Everythings Coming Up Roses for May

By Martha BrendleMay 11, 2001, 4:00 pm
Who is May Wood? She comes from the small town of Signal Mountain, TN. boasting citizenship of 7,500 and one traffic light.
 
Standing 61, brimming with beauty and a vivacious personality, she is the stuff LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaws dreams are made of. But much like the Wonglukiet twins, May will make the commissioner wait a few years until that dream comes true.
 
Wood, a student at Baylor High School, has been shaking things up on the junior circuit for the past few years. So much so that she has already has sponsors - names like Callaway - just drooling for a chance to be associated with her.
 
Baylor High School team coach King Oehmig, as well as Dave Ragan ' a former touring pro and Bruce Etter of Chattanooga Golf and C.C. - all share in the coaching duties of this young prodigy. It is their job to take May to the next level.
 
These three are not alone in sharing the responsibility of molding this raw talent into the next golf icon. There is one other person that Wood attributes her continued success to ' Phil Ritson.
 
Ritson, a native of South Africa and long time resident of Orlando, FL, met May two years ago during Baylors annual summer trek to the Phil Ritson Institute at Orange County National. He is great Wood said in a bubbly tone. I really love working with him. He saw my swing when my school team was down there practicing and came over and introduced himself to me.
 
She has one of the best swings you will ever see, Ritson said. She has a wide arch, three-quarter arm action and a big body rotation. May is the next big thing that will happen to womens golf.
 
The average top clubhead speed of an LPGA Tour player is 136 mph, while the average speed for a PGA TOUR player is 155 mph, Ritson said. Mays average top head speed is 150.6. This should give you a good idea of where she stands.
 
Wood, the sole amateur in this week's Electrolux USA Championship field, was hand-picked by Tournament Director Clyde Russell to receive a sponsor exemption. I think its important for events like ours to promote womens golf and particularly junior golf. May Wood has a compelling junior career, Russell said of May, the youngest winner in history of the Chattanooga Womens Amateur tournament, which she won at age 15 in 1999. We are really thrilled to have her in our field.
 
Wood, competing for the first time in an LPGA Tour event, recorded 1-over-par 37-36 (73) in the opening round. She hit 15 greens in her round and three-putted three times from short distances. Ritson said she apologized for Thursdays round and was clearly disappointed with her efforts.
 
The 17-year-old beauty, born on Dec. 27th, 1983, possesses a sublime swing and steely drive that her coaches and family alike are hoping will take her to great heights. With a swing that is said to emulate Davis Love IIIs, Wood is already a force to be reckoned with on the junior circuit and is expected to achieve lofty goals in the future.
 
Parents Mark and Kerry Wood are supportive of their oldest childs dreams. Mays dad is her quasi-agent and arranges her playing schedule, which is just fine with her. This gives the tight-scheduled teen more time to do the things she loves ' like listen to just about every kind of music you can think of and follow the career of her favorite golfer, Tiger Woods.
 
This summer will by Mays coming out party on the AJGA. Expect to hear more about this rising star.
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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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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.