Kim Takes Commanding Lead Over Big Names

By Sports NetworkJune 22, 2002, 4:00 pm
Pittsford, NY - Mi Hyun Kim used her second straight five- under 67 to move out to a commanding lead after Saturday's third round of the Wegmans Rochester LPGA at Locust Hill Country Club. The diminutive Korean topped the leaderboard at 13-under 203, five shots ahead of Karrie Webb.
'My shots were going straight every time,' said the 5-foot-1 Kim, who's made just one bogey the last two days and was the only player in the field to post three rounds in the 60s. 'I'll try to do my best tomorrow.'
Webb, the champion here in 1999, was three-over for the day late on the back nine but birdied the last three holes to salvage an even-par 72.
'I just didn't do enough right,' said the 27-year-old Australian, who has won 26 times on the LPGA Tour but is so far winless in 2002. 'I have to play well or I don't have a chance.'
Kim, tied for the overnight lead with Webb at eight-under par, set up short birdie putts at the first and sixth holes with 11-wood approaches. She pitched to eight feet and rolled in the putt to pick up another stroke at the par-five eighth, then climbed to 12-under with a 20-footer for birdie at the ninth.
Meanwhile, Webb, playing alongside Kim, missed both the fairway and the green in regulation at the par-five fourth, then failed to get up and down to save par. She negated the bogey with a 15-foot birdie putt at the eighth but found herself four behind Kim at the turn.
Webb threatened to fall completely off the radar screen with three bogeys in four holes to start the homeward stretch at Locust Hill. She dropped a shot after hitting into a greenside bunker at the 10th, then posted back-to-back bogeys at 12 and 13, both the result of missed fairways.
Webb managed a late rally thanks to her wedge game. She birdied the 16th after knocking a sand wedge to six feet. At the par-five 17th, Webb came up short of the green but chipped close for another birdie, then made it three in a row with a wedge approach to three feet at the last.
Kim, who suffered her lone bogey after an errant drive at the 13th, notched birdies at the 16th and 17th to keep well ahead of the pack.
The 25-year-old from Seoul is in the midst of her fourth season on the LPGA Tour. She won twice in 1999 and was named Rookie of the Year, then added another title in 2000. Kim came up empty last season despite finishing second three times.
Last week Kim tied for second at the Evian Masters in France, her third top- five finish in 11 starts this year.
Kim owns 11 titles on the Korean LPGA Tour.
Defending champion Laura Davies finished in third place at seven-under. The 38-year-old Englishwoman, who carded a three-under 69 for the second straight day Saturday, needs two more wins or a victory in a major to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Juli Inkster, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, was in fourth place at six-under 210 after a 67. Se Ri Pak, the winner of the LPGA Championship two weeks ago, also shot a 67 and finished alone in fifth, eight strokes off the pace.
Full field scores from the Wegmans Rochester LPGA
Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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."

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.