International Flavor Adds Strength to LPGA Rookie Class

By Martha BrendleDecember 10, 2002, 5:00 pm
The LPGA will welcome in the New Year with a rookie class 25 strong. The 2003 class boasts 18 international players giving it the strong international flavor to which the LPGA Tour is becoming accustomed.
 
Among those international players are some of the Evian Ladies European Tours (LET) strongest contenders: Raquel Carriedo (Zaragoza, Spain), Karin Icher (Chateauroux, France), Paula Marti (Barcelona, Spain), Nicole Perrot (Vina del Mar, Chile), Suzann Pettersen (Oslo, Norway) and Iben Tinning (Copenhagen, Denmark).
 
Europes top young stars have successfully jumped ship and will play on the LPGA Tour as members in 2003. Its a huge loss for the LET but a tremendous gain for LPGA Tour Commissioner Ty Votaw and the strength of the LPGA Tour.
 
Tinning, a member of the 2002 Solheim Cup European Team who won twice on the LET in 2002, is excited about playing on the LPGA Tour. The thing is, if you want to improve your game, I am sorry to say, you need to play more tournaments, and at the moment we (LET) have only got 14. Her back-to-back wins this season at the Ladies Irish Open and the La Perla Italian Open increased her popularity in Europe.
 
If we had 25 tournaments, I would never go over here and play, but we dont have that. Even though Tinning knows what she had to do for her profession, its not in line with her heart. I think if you are born in Europe, you want to stay in Europe.
 
Tinning earned non-exempt status after recording scores of 72-73-70-73-288 to finish at even par at the LPGA International-Legends Course in Daytona Beach, Fla. during the final Qualifying School in October.
 
Carriedo won the Tenerife Ladies Open and recorded three other top-10s during the season while Icher won the Caja Duero Open de Espana.
 
Other 2003 European rookies include Nikki Campbell of Ontario, Canada, Candy Hannemann (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Linda Ishii (Chiba, Japan), Jimin Kang (Seoul, Korea), Soo Young Kim
 
A grand total of 23 players have exempt status in 2003, 11 of which are rookies. Young Kim (Kangwondo, Korea), Young-A Yang (Seoul, Korea), Angela Jerman (Denver, Co.), Georgina Simpson (Dewsbury, England), Carriedo (Spain), Pettersen (Norway), Soo Young Kim (Chung-Nam, Korea), Young-A Yang (Korea) and Carrie Roberts ' formerly Summerhays - (Herber City, Utah) all earned exempt status through Q-School.
 
Raquel Carriedo and Suzann Pettersen, who will be sorely missed on the LET, are destined to make a big splash on the LPGA Tour. Both were members of the 2002 Solheim Cup European Squad, making notable contributions to the team.
 
The nine players mentioned above are joined by 20-year-old Lorena Ochoa of Guadalajara, Mexico and Christina Kim of San Jose, Calif. Both earned their status for the coming year by finishing in the top two positions on the 2002 Futures Tour money list.
 
'I cant wait to start to play on LPGA Tour,' Ochoa said.
 
This has been my dream since I have been playing golf as well as a dream of my family and of all of Mexico. And I finally did it.
 
Ochoa was the No. 1 ranked college player from the University of Arizona in 2001. She won three times and was runner-up in four tournaments on the Futures Tour this year.
 
The first professional event Ochoa competed in, as an amateur, was the 2000 U.S. Womens Open where she recorded scores of 75-78-153 to miss the cut. She went on to receive a sponsor exemption at the 2001 Welchs/Circle K Championship in Tucson, where she finished tied for seventh place, and two weeks later was invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Her success as an amateur prompted her to leave school early and turn pro.
 
Having no home on the LPGA Tour, Ochoa played her first year as a pro on the Futures Tour.
 
'The Futures Tour allowed me to achieve this goal and I think the Tour is the best way to get to the LPGA and at the same time gain much needed experience, she said. The competition out here is really fierce and week to week the players are gunning for the top spot.'
 
A total of 48 players will compete under non-exempt conditional status in 2003. Among them are 15 members of the 2003 rookie class including Europes Tinning, Marti, Perrot, and Icher.
 
Australian Nikke Campbell, Candy Hannemann (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Linda Ishii (Chiba, Japan), Jimin Kang (Seoul, Korea), Ji-Yeon (Jinnie)Lee (Seoul, Korea), Soo Young Moon (Keumsan, Korea), Ashley Palmer Winn (Monroe, LA.), Hyun Soon Park (Gong-Ju, Korea), Stacy Prammanasudh (Enid, OK), and Lisa Strom (Aberdeen, S.D.) make up the rest of the 15 rookies chomping at the bit to make their mark on the LPGA Tour.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: