How Swede It Is

By Martha BrendleMarch 28, 2002, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Conditions were difficult at best during the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills. Liselotte Neumann led a handful of players who managed to break par amidst windy conditions.
 
Neumanns consistent play - resulting in no bogeys and three birdies - positioned her in the lead by late afternoon. At 3-under-par 69, she was the only player in the field to break 70, and she did so in wind gusts up to 15 mph.
 
It was pretty solid golf and Im happy with my round, Neumann said. I had some long putts today ' got the speed down and putted really well.
 
Neumann, who admitted to playing the course approximately 10 times this January, recorded birdie on the 380-yard par-4 fourth, the 508-yard par-5 ninth and again on the 385-yard par-4 12th.
 
This is Neumanns 15th appearance at the Nabisco Championship. And although she has never won the title, she has finished in the top 10 twice. Her best finish was a tie for fifth in 1998 ' the same year she joined the LPGA Tour.
 
A native of Finspang, Sweden, she now calls Boca Raton, Fla., home for most of the year, but she makes a second home in Palm Springs - 'Palm Springs is beautiful, she said. Who doesnt want to live there?'
 
Defending champion Annika Sorenstam silently stalked the lead throughout her afternoon round, moving to 3-under by her 13th hole. The strategic way in which she attacked the course was almost visible on the scoreboard.
 
Sorenstam also recorded three birdies but made her second bogey of the day at the last to fall one stroke off the lead. Im very happy with my round, she said. I thought I played excellent golf and, as you know, the wind is howling out there.
 
The wind was a big factor from the first tee to the last putt.
 
Course conditions rapidly changed as night fell. The last groups faced high winds, plummeting temperatures and impending thunderstorms. I saw lightning before it was all through, Sorenstam continued. And I dont like lightning.
 
Already leading the LPGA Tour money list with $247,005 in winnings this season, Sorenstam is on the right track to repeating last years success. And tied just one stroke off the lead, she hasnt left much breathing room for her fellow Swede.
 
I was really focused, very patient, Sorenstam said. Today I was calm ' I was playing calm golf; not pushing it, not being too aggressive.
 
Early leader Amy Fruhwirth and Gloria Park recorded opening rounds of 2-under-par 70. They are tied with Sorenstam in second place.
 
I have to say putting was the key, Fruhwirth said. Every opportunity I had for birdie I took advantage of, which is important out here.'
 
Fruhwirth had a two-stroke advantage at 3-under until gusty conditions and an errant drive right set her up for bogey on the 18th. Early on the front nine it wasnt too windy, until the backside for my group, probably starting on 16, 17, 18.
 
Usually 18 is the only real scary hole, I think - coming in cross-wind, driving with the water on the left and the wind blowing left-to-right. That was probably the trickiest hole with the wind, just because its so severe and you have to be accurate on that hole on every shot.
 
A relaxed Fruhwirth is brimming with confidence this week. Ive played very well here in the years that Ive played,' she said. 'So, theres a lot of confidence with that coming into the tournament. Im pretty accurate off the tees, so I dont ' Im not finding myself in a lot of trouble.
 
Wind made already tough conditions more difficult, but the players caught a break this year with significantly shorter rough than theyve seen here in the past.
 
The rough this year is not as high, which is nice because when I did miss the fairway I was able to hit an iron out and actually get it on the green; whereas, in years past, pulling out a sand wedge was almost what I had to do, Fruhwirth said.
 
Hall-of-Fame member Betsy King recorded a 1-under-par 71. King has won this event three times prior in her career (1987, 90 and 97). Becky Iverson joined King late in the day along with Hall-of-Fame member and fellow 40-year-old Beth Daniel. Rounding out the group is 15-year-old amateur Aree Wongluekiet, who was at 2-under through the 16th.
 
Full-field scores from the Kraft Nabisco Championship
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.