Ellis Has Trouble Over Her Shoulder

By Sports NetworkAugust 24, 2002, 4:00 pm
KUTZTOWN, Pa.-- Michelle Ellis, a runner-up the last two weeks on the LPGA Tour, fired a 7-under 65 Saturday en route to establishing a new 54-hole record at the Betsy King Classic. Her three-day total of 15-under-par 201 broke the previous mark by one stroke and gives her a two-shot lead over Women's British Open champion Karrie Webb.
 
Kelly Robbins (65), Angela Stanford (66) and Se Ri Pak (66) share third place at 12-under-par 204.
 
Ellis played steady at the start of her round with five pars but dropped a shot at the par-3 sixth when she three-putted.
 
The sixth would be the last mistake hole for Ellis. At the eighth, she knocked her second shot to two feet to set up birdie and closed the front side at Berkleigh Country Club with a seven-footer for birdie at No. 9.
 
Ellis continued her birdie run on the second nine as she hit a 9-iron to six feet at the 10th and added another with a seven-foot birdie putt at 11. She used an 8-iron off the tee at the 135-yard 12th and ran home the 15-footer for her fifth consecutive birdie.
 
'The front nine, I don't know why, is not set up for me,' said the 26-year-old Australian. 'After that I am more confident. On the par-3s I am very confident with the clubs in my hand and the tee shots there. And that is how it has been in the past couple weeks with the par-3s.'
 
Ellis had one birdie tear left and it began at the 15th when she capitalized on another par-3. She hit a 6-iron to nine feet to set up birdie before a three-foot birdie at the par-5 16th. Ellis hit a wedge to eight feet at the 17th for her third straight birdie and took the 54-hole lead for the first time on the LPGA Tour.
 
Ellis shared second place two weeks ago at the Women's British Open, which Webb ended up winning. Last week was another joint second for Ellis at the Canadian Women's Open, but the former Futures Tour player is ready to earn her first victory on the LPGA Tour.
 
'I want to win as does everyone else out there, but this is my second year and I am going to learn a lesson,' said Ellis. 'I am going to do the best I can and if that is 7-under par or 4-over then that is it.'
 
Webb followed her second-round 65 with a 5-under 67 on Saturday. She was 2-under par on her front nine and continued to roll on the back, starting with a 15-foot birdie at the 10th. She drained a long birdie putt at the 13th hole and added an eight-foot birdie at 16 to get within striking distance of her third title of 2002.
 
'I'm pretty pleased with my round,' said Webb. 'It's hard to feel 67 is as good after a 65. I didn't hit it as well, but I did hit good iron shots. I tried to make putts, but I'm a couple shots out of lead, and it's still anyone's tournament.'
 
Danielle Ammaccapane, a co-leader after the second round, managed a 1-under 71 and is tied with Joanne Morley in sixth place. The duo stands at 10-under-par 206.
 
Wendy Doolan, the other co-leader with Ammaccapane, shot an even-par 72 and shares eighth place with Kelli Kuehne and Janice Moodie, who shot matching rounds of 67. The group is 9-under par.
 
Two of the LPGA Tour's young stars made moves up the leaderboard Saturday. Lorena Ochoa, who topped the Futures Tour money list to earn an LPGA Tour card for 2003, and Natalie Gulbis shot 66s in the third round and are part of a group tied for 11th at minus 8.
 

Full-field scores from Betsy King Classic
Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.