Michelle Wie Will Play in Bay Mills
The 13-year-old Hawaiian will play as an amateur on a Golf Channel sponsors exemption and will headline a strong amateur representation at the Tour TPC. Five other elite amateurs from both the Canadian and American ranks will also tee it up at Bay Mills. Those names will be announced shortly.
We are extremely excited to be welcoming these amateur standouts into the field in Bay Mills, said Canadian Tour Commissioner Ian Mansfield. One of our objectives at the Canadian Tour is to promote amateur golf in Canada and the United States, and we feel these young players will give fans a look at the future stars of tomorrow.
Wie, who will also play in a Nationwide Tour event later this year, is already making her name well known in LPGA circles. In March, she accepted an invitation to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGAs first major of 2003, and played in the final pairing of the tournament with Sorenstam and eventual champion Patricia Meunier-Lebouc. Wie finished ninth, and her driving distance for the tournament was 280-plus yards, 25 yards longer than Sorenstams.
After learning the game at age four, Wie was winning nearly every junior tournament she entered by the time she was 11. As a ten-year-old, Wie became the youngest player in history to qualify for a USGA championship when she made the starting field at the USGA Womens Amateur Public Links Championship. In 2002, at the same event, Wie became the youngest player ever to reach the semi-final of a USGA Amateur Championship.
Based on her performance over the past few years, Michelle certainly has garnered attention not only for herself, but for the game of golf, added Mansfield. There is no doubt the impact she will have on the LPGA Tour in the coming years, and to have her in a Canadian Tour event in the early stages of her career is something we are all looking forward to.
During Monday qualifying for the PGA Tours Sony Open back in January, Wie wound up 47th in a field of 97 men.
With drives that routinely travel more than 300 yards, Wie, who stands nearly six feet tall, has caught the attention of several PGA Tour stars.
When you see her hit a golf ball ... there's nothing that prepares you for it, Fred Couples told Golf World magazine. It's just the scariest thing you've ever seen.'
While Wies appearance in Michigan will likely attract media and fans from all over North America, she will not be the first woman to play in a Canadian Tour event. Cathy Sherk, the former Canadian and U.S. Amateur champion who is now in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, qualified for the 1989 Timex-BIC Ontario Open at Lookout Point CC in Fonthill, ON. Playing from the mens tees, Sherk fired a 1-under 71 at the Port Colborne GC qualifying site. A few days later, with an international media contingent in Fonthill, including a Los Angeles Times reporter, Sherk seemed distracted by the media attention and eventually missed the cut.
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.
Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta
Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.
The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.
It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.
"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."
Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.
Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.
"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."
Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder
After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.
La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.
"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."
Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.
The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.
"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."