Kerr Claims Share of State Farm Lead

By Sports NetworkSeptember 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 State Farm ClassicSPRINGFIELD, Ill. ' Cristie Kerr fired an 8-under 64 Friday to join Maria Hjorth atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the State Farm Classic at The Rail Golf Course.
Hjorth, who led by one after the first round, carded a 5-under 67 to join Kerr at 12-under-par 132. Il Mi Chung posted a 66 to move into third place at minus-11.
Nina Reis (68) and Seon-Hwa Lee (67) share fourth place at 10-under-par 134. Erica Blasberg, Sophie Gustafson and Young Kim are two strokes further back at minus-8.
Lorena Ochoa, who stands on atop the tour's money list, shares ninth at 7-under-par 137. The Mexican was even-par through 12 holes with a birdie and a bogey. Ochoa birdied the fourth and seventh to end at minus-7.
Women's world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam, who was paired with Ochoa for the first two rounds, is one stroke further back at minus-6 and she is tied for 12th. She birdied the 10th, but gave that stroke back as she bogeyed the 16th for the second day in a row.
Sorenstam atoned for that error with a birdie on 17. Around the turn, she climbed the leaderboard with birdies on four, five and eight.
Kerr started on the back nine and knocked a sand-wedge to 12 feet at the 10th. She rolled in that putt, then chipped to 2 feet at the 12th and knocked that in to move to minus-6.
The 28-year-old birdied the 14th, then drained a 35-footer for birdie on 16. After four straight pars around the turn, Kerr sank a 7-foot birdie effort on the third.
Kerr, who was paired with Ochoa and Sorenstam, came right back on No. 4 as she got up and down for birdie from right of the putting surface. She collected back-to-back birdies from the sixth to move to minus-12.
'I didn't hit it very well on Thursday, frankly,' stated Kerr. 'I've been working on some things with my coach and that helped my ball-striking today. I putted well too.'
Hjorth got off to a fast start with birdies on one and two, both from inside 8 feet. She got up and down for birdie on the par-5 fifth, then drained a 15-footer for birdie on No. 5.
The Swede missed the green at the par-3 seventh and tripped to a bogey that dropped her to minus-10. Hjorth traded a birdie for bogey from the 12th.
Hjorth got back to minus-11 thanks to a birdie on the par-4 14th. She dropped her approach 6 feet from the cup at the 17th and converted that birdie try to join Kerr in the lead.
'I did not hit the as well today as I did on Thursday,' Hjorth admitted. 'But I also made a few putts that were a little bit longer. I'm really looking forward to going out there with a share of the lead. It's going to be fun.'
Ochoa was joined in ninth by Kyeong Bae and Julieta Granada. Sorenstam shares 12th with Angela Stanford, Lee Ann Walker-Cooper, Tracy Hanson, Brittany Lang and Annie Young.
The cut line fell at 1-under-par 143 with 70 players moving on to the weekend. Among those missing the cut was 2005 champion Pat Hurst.
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.