Diaz Takes Lead at Season Finale

By Sports NetworkNovember 20, 2003, 5:00 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Laura Diaz carded a 3-under-par 69 Thursday to grab the lead after the first round of the ADT Championship. Diaz owns a one-stroke lead over Lorie Kane.
Meg Mallon is the final player in red figures at 1-under-par 71. Michele Redman is one stroke further back at even-par 72, while Laura Davies, Se Ri Pak, Pat Hurst, Sophie Gustafson, and Karrie Webb share fifth place at 1-over-par 73.
Diaz stumbled out of the gate at Trump International Golf Club. She three-putted for bogey on the first hole, but battled back to birdie the third.
She moved to 1 under with a birdie on the sixth, then two-putted from 25 feet out for birdie at the ninth to climb to 2 under. However, she could not get up-and-down for par at the next and fell back to minus-1.
Diaz responded to her bogey quickly, dropping her 7-iron within three feet of the cup at the 11th to set up birdie. The two-time winner converted another three-footer for birdie at the 16th to finish at minus-3.
'I think it was our third time we both went out and tried to have a good time out there,' said Diaz of her pairing with good friend Heather Bowie. 'I managed to make a few birdies which I don't do very often on this golf course. I made a lot of good six-footers for par, which again, I have struggled with here. So it was just an all-around good day.'
Diaz, who has battled an ankle injury throughout the year, now plans on having surgery on the ankle in early December to relieve the pain and give her a chance to move ahead as a player.
'It has been a tough year for me. My ankle is definitely an issue,' said the 28-year-old Diaz. 'It's been a real mental challenge for me because I have seen my hard work pay off before. I can't work as hard now because I am in pain with my ankle, and yet I worked as hard as I could despite the pain and I wasn't seeing any of it pay off.'
Kane had bookend birdies on the front side at Nos. 1 and 9. She hit into some trees at the 12th and that led to her first bogey. She then came back with a two-putt birdie on No. 15, but stumbled to another bogey at the next.
Kane closed in style as she rolled home a 15-footer for birdie at the last to gain second place by herself.
'It is very difficult out there,' Kane said. 'I believe that the golf course, without the wind is tough. The finishing holes particularly on the backside are hard. And to factor in the wind, it makes it even that much more tougher.'
Annika Sorenstam, the defending champion, struggled horribly on the back nine. She stumbled to three consecutive bogeys on the back nine after playing the front side in 2 under. The Swede faltered farther with a double bogey on the 16th.
She closed with a birdie at the last for a round of 2-over-par 74. That score tied for her worst round of the year and placed her in a tie for 10th alongside Cristie Kerr, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Dorothy Delasin. Meunier-Lebouc is playing the event despite being more than five months pregnant.
Beth Daniel is one stroke further back at 3-over-par 75. Juli Inkster and Mi Hyun Kim head a group of eight players tied at plus-4.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.