Kerr Outlasts Jeon in Playoff

By Sports NetworkApril 17, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Takefuji ClassicLAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Cristie Kerr parred the seventh extra hole Saturday to defeat Seol An Jeon and win the LPGA Takefuji Classic. Kerr, who bogeyed the 54th hole, closed with a 1-over 73.
 
Jeon shot a final-round 69 to tie Kerr at 7-under-par 209. Kerr, who held a four-stroke lead with six holes to play, had the title won in regulation, but missed a 3-foot par putt at the 18th to create the extra session.
 
On the seventh extra hole, No. 16 at Las Vegas Country Club, Jeon's tee ball found the right rough while Kerr was in the fairway. Both players battled swirling winds throughout the round and the wind caused Jeon to finally make a mistake.
 
She hit a 5-wood from 170 yards out and it flew the green and bounced some 30 yards behind the putting surface. Kerr knocked her second shot onto the right fringe.
 
Jeon tried to fly her third shot back onto the green, but her pitch caught a low hanging limb and came up short of the green. She then knocked her fourth some 50 feet past the pin.
 
Jeon rolled her fifth shot within 4 feet, but it did not matter. Kerr pitched her third to four feet and calmly rolled in the par putt for the win. The playoff was the second longest in LPGA Tour history behind only to the 10-hole extra session at the 1972 Corpus Christi Civitan Open, which was won by Jo Ann Prentice.
 
The first six extra holes were less than spectacular. Both golfers two-putted for par from within 20 feet on the first extra hole. Kerr seemed to have the advantage on the second extra hole, but only managed a par, which Jeon matched.
 
'It kind of turned into a match play situation,' Kerr said. 'You hit putts firmer than you would normally hit them and the Solheim Cup has really kind of given me a lot of experience. I would say that gave me a little edge.'
 
The duo each two-putted for par on the 16th from the right fringe to extend action to the 17th, the fourth playoff hole. There, Jeon rolled in a 15-footer for par before Kerr sank a 7-footer on top of that.
 
Jeon had a chance to win on No. 18 but her birdie try slid over the left edge and with two pars it was back to the 12th. Jeon again missed on the left side giving Kerr the life she needed as Jeon would struggle on the 16th, the final playoff hole.
 
Kerr had parred the first eight holes of regulation to remain clear of the field. She got up-and-down for birdie on the ninth to move to minus-9. She came back with a birdie at the next. Kerr drained a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 12 to move four strokes clear of the field.
 
Things started to go downhill from there. She knocked her second over the green and into a bunker on 13 and that led to a bogey. At the par-3 14th, her tee ball came up short and she was unable to save par there.
 
'I played really, really well until the 13th hole,' said Kerr, who picked up $165,000 for the win. 'I think I got a really bad gust of wind and I hit it solid. I hit it in the worst possible spot. I made a critical 15-footer for bogey there.'
 
Kerr lost her tee shot right off the 15th and that led to her third straight bogey and dropped her into a share of the lead with Jeon, who had birdied the 13th.
 
Jeon bogeyed the next, however, to give Kerr the lead back. However, Kerr was unable to convert her short par-saving putt at the last and the bogey forced the extra holes.
 
'I had a lot of fun out there,' Jeon said. 'I missed some putts and she missed some putts. I learned a lot from Cristie. She is a good player.'
 
For Kerr the win was just her second in seven tries when taking the lead to the final round.
 
'You know, I finished second in my career probably eight times and maybe three of those times I had leads going into the back nine where I faltered and I lost the tournament,' said Kerr. 'But I think knowing that that can happen, but I can still win, is going to be a big thing for me going into the future.'
 
Gloria Park fired a 5-under 67 to climb into third place at 6-under-par 210. Mi Hyun Kim carded a closing 70 to finish one shot behind Park.
 
Heather Daly-Donofrio, who played in the final group, ended at 4-under-par 212 alone in fifth place. That was her best finish since tying for seventh twice in the 2002 season.
 
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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

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    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."


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    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."