Hurst Miyazato Lead Wie a Shot Back

By Sports NetworkJune 10, 2006, 4:00 pm
McDonaldHAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- Pat Hurst struggled with her putter on Saturday, but still managed an even-par 72 and is tied for the 54-hole lead with tour rookie Ai Miyazato at the LPGA Championship. Miyazato shot a 3-under 69 and joined Hurst at 7-under-par 209.
Michelle Wie, who unsuccessfully tried to qualify for the U.S. Open earlier in the week, birdied her last for a 1-under 71. She is tied for third place with Shi Hyun Ahn and Mi Hyun Kim, both of whom shot 71 in round three, at minus-6.
Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa is in search of her first major championship.
Wie, much like Hurst, had her woes with the flat stick on Saturday. She missed par putts inside 3 feet at the third and fifth holes, but no missed putt was more shocking than the one on the par-3 17th.
The 16-year-old hit a decent tee shot to 30 feet and Wie lagged her birdie putt inside 2 feet. She lipped out her par putt, but got it back with a 15-foot birdie putt at the last as she tries to walk off with her first victory on the LPGA Tour.
'It was very up-and-down and very frustrating,' admitted Wie. 'I felt like I was playing great. A couple of missed tee shots, but I felt like I was playing very solidly.'
One player who was not playing solidly on Saturday was three-time defending champion Annika Sorenstam. The Swede picked up a two-shot penalty on the second hole for improperly moving a piece of a divot.
All totaled, Sorenstam finished with a 3-over 75 and is part of a group tied for 23rd place at 1-under-par 215.
'I hit some bad shots, there's no doubt about it, but I also think I hit some good ones,' said Sorenstam. 'And then on top of that some silly mistakes. You just can't afford that in major championships, or really any tournament, I would say.'
If Sorenstam is to catch the leaders, she'll need an amazing final round on Sunday. If Hurst's putter did not let her down, this could have been a race for second place.
Hurst was two shots ahead through much of the front nine as Bulle Rock played more difficulty, thanks to wind. At the par-4 ninth, Hurst hit her second 25 feet short of the stick, but missed the putt and had 3 feet left for par. Hurst's par putt lipped out and ran 5 feet past the hole. She missed that as well for a four-putt double bogey.
She was now tied for the lead with Miyazato, who moved up the leaderboard thanks to three birdies on her front side. All players cooled off on the second nine and Hurst's putter was to blame.
Hurst missed a 6-foot birdie putt at the 10th, a 12-footer at the 12th, then came up almost 4 feet short in her 20-foot birdie putt at the 13th. At the 14th, Hurst's approach nearly hit the flagstick, but she missed the putt coming back from 12 feet for birdie.
Miyazato dropped a shot at the 14th, but reclaimed the lost shot at the 17th. She hit a 5-iron to 5 feet to set up birdie and parred the last to get into the clubhouse at minus-7.
Hurst again hit a spectacular iron shot to 4 feet at 15, but badly pushed her putt. She hit an errant second shot at the 16th, but saved par, keeping her tied with Miyazato and one ahead of Wie.
Wie, who was even at the turn, only recorded one birdie on the back side, a tap-in at the par-5 11th. She made some nice saves along the back nine, but her bogey at 17 cost her a share of the lead after she birdied No. 18.
Hurst had a 6-footer at the last to move one clear of Miyazato, but missed that putt right.
Now the stage is set for a Sunday battle with 17 players within four shots of the lead. Hurst is the only golfer in the top-5 with a major (1998 Kraft Nabisco Championship), but come Sunday, any of these young players could rise to the occasion.
'You take it one shot at a time and that's what I've been doing,' said Hurst. 'I just felt really relaxed out there today and I think the Solheim Cup has a lot to do with that.'
Miyazato burst on to the golf scene with a huge win at last year's Qualifying School. Now she's in position to become a major champion and in a familiar position. Last week, she led with one round to go at the Jersey shore and came up short.
'You just have to take it step by step and just because last week you were doing really well, it doesn't really change overnight or the following week,' said Miyazato, who ended up tying for 13th at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. 'And I just need to stay concentrated on my game.'
Wie would become the youngest major winner in history if she can hoist the trophy on Sunday. With her fairly strong play at the U.S. Open qualifier, Wie is ready for the final round.
'I'm very confident about my game and tomorrow I want to just shoot a really good score and see what happens,' said Wie.
Lorena Ochoa, the tour's leading money winner, posted a 1-under 71 and is tied with 2002 champion Se Ri Pak (71) and Jee Young Lee (70). The trio finished 54 holes at 5-under-par 211.
Nabisco Championship winner Karrie Webb (72), Meena Lee (69), Minea Blomqvist (70), Sherri Steinhauer (71) and Silvia Cavalleri (72) are knotted in ninth place at minus-4.
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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – 

    Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    ''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

    ''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

    ''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

    Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

    ''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

    The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

    ''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

    Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

    ''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

    The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

    ''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

    He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

    Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

    ''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

    Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

    ''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.