Reid proud of effort in solo match against Japan

By Randall MellJuly 22, 2016, 10:36 pm

GURNEE, Ill. – England’s Mel Reid lost her match Friday at the UL International Crown, but she won a legion of new American fans with the fight she put up at the Merit Club.

About 45 minutes before she was going to tee off, Reid learned her team’s star, Charley Hull, was probably going to be too ill to play. Hull began feeling an asthma attack coming on Thursday at a sponsor dinner, and she woke the following morning feeling worse, struggling with her condition and a fever. Under a doctor’s advisement after arriving at the course, she pulled herself out of the fourball match against Japan.

That meant Reid was left to take on the Japanese in a best-ball format all by herself.

Reid is No. 123 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but this challenge would have been daunting for a top-10 player.

“I would say that I am best when I'm really under severe pressure, not just in golf but in life,” Reid said. “I've been under quite a lot of pressure in many situations, and I did see that today. I could have quite easily said, `You know what? I'm on my own. I know I'm not going to win.’ But there's something that switches inside of me, where when I'm under severe pressure, I tend to just turn it on.”

Reid showed that quality four years ago, in the toughest challenge of her life.

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Back in 2012, Reid’s parents were on their way to watch her play in the Ladies German Open when they were involved in a head-on car crash near Munich. Reid’s father, Brian, survived, but her mother, Joy, did not. She died of internal injuries a day after the crash.

Reid, 28 today, was devastated and struggled emotionally in the aftermath, but she also achieved one of the more remarkable triumphs in Ladies European Tour history. She won the Prague Masters a month after the accident.

Japan’s best fourball team, Haru Nomura and Mika Miyazato, defeated Reid, 1 up on Friday, but players who know Reid weren’t surprised she pushed them to the limit.

Remarkably, the match came down to a final shot, a final putt.

After Reid holed a 35-foot birdie at the 18th, Nomura had to hole a 5-footer for birdie to beat her.

“She was great,” Nomura said.

Reid has been challenged all year after being dealt another blow late last year.

A five-time LET winner, Reid felt ready to take her game to the LPGA. She was going to play her way through LPGA Q-School late last year, but she never got the chance. Her manager forgot to register her for Q-School before the deadline expired.

“I’m still not over that,” Reid said.

It says something about Reid that she has the same manager today.

Through Friday’s match, Reid felt the American-dominated galleries getting behind her quest. She didn’t sense they liked her too much Thursday, when she and Hull were teaming to beat Americans Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, but she felt all that change as she battled steep odds against the Japanese.

“Today, we seemed to get more and more fans as it went along,” Reid said. “I must say a huge thank you to them, because walking up a few of the holes, they were just amazing, everyone cheering me on. I needed that. I felt kind of on my own a little bit out there. But the crowds were amazing, and they really kept my spirits up.”

Reid was 2 down through 11 holes when she rolled in a 10-foot birdie at the 12th to move 1 down. At the 13th she electrified the gallery holing a lob wedge from 70 yards for eagle to square the match. She blistered the back nine in 6 under.

“It was a perfect challenge for Mel,” Hall of Famer Karrie Webb said. “She sometimes needs a little inspiration or a little motivation, and I think as soon as she knew she was on her own, it doesn't surprise me that she gave herself a chance to win the match.”

Reid has been struggling with her game this year, and she struggled Thursday in the opening round, but she found something in herself Friday to muster her best with the odds against her.

“I’m extremely proud of myself,” Reid said.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.