stupples last year and her multi-win season that resulted in a sixth-place finish on the ADT Official Money List.
The field is loaded with established players like Meg Mallon, Cristie Kerr, Grace Park and Lorena Ochoa, who all posted multiple wins in 2004. Mallon, who ranks fourth on the career money list, is one of the most consistent players the game has ever seen. Kerr, Park and Ochoa represent the future and all are looking for performances this year that may help dethrone Annika Sorenstam from her perch atop the world of women's golf.
Park clearly is one of the favorites this week, as she typically starts the year well. Last year she paced second, third and then first in the first three events of the year and was Sorenstam's closest competition on the season-ending ADT Official Money List.
Kerr learned how to win last year. She closed out her first title of 2004 at the LPGA Takefuji Classic in a seven-hole, sudden-death playoff with Seol-An Jeon and then made birdie on 18 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic to earn her second victory of the year by one shot. Her third win came at the State Farm Classic, where she carded four rounds in the 60s to win by one over Christina Kim.
Ochoa is one of the Tour's most aggressive and consistent players. She broke LPGA records for birdies, rounds under par and rounds in the 60s in
2004 as she garnered her first two wins as an LPGA member.
This week there are also many rookies making their LPGA debut, but no debut may be more anticipated than that of Paula Creamer. The 18-year-old, five-stroke medalist of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament Presented by American Airlines is the flag bearer for a new generation of golfers all looking to make a name for themselves.
Creamer was on the wrong side of Kerr's birdie putt at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in 2004, but with five top-20 LPGA finishes already on her resume, she is ready to tackle her first season as a professional.
Amateur Michelle Wie, who tied Creamer for low amateur honors at the 2004 U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA, is playing in the event via a sponsor's exemption. This will be Wie's 18th LPGA event. She has made the cut in 13 events and has posted six top-20 finishes in her last seven tournaments.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - SBS Open at Turtle Bay
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    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

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    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.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    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."

    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.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry