Womens World Cup Kicks Off LPGA Season

By Lpga Tour MediaJanuary 18, 2007, 5:00 pm
WomenSUN CITY, South Africa -- The 2007 Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour season begins this week with the Women's World Cup of Golf returning to the Gary Player Country Club at the Sun City Resort in Sun City, South Africa, from Jan. 19-21. The unique tournament offers a $1.2 million purse (unofficial money) and features 22 two-player teams representing their respective countries.

The event, in its third year, is co-sanctioned by the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour (LET), with countries qualifying from both Tours to compete. The tournament consists of a three-day, 54-hole competition with a different format each day. Friday will commence with singles competition followed by foursomes on Saturday and best ball on Sunday. The winners will be determined by combining each team's scores from all three days.

Last year, the experienced duo of Annika Sorenstam and Liselotte Neumann finished with a final score of 65-69-147=281 to give Sweden the victory. They were three shots better than runner-up Scotland, which was represented by Catriona Matthew and Janice Moodie. Scotland used an impressive final round of play to finish second; they ranked as the only team to shoot sub-par for the final day in the stroke play competition.

Moodie will compete again this year for Scotland, and will partner with Mhairi McKay for this week's event. Moodie will make her first appearance on the links since she gave birth last year to son, Craig McLean. Moodie has not competed in an event since the ShopRite LPGA Classic in early June 2006.

Every country participating is capable of winning, but heading into the event England, Sweden, Paraguay and the United States have to be among the favorites.

Sweden returns as the defending champion, but will have two new competitors vying for their country, as Carin Koch and Helen Alfredsson will compete for Sweden. Koch and Alfredsson have combined for seven LPGA Tour victories and both finished in the top 60 on the 2006 Final ADT Official Money List. Alfredsson looks for a strong start to the season that will feature her serving as captain for the 2007 European Solheim Cup Team in Halmstad, Sweden, later this year.

The team from the United States is expected to be tough competition for the Swedes as LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster will tee it up with partner Pat Hurst. Experience should be key for the U.S. team as Inkster and Hurst, who are both coming off victories during the 2006 LPGA Tour season, combine for 36 career wins and more than $16 million in career earnings. Both had exceptional seasons in 2006, as Inkster recorded 12 top-10 finishes, while Hurst posted eight. Inkster, who has won 31 career LPGA titles, has played on six U.S. Solheim Cup Teams and has amassed more than $11 million in career earnings, which ranks third in LPGA history. Hurst has won five career LPGA tournaments, almost making it six in 2006, but lost in an 18-hole playoff to world number one Sorenstam at the U.S. Women's Open. She has played on four U.S. Solheim Cup Teams and has accumulated more than $5 million in career earnings.

The flag bearers for England are Laura Davies and Trish Johnson. Davies, who has 20 LPGA victories and 47 international victories during her career, capped off an exceptional year on the LET Tour as she won the LET Order of Merit by winning the SAS Masters along with five runner-up finishes. Davies is experienced in team events, ranking as the only player in Solheim Cup history to compete in all nine events. Johnson, who has made seven appearances on the European Solheim Cup Team, posted five top-10 finishes on the LET in 2006.

Twenty-year-old Julieta Granada also looks to lead the team from Paraguay to a World Cup title this week. Granada won the 2006 season-ending ADT Championship and the accompanying $1 million first-place check, the highest ever in women's professional golf. Granada, who was a rookie in 2006, recorded seven top-10 finishes and earned more than $1.6 million, a Tour record for most official single-season earnings by a rookie. She is paired with 25-year-old Celeste Troche, who starts her fourth year on Tour this week.

Related Links:
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    Rahm (62) takes early lead at CareerBuilder

    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.


    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.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."