Ochoa Back in Winners Circle

By Sports NetworkMay 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Sybase ClassicNEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Lorena Ochoa fired a 5-under 66 Sunday to come from behind and win the rain-shortened Sybase Classic. Ochoa completed her second win of the season at five-under-par 208.
 
Ochoa claimed her first win this year at the LPGA Takefuji Classic. This was her fifth title on the LPGA.
 
'I'm very excited. It's been a fun tournament and a really good day today,' said Ochoa, who earned $195,000 for the win. 'I played really good, didn't make any bogeys and made five birdies. It was a fine round. When you don't make bogeys all day on a course like this, it's always good.'
 
Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa has now finished first or second in six straight events.
Bad weather on Thursday forced the suspension of play with 15 players needing to complete their first rounds. That didn't happen until Saturday morning as Friday was completely washed out by rain.
 
With more rain in Sunday's forecast, players teed off early Sunday to beat the bad weather and the event was cut to 54 holes. The last time a tournament was shortened by rain was the 2003 State Farm Classic, which was won by Candie Kung.
 
Kyeong Eun Bae matched Ochoa's 66 to climb into a tie for second place at 3-under-par 210. She was joined there by Hee-Won Han (69).
 
Allison Hanna led during the final round, but was done in by three back-nine bogeys. She took fourth place at 2-under-par 211. LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster was one stroke further back at minus-1 after a closing 71.
 
Second-round leader Hee Jung Park (75), 2005 champion Paula Creamer (70) and women's world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam (74) shared sixth place at even-par 213.
 
Creamer tried to make a run as she birdied the first and third, but struggled to three consecutive bogeys from the fifth. The 19-year-old was able to recover two of those strokes with birdies on 10 and 14.
 
Sorenstam had three birdies and three bogeys on her card, but was done in by a triple-bogey seven on the par-4 ninth.
 
Ochoa began her round four strokes behind Park. However, the Korean tumbled down the leaderboard with bogeys on four and six, and a double-bogey at the seventh. She ended at even-par with two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine.
 
Meanwhile, Ochoa was steady as she opened with four straight pars. The 24- year-old moved to 1 under as she dropped in an 18-foot birdie putt on the fifth. Ochoa then made par on the next five holes.
 
The Mexican drained her second birdie putt of the round at the 11th. Ochoa made it two in a row with a 5-foot birdie putt on 12. She joined Hanna in the lead at 4 under with an up-and-down birdie at the 15th.
 
Ochoa claimed the lead by herself as Hanna stumbled to back-to-back bogeys from the 15th. Ochoa closed out her round with a 5-foot birdie putt at the last.
 
'It's about finishing strong and having a good back nine and having a chance to win the tournament,' Ochoa commented. 'That's what I did. I made one birdie and saved a couple of good pars out there. I was really positive and trying to stay one hole at a time and give myself an opportunity to make birdie.
 
'On the back nine, I hit close to the hole. And coming from nowhere, I was one shot behind and then I was tied for first place. I was hanging in there.'
 
Han was even-par on her opening nine with three birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey. After a bogey on 10, Han climbed the leaderboard with three birdies in a four-hole span from the 12th.
 
Hanna opened with three birdies over her first four holes to take the lead at 4 under. She faltered to a bogey at the 12th, before her troubles on 15 and 16 took her out of it.
 
Bae ran off three straight birdies from the third to get to minus-1. She traded a bogey for a birdie from the seventh. Around the turn, Bae birdied 11 and 18 to share second.
 
Jill McGill and Julieta Granada each carded rounds of 2-under 69 to share ninth place at 1-over-par 214. Seon-Hwa Lee, Beth Bauer and Laura Diaz were one stroke further back at plus-2.
 
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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.