Wie off to solid start at LPGA Q-School

By Rex HoggardDecember 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' They gathered in the early morning chill to see greatness wrapped around a fearless youngster, but that show was playing a golf course away. Instead, the huddled masses that awoke before dawn were treated to a textbook, if not tactically superior, round by a relaxed teen working at three-quarter speed.
 

Wie Watch ' LPGA Q-School

Round 1
 
Score:
69 (-3); five strokes behind first-round leader Shiho Oyama.
 
Behind the scorecard: Wies ballstriking was nearly flawless on Day 1, with the teen missing just five fairways and four greens on the more-demanding Legends Course at LPGA International. If there was room for improvement it would be on the layouts slick greens. Wie needed 30 putts on Wednesday, including a sloppy three-putt from 18 feet at the 14th hole.
 
Quotable: She was really looking forward to this. Most people are like, Oh no, Q-School. But she has been really relaxed and excited about getting a chance to compete again, said David Leadbetter, Wies longtime swing coach.
 
Sight and sounds: A one-hour frost delay postponed Wies march to a tour card and a round that stretched past five hours made the day seem even longer. So long, in fact, that Wies threesome was placed on the clock for slow play after the 12th hole.
 


The fireworks those curious souls who lined the first tee on LPGA Internationals Legends Course early Wednesday to watch Michelle Wie begin her quest for an LPGA card were awaiting would come, but on a different golf course and courtesy a different phenom.
 
Those pyrotechnics were delivered by Japan wunderkind Shiho Oyama who scorched the statistically easier Champions Course to the tune of 8-under 64 in relative obscurity to take the first-round lead at LPGA Q-School.
 
What those who braved the chill to watch Wie got was Q-School 101, a middle-of-the-fairway, take-no-chances exhibition that is not what the golf world has come to expect from the former world-beater-in-waiting but exactly what the Fall Classic demands.
 
Pretty simple really, said David Leadbetter, Wies longtime swing coach. The big thing this week is not to make mistakes. That will kill you at Q-School and she only made one (mistake) today.
 
The recipe for Q-School success may not be sexy, but it is efficient.
 
For the day, Wie hit just four drivers on the 6,473-yard layout, missed just nine fairways, most of which by less than 2 yards, and four greens on her way to an opening 69 and a tie for sixth in her quest to finish inside the top 20 after five rounds and end her vagabond, professional existence.
 
Although Wie declined to talk with the media after her round, her play spoke volumes.
 
Following a sloppy three-putt bogey at the 14th hole from 18 feet, Wie played the final four holes in 2 under (birdie-par-par-birdie). She capped her day with a 25 footer for birdie at the 18th that prompted a high-five with caddie Tim Vickers.
 
Theres no point looking at leaderboards here, youre really just chasing a score, said Leadbetter, who estimated his star pupil would need five rounds near 70 to earn a tour card.
 
For much of the day the 19 year old was nearly flawless, missing birdie putts from 12, 8 and 20 feet at her first three holes before getting into red numbers on the par-4 fifth after hitting her approach shot to 2 feet. The birdie, however, wasnt even good enough to earn Wie a skin, as fellow competitor Alison Walshe dropped her approach into the cup for an eagle-2.
 
For the rest of the day it was all Michelle, all the time.
 
Even Oyama, who began her day with a 5-under 31 on her first nine holes, played her round with virtually no fanfare. She was followed on the leaderboard by Japanese amateur Mika Miyazato, whose bogey-free 66 also featured an opening nine of 31. Both rounds came on the more user-friendly Champions layout.
 
I could be more aggressive, said Miyazato of the Champions Course which gave up three of the 17 lowest cards on Day 1. The Legends is more narrow and tight, so maybe that course I will try to play a little safer.
 
Wie seemed less concerned with safe play as she was with control. Despite morning temperatures that delayed the start of play by about an hour, Wie plodded her way around the pine-lined layout thanks to three-quarter swings and sawed-off follow throughs.
 
Truth is, if not for a frosty putter Wie would have exceeded her high-profile swing coaches expectations.
 
Thats as good as Ive ever seen her hit it, said Leadbetter, who spent the week before Q-School working with Wie at ChampionsGate in Orlando. She has really been looking forward to this.
 
After her opening effort, the central Florida galleries are likely looking forward to Wie getting her turn on the Champions Course on Day 2. And getting her chance to be aggressive.
 

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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.