Kang Leads Big Names in Kingsmill

By Sports NetworkMay 6, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Michelob Ultra Light OpenWILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Soo-Yun Kang fired a 6-under-par 65 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the Michelob Ultra Open at the River Course at Kingsmill Golf Club.
 
Helen Alfredsson and Dorothy Delasin share second place after opening with 5-under-par 66s. Kim Saiki is alone in fourth place at 4-under-par 67.
 
Annika Sorenstam, the No. 1 player in the world, opened with a 2-under-par 69 and is tied for 11th place.
 
Michelle Wie, the 14-year-old amateur star who took fourth at the season's first major, the Nabisco Championship, shot a first-round, 1-over-par 72 and is part of a group tied for 46th.
 
'I think I played okay,' said Wie. 'It wasn't a great round. It wasn't a terrible round. It was just an okay round. I wasn't playing that good and I was really proud of myself because I kind of hung in there.'
 
Kang started on the back nine at Kingsmill and knocked a wedge to tap-in range to set up birdie at the 11th. At the par-3 13th, Kang hit a 7-iron left and made bogey.
 
The miscue at the 13th would be Kang's last of the round. She took advantage of the par-5 15th when her third stopped 3 feet from the hole. Kang sank the short birdie putt and made the turn at 1 under par.
 
Kang parred the first two holes of her second nine but rebounded at the par-5 third. Her third landed 4 feet from the stick and she holed the putt, then picked up back-to-back birdies at four when she drained a 10-footer. Kang rattled off her third consecutive birdie at the fifth when her 7-iron nearly went in the cup but she settled for the tap-in birdie.
 
Kang, now one shot off the lead, ran home another short birdie putt at the par-5 seventh to tie Alfredsson and Delasin in first. Kang took sole possession of the lead at the ninth, her 18th, when she rolled home a 10-foot birdie putt.
 
'I like this course,' said Kang, who missed the cut in last year's inaugural event. 'Today, everything was matching. I got the feeling after the Takefuji for putting and short game. I am playing good.'
 
Alfredsson made only seven pars on Thursday, as she mixed eight birdies and three bogeys in her round.
 
Alfredsson took some time off last season to evaluate the status of her game. The Swede did not have the desire as in years past but Alfredsson thinks the layoff ultimately did her good.
 
'It was a lot of fun today actually. I hit the fairways, as you need to do around here,' said Alfredsson. 'I started with a new coach. You try to work a little bit more long-term and I really like him and he's close where I live in Orlando. I had fun going there and I had fun because I felt like it was getting better.'
 
Delasin collected three birdies before her first bogey at the 16th, her seventh of the round. She added three more birdies before joining Alfredsson in a share of second place.
 
Kim Williams, Carin Koch, Juli Inkster, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Christina Kim and Michele Redman are knotted in fifth place after opening rounds of 3-under-par 68.
 
Grace Park, who won the Nabisco Championship in late March and captured this title last year, matched Wie in a share of 46th place at 1-over-par 72.
 
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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.