McGill Sets Record Takes Lead

By Sports NetworkAugust 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Wachovia LPGA ClassicKUTZTOWN, Pa. -- Jill McGill fired an 8-under 64 on Friday to post a 14-under-par 130 and take a four-shot lead midway through the Wachovia LPGA Classic.
Her 36-hole total of 130 smashed the tournament record by four shots. The old mark was originally set by Laura Davies in 1996 and later matched by Michele Redman in 2000, Moira Dunn in 2001 and Meg Mallon last year.
'I'm feeling good,' said McGill. 'I feel relaxed and calm. I'm still trying to have the same focus that I did yesterday, realizing that the end result is not what's important. It's the process.'
Suzann Pettersen posted a 9-under 63 and joined Soo-Yun Kang, who carded a 66, in second place. The duo is knotted at 11-under-par 133 at Berkleigh Country Club.
They will have to play strong golf on the weekend if they are to catch McGill.
McGill parred her first four holes, but broke into red figures at the par-5 fifth. She hit a 4-iron to the back of the green and two-putted.
Her play around the turn is what vaulted her to the top of the leaderboard and into the tournament's record book. At the eighth, McGill sank a 6-foot birdie putt, then collected back-to-back birdies with a 3-footer at nine. McGill made it three in a row at the 10th when her sand-wedge stopped 5 feet from the hole.
McGill was in trouble at the 11th but saved par. Immediately after that, she returned to her birdie ways. She rolled in a 20-footer at the 12th, and tallied a pair of 3-foot birdie putts at 13 and 14.
McGill parred three in a row from the 15th, but padded her record at the closing hole. She missed the green with her second shot at the par-5 hole, but chipped to 3 feet and kicked in the short birdie putt.
'When the green light is there, give it a go,' said McGill, referring to her strategy. 'If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. You can't judge what happens before it happens.'
This is all part of McGill's new outlook. She has not lived up to career expectations that started as an amateur. McGill won the 1993 U.S. Amateur Championship and the 1994 U.S. Public Links Championship. She finished as runner-up in the 1994 Amateur to Wendy Ward, but McGill has yet to find the winner's circle on the LPGA Tour.
'I'm not going to walk around 18 holes with a pit in my stomach,' said McGill, who received some advice from Nancy Lopez on the driving range Friday. 'I'm not going to wake up in the morning and almost dread what I am going to do. I am just going to go out and hit the first fairway tomorrow and the hit the first green.'
Pettersen had an impressive round of 10 birdies and one bogey, while Kang's card was a little more diversified. She recorded nine birdies, three bogeys and six pars.
Grace Park shot a 6-under 66, while Shi Hyun Ahn posted a 67 on Friday. The two are tied for fourth place at minus-10.
First-round co-leaders Hilary Lunke and Laura Diaz each carded rounds of 3-under 69. They are tied with Lorena Ochoa, who shot a 68 in the second round, for sixth place at 9-under-par 135.
Ward (66) and Mikaela Parmlid (69) are tied for ninth at minus-8.
Defending champion Candie Kung posted a 3-under 69 and is part of a group in 23rd at 5-under-par 139.
The 36-hole cut came at even-par 144 and among the notable players who failed to make the weekend were: two-time winner this year Cristie Kerr (145) and Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples (147).
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    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."

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    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.'"

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    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."

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    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."

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    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.