Hansen Moves Out Front

By Sports NetworkOctober 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
HILVERSUM, Netherlands -- Soren Hansen posted a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead of the Dutch Open. He stands at 11-under-par 199 and owns a one-shot lead over Marten Lafeber, who matched the lowest round of the tournament with a third-round 64.
Jamie Donaldson and Gary Murphy each carded rounds of 3-under 67 on Saturday to share third place at 9-under-par 201.
Hansen did nothing on the front nine but collect his second bogey in three rounds at the par-4 fourth hole. It was his play on the back nine that sent the Denmark native to the top of the leaderboard.
He birdied the 10th and 12th holes to get within two shots of Lafeber, who was already in the clubhouse at 10 under par. Hansen drained a 25-footer for birdie at the 14th and added another long birdie putt at the next hole to match Lafeber in first.
Hansen used an iron off the tee at the short par-4 17th and knocked his approach to inches. He tapped in for birdie and went to the par-5 closing hole at Hilversumsche Golf Club with a chance at a two-shot lead and a 29 on the back side.
At the 18th, Hansen found the fairway off the tee and had a good chance of reaching the green with his second. That approach sailed right and found a greenside bunker. Hansen had very little green to work with and blasted out to 10 feet. The putt was never on line and instead Hansen settled for a one-shot lead.
'The putts were dropping on the back nine and they weren't on the front nine, and that was the difference really,' said Hansen. 'Today, driving was so easy for me. If you do that around here on this course, you're doing fine.'
Hansen broke through with his first victory at last year's Irish Open and it looked like bigger things were ahead. But in 2003, Hansen has only collected two top-10s, but is in a good position for his first trip to the winner's circle this year.
'It has been a strange year as I have put myself in contention a lot of times and then dropped back,' admitted Hansen. 'It has been painful sometimes but you learn from your mistakes and I am a little closer to where I was last year in the summer. My game is slowly turning around and the second win will be lovely. If it doesn't happen tomorrow I am sure it will in the future.'
Lafeber had the opposite round of Hansen on Saturday as he flew out of the gate with back-to-back birdies at one and two. He added four birdies in a five-hole span from the sixth but fell from there.
Lafeber squandered chances for birdie at the par-5 12th and a short putt at the 15th. He did not take advantage of the par-5 closing hole but matched the lowest round of the tournament with a 6-under 64.
'I parred the last eight holes but I hoped to pick one or two shots, especially on the 12th and 18th,' said Lafeber, who has a chance to become the first home winner of the Dutch Open since Joop Ruhl in 1947.
Lafeber is still in search of his first win on the European Tour and where better than his home country.
'It would be huge to win tomorrow especially as it would be my first win and as a pro you want to win your home tournament,' said Lafeber. 'But it will be a long day tomorrow and there are a lot of guys behind me so it will be an interesting day. What I wanted today was to give myself a chance for tomorrow, which I have done.'
Fredrik Andersson eagled the last hole to shoot a 1-under 69 and is tied for fifth with Steen Tinning (69), Nicolas Colsaerts (66) and David Park (67) at minus-8.
Fredrik Widmark, the overnight leader, was 7 over par after his first 11 holes but collected two birdies on the way into the clubhouse. He shot a 5-over 75 and is part of a group tied for 25th place at 4-under-par 206.
Related Links:
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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.