Kerr Overcomes Final-Round 75 to Notch First Win

By Sports NetworkApril 21, 2002, 4:00 pm
Cristie Kerr survived a three-over 75 in Sunday's final round to win the Longs Drugs Challenge by one stroke over Hee-Won Han of Korea. The 24-year-old Kerr led wire-to-wire at Twelve Bridges Golf Club for her breakthrough victory on the LPGA Tour.
'I certainly made it interesting,' said Kerr, who blew a five-shot overnight lead but hung on to triumph with a four-day total of eight-under- par 280.
Kerr bounced back from a poor start that cut into her big lead by rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt at the 11th for a three-shot advantage at 10-under par.
However, her five-iron tee shot found the left hazard at the par-three 15th. Following a penalty drop, she chipped onto the green and two- putted for a double-bogey five.
Meanwhile Han, playing in the group ahead at 16, sank a 10-footer for her third birdie of the round to tie Kerr for the top spot at eight-under. But Han pulled her drive at the par-four 18th then left her four-iron punch shot in the rough.
Han wedged her third to 40 feet and two-putted for a closing bogey and a round of two-under 70. Kerr managed to par her three remaining holes to wrap up her first win since joining the LPGA Tour in 1997, a span of 129 professional starts.
'It feels so great,' said Kerr, who earned a check for $135,000 to move into second place on the season money list with $295,606. 'I have been working hard a very long time and all I can say is that it pays off in the end.'
Kerr came into this week with 19 top-10s on her resume, including seven finishes in the top-three. With her long-awaited victory, she joined Laura Diaz as first-time winners on the 2002 LPGA Tour.
Diaz, another highly-touted young American golfer, finally broke into the winner's circle last month at the Welch's/Circle K Championship.
The 23-year-old Han, named the 2001 LPGA Rookie of the Year on the strength of her four finishes in the top 20 last year, recorded her career-best second-place finish.
'I am hoping for more opportunities like this,' Han said.
Third-year player Heather Bowie jumped up the leaderboard early with an eagle at the par-five second, but made two bogeys and one birdie on the back nine to complete a 71. She finished third at six-under 282 alongside Australian veteran Jane Crafter, who shot an even-par 72.
Crafter birdied the third and sixth holes to draw to within one shot of her playing partner Kerr, who suffered three-putt bogeys at the fifth and seventh to slip to nine-under. Crafter then bogeyed the eighth to give Kerr a two-shot lead at the turn.
Although Crafter fell out of contention with a one-over-par back nine, Han seemed up to the challenge with three birdies in a stretch of eight holes. She knocked an eight-iron to two feet to birdie the ninth, a six- iron to 20 feet for birdie at the 13th, then tied the lead with her six-iron to 10 feet at 16.
In the end, it was her poor final drive under pressure that was difference.
'This is my best finish at an LPGA tournament and it's good experience,' Han said.
Grace Park fired a seven-under 65 -- the low round of this year's tournament -- to tie for fifth with Mi Hyun Kim (73) at four-under 284. Vicki Goetze- Ackerman (71) finished alone in seventh place at minus-three.
Defending champion Se Ri Pak (71) helped round out the top-10 with Carin Koch (67), Marnie McGuire (69) and two-time Longs Drugs winner Juli Inkster (74) at two-under par.
Full field scores from the Longs Drugs Challenge
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.