International Flavor Adds Strength to LPGA Rookie Class
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.
Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.
It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.
Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.
Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.
“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”
The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.
“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”
Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.
Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.
Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.
''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''
It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.
''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''
Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.
''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''
After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.
''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''
He's making his first start in the event.
''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.
Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.
''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''
Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.
''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.
The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.
''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''
Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.
''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.
Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.
Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.
John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.
Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years
Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.
He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.
How rare is his missing the cut there?
The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.
The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.
The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.
Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.
Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.