Sorenstam Webb Join Neumann In Lead

By Martha BrendleMarch 30, 2002, 5:00 pm

 
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. The defending champion Annika Sorenstam and past champion Karrie Webb join Liselotte Neumann at 4-under-par 212 as co-leaders of the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
Sorenstam shot 1-under 71 today while Neumann recorded 1-over. Webb had the best round of the three, recording 5-under-par 67 today.
 
Once again Conditions were perfect for the first championship of the season and it was no great surprise to see both Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb creep up the leaderboard. Neumanns return to the leaders circle was actually the big surprise of the day. Second round leader Liselotte Neumann blew a two shot lead by the 8th hole.
 
It was then that Sorenstam pounced.
 
The fiercely competitive Swede made the turn, tied with Neumann at 3-under, and never looked back. Birdie on the par-4 10th and again on the par-5 11th left Sorenstam the outright leader mid-way through the day.
 
Neumann spent the first 10-holes of the day throwing away the lead, with bogey after bogey, and spent the final three making it up. Birdie on the par-4 16th and again on the last rectified the damage done earlier in the day. Oh, my God. Im done, she said just after walking off the 18th green. It was a struggle today, especially off the tee. I think I was spending more time with the crowd than I was inside the ropes today.
 
Finally figured it out in the end and actually started playing some good golf coming in.
 
The secret to many success stories today was on the greens. The only difference, really from yesterday, to today was that I made a couple more putts, Webb said. Sorenstam also had an easier time of it. I do think I read the greens much better today.
 
Annika Sorenstam and her caddy both had different sunglasses on today. Sorenstam sported Oakley-20s while she made her caddy wear Read the Green Shades. He didnt take them off all day, She said. That was a standing joke. I said, What does your shades say? It worked pretty good today. So I think hes going to wear them tomorrow, too.
 
Karrie Webb ' who won this championship two years ago - recorded five birdies during her round. Only one bogey, on the 385-yard, par-4 12th, came off the course with her today when the Aussie missed the fairway left on that shot then launched her approach shot into the greenside bunker. She left herself a 10-foot putt, which she two-putted.
 
Before the round today, I knew that I needed to at least shoot in the 60s to have a chance tomorrow, Webb said. So I thought if I got to 2- or 3-under, four shots was not going to be that bad.
 
Webb is excited about playing with Sorenstam in the final group. I think Annika and I both bring the best out in one another, and the fact that ' well, I wanted to make sure I was in that last group. Just because I think part of being in the last group, playing with Annika will help me. The last time the two were paired together in the final round was at the 2000 Evian Masters. Sorenstam defeated Webb in a one-hole playoff that year.
 
Webb birdied the final hole to move to 4-under. I really didnt want to be in the second to last group because I know I wanted to know what was going on in the last group.
 
Rosie Jones and Becky Iverson are just a stroke off the lead - tied for second at 3-under-par 213.
 
Jones took it to 6-under during her round today but was unable to maintain her pace and dropped three strokes on the back nine.
 
Becky Iverson was one of a handful of players to make big moves up the leaderboard today.
 
Iverson joined the Tour in 1994. The Michigan native has one career victory - the 1995 Friendlys Classic where she recorded a bogey-free career low round of 63 to win the title. A win this week would be nice but its not a must for the laidback Iverson.
 
Tomorrow I just want to have a good round and just play my own game and not worry about what anyone else is doing, Iverson said. I dont need to win to be happy.
 
This is Iversons sixth appearance at the championship. She recorded her best finish of 23rd place last year. This is a tough course for Iverson whose best finish here was in 2001 when she finished 23rd. It doesnt set up for me. I dont draw the ball off the tee and a lot of the holes are set up for a draw.
 
So this year I decided to his a lot of 3-woods and 5-woods and take a longer shot in, and that seems to help staying out of the rough, staying out of the bunkers, not in the trees as much, all of that bad stuff Ive been in, in years past.
 
Sorenstam's playing partner Amateur Lorena Ochoa made birdie on the first to move to 1-under and 18-holes later thats where she remained. Two birdies and a lone bogey completed her round of 71. Lorena is the low amateur for the second day in a row. Im very impressed with her game, her attitude and what a nice girl she is, too, Sorenstam said. Even though shes an amateur, she sure doesnt behave like one.
 
So many great players are just a stroke off the twosomes lead, which should make for some very interesting golf during the final round.
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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – 

Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.