An indelible lesson

By Randall MellJuly 8, 2011, 10:32 pm

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Danielle Kang was feeling unsteady.

The 18-year-old amateur’s stomach was churning.

Matched with world No. 1 Yani Tseng and U.S. Women’s Open defending champion Paula Creamer Friday at The Broadmoor, Kang’s heart was thumping hard on the first tee with more fans than she had ever played in front of lining the ropes.

“I was really nervous,” Kang said.

But you wouldn’t have known it.

“She didn’t look intimidated to me at all,” said her caddie, Paulton Grayson. “She seemed focused all day long.”

That’s a funny thing, because Kang, the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, said she was a little bit more of a spectator than she usually is in a round of tournament golf.

“I just wanted to learn what they do on the course,” said Kang, who's from San Francisco. “Obviously, I wanted to play well, but I wanted to watch how they play.”

What did she learn?

“They are very patient and steady,” Kang said. “They don’t make little mistakes; things I do.”

Actually, Kang didn’t make many mistakes in the first round. She looked like she belonged with the best players in the world in their marquee first-round pairing. Kang split the first fairway, stiffed her approach to 15 feet and made par while Creamer and Tseng both opened with bogeys.

By round's end, Kang’s 1-over-par 72 equaled Creamer’s opening score and was a shot better than Tseng’s.

Kang relished matching shots with her accomplished fellow competitors. The largest galleries at The Broadmoor were in tow.

“I loved it,” Kang said. “There were so many people. I wanted to take a picture, but I can’t take my phone out.”

Kang’s nerves settled quickly with Tseng engaging her early in some banter. Kang loved that.

“I’m really talkative,” Kang said. “For me not to talk, it’s really hard. For her to talk to me was really nice.”

With Creamer a less chatty player, Tseng welcomed the banter as much as Kang.

“Oh yeah, Yani likes to chat,” said Jason Hamilton, Tseng’s caddie. “I think there’s a little bit of release of tension in talking.”

Kang said Tseng talked about family, about Kang’s situation, her plans for turning pro.

“She was really cool,” Kang said.

Kang’s plans, by the way, don’t include returning to Pepperdine University for her junior year. She’s going to play the Ricoh Women’s British Open in three weeks, defend her title at the U.S. Women’s Amateur next month and then turn professional.

Based on the way she handled the nerves and pressure in Friday’s pairing, Kang looks more than ready for the leap.

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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 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.


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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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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.