Rookie Ahn Aims for Repeat

By Lpga Tour MediaOctober 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 CJ Nine Bridges ClassicJEJU ISLAND, South Korea -- What a difference a year makes.
 
At this time last year, the name Shi Hyun Ahn didn't carry much clout, if any, in LPGA circles. She was an unproven rookie on the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour and had never played in an LPGA event. Today, all of that has changed, as the talented 20-year-old has already secured the 2004 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, is 17th on the ADT Official Money List and is about to defend her first-career tournament.
 
Ahn and the rest of the LPGA Tour return to South Korea this week for the $1.35 million CJ Nine Bridges Classic Presented by Sports Today. In 2003, Ahn prevailed as the unlikely winner of the limited-field event, which features a mix of LPGA and KLPGA stars, and earned LPGA membership. And her LPGA performance to date has not disappointed.
 
Ahn began the year with back-to-back top-five finishes and has recorded a total of 12 top-20 finishes in 22 events. Her consistent play earned the young player Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors, making her the fourth Korean player to win the award in the past seven years.
 
This week she looks to get back into the winner's circle, but it will not be easy as the best players in the world will try stop her. Annika Sorenstam has been Ahn's biggest roadblock from victory this year. The Swede won both events-the McDonald's LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola and the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic presented by Ford-where Ahn finished as the runner-up. Sorenstam makes her first appearance in the CJ Nine Bridges Class Presented by Sports Today since 2002.
 
Sorenstam has been the most dominant golfer in the game for several years now and shows no sign of relinquishing her top spot anytime soon. The LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member has won six of her 15 LPGA starts this year and has only finished outside of the top 10 twice, both times tying for 13th.
 
Lorena Ochoa, who ranks second on the ADT Official Money List and was the
2003 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, is also sure to be a factor.
The young star has won twice this year and is a top-10 machine. In her 23 starts, she has 17 top-10 finishes, which includes stretches of six and eight consecutive top 10s.
 
Ochoa is one of the most aggressive players in the game, leading the Tour in birdies with 380 (Jeong Jang is a distant second with 350) and is second in eagle with 17. She ranks in the top 10 in every statistical category except putting (17th) and driving accuracy (75th). Her scoring average of 69.88 is second on Tour to Sorenstam (68.93) and makes them the only two players with an average under 70.
 
Grace Park leads a contingency of Korean players looking to win in their native country. Park, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March, has 10 top-three finishes this year in 20 events. Outside of her win, she has six runner-up finishes, including the last two events, and has placed third three times.
 
Last year, Ahn became the sixth-youngest tournament winner in LPGA history after posting rounds of 65-71-68=204 (-12) to top 2002 champion Se Ri Pak, Grace Park, Gloria Park and Laura Davies by three shots.
 
Related links:
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    Watson back in top 40 after OWGR free fall

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Bubba Watson ended his free fall in the Official World Golf Ranking with a two-shot victory Sunday at the Genesis Open.

    Watson, a fixture in the top 10 in the world as recently as 13 months ago, had dropped all the way to 117th after a 2017 season in which he struggled with poor form, illness and desire.

    After his third career win at Riviera, he is up to 40th.

    Kevin Na rose from 95th to 65th after tying for second in Los Angeles, while Tony Finau jumped from 41st to 33rd.

    Tiger Woods actually improved in the world ranking, from No. 550 to No. 544, despite a missed cut at the Genesis Open.

    On the European Tour, Joost Luiten surged from 90th to 68th after his victory in Oman.

    The top 10 in the world remained unchanged as the PGA Tour heads into the Florida swing: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy.

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    Bubba catapults, Phil creeps up in Ryder Cup standings

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2018, 1:21 pm

    Bubba Watson was an assistant on the 2016 Ryder Cup team. He doesn’t want to be driving a cart in Paris.

    Watson, thanks to his victory in the Genesis Open, jumped from 60th to 10th in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings. The top eight after the PGA Championship qualify automatically for this year’s edition at Le Golf National in France.

    Phil Mickelson moved up one spot to 11th after tying for sixth at Riviera Country Club.

    Players will receive one point per dollar earned in regular events this year, with 1.5 points per dollar in majors and two points per dollar for winning a major. Here's a look at the current U.S. standings:

    1. Dustin Johnson

    2. Brooks Koepka

    3. Justin Thomas

    4. Jordan Spieth

    5. Matt Kuchar

    6. Brian Harman

    7. Gary Woodland

    8. Rickie Fowler

    ---

    9. Chez Reavie

    10. Bubba Watson

    11. Phil Mickelson

    12. Patrick Reed


    On the European side, the top four players from the Ryder Cup points list will be joined by the top four qualifiers from the world points list, with captain Thomas Bjorn making four additional selections. Here's a look at the current top names:

    Ryder Cup Points

    1. Justin Rose

    2. Tyrrell Hatton

    3. Ross Fisher

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Tommy Fleetwood

    3. Sergio Garcia

    4. Rory McIlroy

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    Genesis Open purse payout: Bubba makes bank

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2018, 1:03 pm

    Bubba Watson won the Genesis Open for a third time on Sunday, moving his career PGA Tour win total to 10. Here's a look at how the purse paid out at Riviera Country Club.

    1 Bubba Watson -12 $1,296,000
    T2 Kevin Na -10 $633,600
    T2 Tony Finau -10 $633,600
    T4 Scott Stallings -9 $316,800
    T4 Patrick Cantlay -9 $316,800
    T6 Adam Hadwin -8 $241,200
    T6 Phil Mickelson -8 $241,200
    T6 Cameron Smith -8 $241,200
    T9 Jordan Spieth -7 $180,000
    T9 Martin Laird -7 $180,000
    T9 Xander Schauffele -7 $180,000
    T9 Ryan Moore -7 $180,000
    T9 Justin Thomas -7 $180,000
    T14 James Hahn -6 $133,200
    T14 Aaron Baddeley -6 $133,200
    T16 Alex Noren -4 $111,600
    T16 Sung-hoon Kang -4 $111,600
    T16 Dustin Johnson -4 $111,600
    T16 Derek Fathauer -4 $111,600
    T20 Rory McIlroy -3 $78,000
    T20 Bud Cauley -3 $78,000
    T20 Kevin Chappell -3 $78,000
    T20 Talor Gooch -3 $78,000
    T20 Jason Kokrak -3 $78,000
    T20 Vaughn Taylor -3 $78,000
    T26 John Huh -2 $46,996
    T26 Peter Uihlein -2 $46,996
    T26 Luke List -2 $46,996
    T26 Rafael Cabrera Bello -2 $46,996
    T26 Patrick Rodgers -2 $46,996
    T26 Jamie Lovemark -2 $46,996
    T26 Dominic Bozzelli -2 $46,996
    T26 Matt Kuchar -2 $46,996
    T26 Anirban Lahiri -2 $46,996
    T26 Sam Saunders -2 $46,996
    T26 Graeme McDowell -2 $46,996
    T37 Branden Grace -1 $33,120
    T37 Tommy Fleetwood -1 $33,120
    T37 Charles Howell III -1 $33,120
    T37 Luke Donald -1 $33,120
    T41 Bryson DeChambeau E $24,516
    T41 Troy Merritt E $24,516
    T41 Kevin Streelman E $24,516
    T41 Pat Perez E $24,516
    T41 Charley Hoffman E $24,516
    T41 Brandon Harkins E $24,516
    T41 Jonas Blixt E $24,516
    T41 Nick Taylor E $24,516
    T49 Austin Cook 1 $17,964
    T49 Brendan Steele 1 $17,964
    T49 Paul Casey 1 $17,964
    T49 Chad Campbell 1 $17,964
    T53 Tom Hoge 2 $16,437
    T53 Benjamin Silverman 2 $16,437
    T53 Li HaoTong 2 $16,437
    T53 Retief Goosen 2 $16,437
    T53 Martin Kaymer 2 $16,437
    T53 Adam Schenk 2 $16,437
    T53 Adam Scott 2 $16,437
    T60 Ryan Blaum 3 $15,696
    T60 J.B. Holmes 3 $15,696
    T60 Harold Varner, III 3 $15,696
    63 Kelly Kraft 4 $15,408
    T64 Padraig Harrington 5 $15,120
    T64 Ryan Armour 5 $15,120
    T64 Sean O'Hair 5 $15,120
    67 Martin Piller 6 $14,832
    T68 Thomas Pieters 7 $14,400
    T68 Greg Chalmers 7 $14,400
    T68 Abraham Ancer 7 $14,400
    T68 Tyrone van Aswegen 7 $14,400
    T68 Charl Schwartzel 7 $14,400
    T73 Vijay Singh 8 $13,896
    T73 Chez Reavie 8 $13,896
    T75 Sang-Moon Bae 10 $13,608
    T75 David Lingmerth 10 $13,608
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    After Further Review: Haas crash strikes a chord

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2018, 2:39 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 horrifying car crash involving Bill Haas ...

    I spent a lot of time this week thinking about Bill Haas. He was the passenger in a car crash that killed a member of his host family. That man, 71-year-old Mark Gibello, was a successful businessman in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and a new friend.

    Haas escaped without any major injuries, but he withdrew from the Genesis Open to return home to Greenville, S.C. When he’ll return to the Tour is anyone’s guess. It could be a while, as he grapples with the many emotions after surviving that horrifying crash – seriously, check out the photos – while the man next to him did not.

    The entire Haas clan is some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Wish them the best in their recovery. – Ryan Lavner


    On TIger Woods' missed cut at the Genesis Open ...

    After missing the cut at the Genesis Open by more than a few car lengths, Tiger Woods appeared to take his early exit in stride. Perhaps that in and of itself is a form of progress.

    Years ago, a second-round 76 with a tattered back-nine scorecard would have elicited a wide range of emotions. But none of them would have been particularly tempered, or optimistic, looking ahead to his next start. At age 42, though, Woods has finally ceded that a win-or-bust mentality is no longer helpful or productive.

    The road back from his latest surgery will be a winding one, mixed with both ups and downs. His return at Torrey Pines qualified as the former, while his trunk slam at Riviera certainly served as the latter. There will surely be more of both in the coming weeks and months, and Woods’ ability to stomach the rough patches could prove pivotal for his long-term prognosis. - Will Gray


    On the debate over increased driving distance on the PGA Tour ...

    The drumbeat is only going to get louder as the game’s best get longer. On Sunday, Bubba Watson pounded his way to his 10th PGA Tour title at the Genesis Open and the average driving distance continues to climb.

    Lost in the debate over driving distances and potential fixes, none of which seem to be simple, is a beacon of sanity, Riviera Country Club’s par-4 10th hole. The 10th played just over 300 yards for the week and yet yielded almost as many bogeys (86) as birdies (87) with a 4.053 stroke average.

    That ranks the 10th as the 94th toughest par 4 on Tour this season, ahead of behemoths like the 480-yard first at Waialae and 549-yard 17th at Kapalua. Maybe the game doesn’t need new rules that limit how far the golf ball goes, maybe it just needs better-designed golf holes. - Rex Hoggard


    On the depth of LPGA talent coming out of South Korea ...

    The South Korean pipeline to the LPGA shows no signs of drying up any time soon. Jin Young Ko, 22, won her LPGA debut as a tour member Sunday at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, and Hyejin Choi, 18, nearly won the right to claim LPGA membership there.

    The former world No. 1 amateur who just turned pro finished second playing on a sponsor exemption. Sung Hyun Park, who shared Rolex Player of the Year honors with So Yeon Ryu last year, is set to make her 2018 debut this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

    And Inbee Park is set to make her return to the LPGA in two weeks at the HSBC Women’s World Championship after missing most of last year due to injury. The LPGA continues to go through South Korea no matter where this tour goes. - Randall Mell