Blomqvist quite the character

By Randall MellJune 24, 2011, 7:40 pm

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – When Minea Blomqvist’s name hit the leaderboard at the Wegmans LPGA Championship Friday, the tournament storylines took some crazy twists and turns.

They turned to Minnie Mouse, Elmo, Scrooge and Donald Duck, and Blomqvist’s humorous Finnish family connections to cartoon characters.

After posting back-to-back 3-under-par 69s to move into contention, Blomqvist detailed how the challenges of rebuilding her game weren’t really related to becoming a first-time mom a little more than a year ago.

But the mention of motherhood set off a colorful tale.

Blomqvist’s 14-month-old son is named Elmo Aku Kakko.

Elmo, of course, is the name of the popular character on the children’s show Sesame Street.

Aku is Finnish for Donald Duck.

“He was born on March 31,” Blomqvist explained. “It’s Donald Duck’s birthday.”

Blomqvist’s boyfriend is a European Tour pro named Roope Kakko.

The name Roope is the Finnish version of Uncle Scrooge in Donald Duck.

Blomqvist, 26, said it made for a comical delivery of her son with family and friends hopeful the baby would be born on Donald Duck’s birthday. With the clock nearing 10 p.m., Blomqvist said pressure mounted.

“It’s Donald Duck’s birthday, try to get it out!” Blomqvist recalled hearing.

Blomqvist literally delivered.

“I couldn’t believe I heard that,” Blomqvist said. 'It's actually funny.'

What would she have named the baby had it been born a girl?

“Iines,” Blomqvist said. “That’s Donald Duck’s girlfriend’s name.”

Backing up, Blomqvist’s son isn’t actually named after the Muppet Elmo. He’s named after a fictional Finnish sports hero who wins everything.

“I told my American caddie that we are going with the name Elmo,” Blomqvist said. “He said, `No, you can’t, that’s kind of a funny name here.’ So, I didn’t even know. When I found out, I’ve been buying all the Elmos [Muppet toys]. I’ve spent thousands of Euros to buy all the Elmos.”

Blomqvist was asked if her son has red hair.

“No, maybe we should color it,” she said. “He has sticky hair. It sticks up.”

Blomqvist’s own name brings to mind Mickey Mouse’s girlfriend as her friends call her “Minni.”

With her unexpected run this week, Blomqvist brought a blast of fresh air to the LPGA Championship. She’s delightfully good humored and candid and totally not self conscious. The Rochester area home where Blomqvist is staying this week learned that quickly. She’s staying with a police officer and his family.

Back at the police station, the officer’s colleagues did a Google search to see exactly who Blomqvist is.

“If you Google ‘Minea Blomqvist,’ you get my bra pictures,” Blomqvist said.

When Blomqvist joined the Wilhelmina 7 agency, she did a modeling gig. Thus, the photos.

“So all of the boys [at the police station] were watching my scores,” Blomqvist said.

On the serious side of her game, Blomqvist is encouraged by the work she’s doing rebuilding her game with swing coach Kevin Smeltz. She’s won two Ladies European Tour events in her career, but nothing since 2008. She’s made just one cut in five LPGA starts this year and missed the cuts in all seven of her LPGA starts last year. She’s playing the tour off the priority list 11 category.

“I’m happy with a 3-under,” Blomqvist said. “I had been struggling, but the last three weeks I’ve been slowly getting better.”

With her sense of humor, with her colorful personality, that’s a good thing for the tour.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

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 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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

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.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

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.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.