Kim on Fire at State Farm

By Sports NetworkSeptember 3, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 State Farm Classic SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Christina Kim posted a 6-under 66 on Friday to cruise to a four-shot lead midway through the State Farm Classic at The Rail Golf Course.
Kim opened the tournament with a course-record-tying, 10-under 62 on Thursday and now put her name further into the tournament's record book. Her 36-hole total of 16-under-par 128 smashed the former record by three strokes. Laura Davies established the old mark in 1994 and was later equaled by Annika Sorenstam in 2001, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc in 2002 and by Candie Kung last year.
'I just know it could have been better,' said Kim. 'I was not really feeling anything today. I just hit ball after ball. I was noticing how many under I was and who was on the leaderboard. That's definitely why I didn't shoot another 62 today.'
Cristie Kerr missed matching the course record by a single shot on Friday. She fired a 9-under 63 and is alone in second place at 12-under-par 132.
Jennifer Rosales shot a 7-under 65 in the second round and is in third at minus-11, followed by Suzann Pettersen, who shot her second 67 in as many days. Petterssen is alone in fourth place at 10-under-par 134.
Kim parred her first two holes then hit a 9-iron to 12 feet to set up birdie at the third. She collected her second birdie in a row at four, but it should have been eagle as she two-putted from 2 feet.
Kim ran home a pair of 15-foot birdie putts at seven and eight to extend her lead. At the 10th, Kim hit a sandwedge to 8 feet and drained the birdie putt. She hit a 5-iron to 10 feet at the par-3 11th and made that birdie to pull well ahead of the field.
She kept rolling with birdies at 14 when her eight-iron approach stopped 16 feet from the hole. Kim converted that birdie putt and LPGA Tour scoring records looked to be in jeopardy.
But, at the par-5 15th, Kim hit her drive left. It took two punch shots to get her back into play and she wedged her fourth to 23 feet. Kim took two putts for a bogey, then parred out to still have a commanding lead in pursuit of her first win on the LPGA Tour.
'I'm just here focusing on the moment,' said Kim. 'I'm not the kind of person that sits and mulls things over. There are so many things that can happen in a round that a fraction of a second can change winning to losing.'
Kerr wasted little time in breaking into red figures. She sank a 9-foot birdie putt at the first, then collected a pair of 5-foot birdie putts at four and seven to make the turn at 3 under.
Kerr, a two-time winner this season, caught fire on the back nine. She holed a 4-foot birdie putt at the 10th, and made it back-to-back birdies with a 9-footer at No. 11.
She reached the green with a 7-iron at the par-5 15th and made the eagle putt. Kerr knocked her 6-iron tee shot to three inches at the par-3 16th and kicked in the birdie putt. She then hit a 9-iron to four feet to set up birdie at the last and match her career low round on the LPGA Tour.
'It was a really good back nine for me,' said Kerr, who shot 63 four times before Friday, including the third round of this year's Women's British Open. 'I had some good holes. I have to play my own game, and approach the next two days like I approached the last two days.'
Rosales, who held the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Women's Open, started on the back nine Friday and tallied three birdies in her first four holes. She missed the green with her second shot at the par-5 15th, but chipped to 8 feet and holed the putt for birdie. Rosales made it two in a row with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th.
Rosales hit a spectacular approach to the first that stopped a foot from the hole. She two-putted for birdie from 18 feet at the fourth, but found trouble later in her round.
At the par-3 seventh, Rosales hit a 5-iron into a greenside bunker. She blasted out to 10 feet, but missed the par save. Rosales reclaimed the lost stroke one hole later with a 12-foot birdie putt.
'I didn't have any fives on the scorecard today, so I'm happy about that,' said Rosales. 'I've put myself in a good position, so I'm pretty happy about that.'
Lorena Ochoa, who won last week's Wachovia LPGA Classic, shot a 5-under 67 and is tied for fifth place with Mikaela Parmlid (71), Chris Johnson (65) and Hee-Won Han (66). That group came in at 9-under-par 135.
Kung, who went on to victory in last year's event, carded a 3-under 69 and shares ninth place at minus-8 with Young-A Yang (67), Marcy Hart (68), Laura Diaz (71) and Candy Hannemann (68).
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-under-par 143 and among the notable players who made the cut on the number are: Davies, Se Ri Pak, Carin Koch, Aree Song and Natalie Gulbis.
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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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 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.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    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."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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."