NHL Player Struggles at Canadian Q-School
The 25-year-old, who played the Canadian Tour in 2002, leads six players-- Glenn Collins of Winnipeg and Americans Eddie Heinen, Joe Horowitz, John Humphries, Michael McNally and Billy Zihala--by one stroke after the opening day.
Calgarys Scott McNeil and Justin Snelling of Boise, Ida. are two shots back.
Marc Savard of the Atlanta Thrashers, who is attempting to earn playing status on the Canadian Tour after the National Hockey League cancelled its 2005 season last week, fired a 6-over 78 and is tied for 35th.
Savard had trouble on the greens all day and could only convert one putt out of five consecutive birdie chances inside four feet on the front side.
I had it going early on, but I had a tough time coming in, said Savard, who double-bogeyed his final hole of the day. The putter just let me down today. I could have easily been 2 or 3-under, but thats the way it goes.
I think Im good for a 69 (Wednesday.)
Amateur standout Casey Wittenberg bogeyed his final two holes of the day to come in at 1-over. Wittenberg finished 13th at The Masters last spring, the best showing by an amateur in 41 years.
Once final round action has wrapped up Friday, the Canadian Tour will award exempt playing cards for the 2005 season to the low nine finishers with an additional nine players, plus ties, earning non-exempt status.
After weathering an early-morning fog delay that pushed back tee times 90 minutes, Sahl went out and tamed the 7,000-yard Black Bear Golf Club with six birdies that offset three bogeys. Playing the 537-yard, par 5 second hole, Sahl knocked his second shot to within twelve feet before two-putting for birdie.
That was a nice starting round for me, said Sahl. Give me three more like that, and Ill be all right.
Sahl was a member of Canadas Four Nations Cup squad in 2001, a team that also featured rising Canadian stars David Hearn and Jon Mills, but hasnt had much success as a pro, failing to keep his card in his 2002 rookie season. While at Kent State University, Sahl was teammates with Mills and 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis. Two summers ago, Sahl caddied for Curtis in a handful of PGA Tour events but did not make the trip across the pond with Curtis for the Open.
I learned a lot out there watching those guys, he added. It was a great learning experience for me, and it gave me my drive back for this game. I havent been in the hunt in a while, so it feels good to get that back. I feel comfortable out on the golf course right now.
Opening round scores from the 7,000-yard, par-72 Black Bear GC (A-denotes amateur):
Danny Sahl 69
Glenn Collins 70
Eddie Heinen 70
Joe Horowitz 70
John Humphries 70
McNally. Michael 70
Billy Zihala 70
Scott McNeil 71
Justin Snelling 71
Chris Cureton 72
Brien Davis 72
Ryan Kings 72
Greg Martin 72
Jan Meierling 72
Brock Mulder 72
Gavin Ferlic 73
Chad Lydiatt 73
Mac McLeod 73
Casey Wittenberg 73
Matt Deschaine 74
Billy Dickenson 74
Pedro Park 74
Jim Seki 74
Jesse Smith 74
Jesse Hibler 75
Lynn Kilduff 75
Justin Sherriff 75
JJ Williams 75
Ian Hogg 76
Michael Hospodar 76
Yuji Makino 76
Jeffery Ryan 76
Scott Noble 77
Adrian Parker 77
Kelly Berger 78
Ron Hoenig 78
Juan Pablo Ibarreche 78
Evan Johnstone 78
Robert Kennedy 78
Michael Petrie 78
Marc (A) Savard 78
Rob Sitterley 78
Dan Cook 79
Brett Peterson 79
Scott Yopchick 79
Michael Brown 81
Bret Guetz 81
Jerry Heinz 81
Shane Tripp 84
Matt (A) Yarvi 85
Jordan Totten 94
Dan Johnson W/D
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.
Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders
PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.
Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.
Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.
Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC
PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.
With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.
After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.
“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”
It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.
Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.
“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”
Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.
Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.
“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”
Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).
Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.
“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”
Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.
“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”
Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.