Koch Rosales Tied at Womens British

By Sports NetworkAugust 10, 2002, 4:00 pm
TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Jennifer Rosales collected seven birdies in a bogey-free 65 to join Carin Koch in the lead after Saturday's third round of the Women's British Open. They finished 54 holes knotted at 12-under-par 204, two strokes ahead of Natalie Gulbis and Spain's Paula Marti.
Australia's Karrie Webb, twice a winner of the British Open before it replaced the du Maurier Classic as the LPGA's fourth major championship in 2001, shot a 2-under 70 to tie Michelle Ellis, Tina Barrett, Beth Bauer and Candie Kung for fifth place at 9-under 207.
Koch, the co-leader with Kung coming into the day, three-putted for bogey at the 17th but rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at the closing hole to regain a share of the top spot. The 31-year-old Swede posted her third straight 4-under 68 at Turnberry's Ailsa Course and is in position to win her first major title.
'I just have to go out there and be aggressive,' said Koch, a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, who captured her breakthrough LPGA Tour title at last year's Corning Classic. 'To be in the last group on any occasion, but especially a major in Europe, I can't think of a better position to be in.'
Although she will take the lead into the final round of a major for the first time in her career, Koch is a seasoned veteran when compared with most of the players near the top of the leaderboard. Three players -- Gulbis, Bauer and Kung -- are LPGA rookies, and the average age of the top nine golfers through three rounds is just over 25 years old.
'It makes me feel old,' lamented Koch. 'There are so many young good players out there now, and they are not afraid to make mistakes, and maybe that's the type of golf you have to play out here.'
The lone player with a major championship pedigree among the relative unknowns is Webb, who is seeking her sixth victory in a major. With a win this week Webb would become the first player to achieve what has been dubbed the 'Super Career Grand Slam,' that is, she will have won the five different major titles available during her career.
The 27-year-old Aussie has 11 come-from-behind victories, all after starting the final round down two strokes or more. In fact, Webb's lone LPGA Tour triumph of 2002 came when she made up a five-shot deficit over the final 18 in Rochester.
Rosales, a 23-year-old from Manila, could become the first woman born in the Philippines to win a professional golf tournament.
She began the third round three shots off the pace but made four birdies in a front-nine 32 that included a 30-foot putt at the par-3 sixth. After following a birdie at the 11th with a string of four straight pars, Rosales sank a nine-footer for birdie at the 16th to tie Koch for the lead at 11-under.
At the par-5 17th, Rosales came up just short of the green with a 5-wood then chipped up to six feet. She made the birdie putt to seize the outright lead, then parred the 18th to match the best round of the tournament. Her 65 was also a career-low, besting the 66 she shot in the third round of last month's Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.
'I am really surprised,' Rosales said of being in the lead for the first time in her career. 'But I felt really good this week hitting my drives in the fairways where I want to be and hitting as many greens as I have.'
Rosales is no stranger to winning. A five-time Philippine Ladies Amateur champion, she moved to the U.S. to play college golf at the University of Southern California, where she won the NCAA individual championship as a freshman in 1998.
She joined the LPGA Tour in 2000 and made the cut in 15 of 23 events. Though she made only 12 of 26 cuts in 2001, Rosales recorded a tie for third at the Office Depot tournament for her career-best finish.
Rosales is currently 29th on the 2002 LPGA Tour money list with three top-10 finishes, including a tie for seventh in the U.S. Women's Open.
'I'm excited,' said Rosales. 'Not nervous, though. I am looking forward to getting experience tomorrow and we'll see what happens.'
Koch, playing in the final pairing four groups behind Rosales, racked up a trio of birdies over the first seven holes to take a two-shot lead at 11-under. Though Koch's lead evaporated as she parred holes eight through 14 while Rosales was putting the finishing touches on her dominating round, the Swede regained a share of first place with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 15th.
Koch stumbled on the 17th, where her third shot checked up 25 feet short of the pin. She left her birdie attempt four feet short then missed the par putt to drop one back.
Koch made up for the three-putt bogey by draining a 30-footer at the last that pulled her alongside of Rosales.
'I think the key for me tomorrow is to make sure I stay aggressive,' said Koch, who already has a career-high seven top-10s this season. 'That's the only way you win a major, or any golf tournament for that matter.'
Among Koch's top-10s results are a tie for fifth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and a tie for sixth at the LPGA Championship. She shared 37th place in the U.S. Women's Open.
Gulbis, who leads No. 2 Bauer and No. 3 Kung in the LPGA Rookie of the Year standings, capped a flawless 67 with a chip-in birdie at the 18th.
'I didn't really have anything to lose coming in here,' said Gulbis, who at the age of 19 years, seven months and four days, would become the youngest player to win a major championship in LPGA history. 'I'm just trying to have fun and I have had a great week.'
The 22-year-old Marti, a second-year player on the Ladies European Tour, carded a 3-under 69.
Kung, who grabbed the first-round lead with a 65 and was tied with Koch after 36 holes, suffered bogeys on 11 12 and 13 to slip back to 6-under-par. However, she recovered with birdies at 14, 16 and 17 en route to a 71.
Full-field scores from the Weetabix Women's British Open
Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.