Neumann Regains Top Spot

By Sports NetworkNovember 12, 2005, 5:00 pm
Ladies Professional Golf AssociationMOBILE, Ala. -- First-round leader Liselotte Neumann reclaimed first place after Saturday's third round of the Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions. She shot a 5-under 67 at the Magnolia Grove Golf Course and has a one-shot lead with an 11-under-par 205.
 
Defending champion Heather Daly-Donofrio posted a 4-under 68 in round three and is in position to join Se Ri Pak as the only players to successfully defend their titles. She is tied for second place at minus-10 with overnight co-leaders Christina Kim and Rachel Hetherington, both of whom carded rounds of even-par 72.
 
Juli Inkster fired a 4-under 68 and is alone in fifth place at minus-8. Angela Stanford shot a 2-under 70 and has sole possession of sixth at 7-under-par 209.
 
The field for this tournament includes winners from the past four seasons as well as active LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame members. The participating players own a combined 222 LPGA victories.
 
The Swede Neumann fell out of the lead on Friday when she only managed an even-par 72. She started Saturday's third round four out of the lead, but worked quickly to erase that deficit.
 
The former Solheim Cupper birdied three holes in a row from the second, then added another birdie at the par-5 sixth. Neumann dropped a shot at the par-3 eighth for the second time in as many days, but now the Swede was back in the mix.
 
At the par-4 12th, Neumann rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt to go to 10-under par and take a one-shot lead. Kim would eventually catch her, but Neumann reclaimed the top spot on the leaderboard at the par-5 16th.
 
Her drive came to rest in the rough, but she got enough club on the ball that it landed on the putting surface. Neumann's ball rolled to the top of a ridge guarding the flag, but did not have enough behind it and the ball came back to 45 feet. She lagged her birdie try 2 feet short and converted the birdie putt to move one ahead at minus-11.
 
The lead would be short-lived for Neumann. Her tee ball at the par-3 17th ran to the back fringe and she blasted her birdie putt 4 feet past the hole. Neumann missed the comebacker for par and after Kim birdied 16, Neumann trailed by a stroke.
 
At the difficult closing hole, Neumann knocked her approach 25 feet left of the stick. She ran home the birdie try to once again reach 11 under par, and when Kim bogeyed 17, Neumann was alone atop the leaderboard.
 
'I hit the ball pretty well. I kept in play off the tee and hit a lot of great irons into the green,' said Neumann, the 1988 U.S. Women's Open Champion and 13-time winner on the LPGA Tour. 'I'm hanging in there. It's still a lot of fun.'
 
Daly-Donofrio was only one-under on her round until she made the turn. At the 11th, she hit her approach inside a foot to set up birdie, then made it two in a row with a chip-in birdie at the 12th.
 
Daly-Donofrio hit her third shot at the par-5 16th to 2 feet and kicked in the birdie putt. She is one shot out of the lead as she attempts to join Pak, who turned the trick in 2001 and 2002, as the only back-to-back winners in tournament history.
 
'I've been making a lot of birdies,' said Daly-Donofrio. 'I'm going to need some birdies tomorrow because there are a lot of great players right at the top.'
 
Kim double bogeyed four, but atoned for the error with a birdie at the sixth. She joined Neumann in the lead when she rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 15th, then found herself alone in first when she nearly holed a 60-foot eagle try at 16. Kim tapped in for birdie, but like many before her, struggled at the 17th.
 
Her tee ball hit close to the cup, but rolled through the green. Kim hit an ugly chip that stopped four feet from the hole. She missed that putt to fall to 10 under par.
 
'The last couple of days have been really good for me,' said Kim. 'Today just wasn't as high a quality. I'm one shot out and you never know what can happen come Sunday.'
 
Hetherington was 2-over but birdied the 15th for the third time this week. She converted a 6-foot birdie putt at the 16th to get within one.
 
Jeong Jang (68), Marisa Baena (69), Paula Creamer (71) and Hee-Won Han (73) are knotted in seventh place at 5-under-par 211.
 
Related Links:
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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.