Ochoa Davies Grab Lead in Orlando

By Sports NetworkApril 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Ginn OpenREUNION, Fla. -- Lorena Ochoa and Laura Davies each posted rounds of 6-under-par 66 on Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the Ginn Open.
 
The tournament lost its biggest name when world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam withdrew. She has both a bulging and ruptured disc in her back and will miss a month.
 
'I've been playing with quite a bit of pain for the past several weeks,' Sorenstam said in a statement. 'I couldn't take it much more and decided it was time to see someone after the pro-am yesterday. I withdraw with deep regret as the Ginn Open is one of the finest tournaments we have, and it is in my home town of Orlando.'
 
Brittany Lincicome is alone in third place after a 5-under-par 67 at the Legacy & Independence Courses at Reunion Resort and Club.
 
Ochoa, who tied for second last year, started on the back nine and quickly broke into red figures. She knocked her second at the par-5 10th hole into a bunker, where she blasted out to 2 feet to set up her birdie.
 
She hit a 7-iron to 3 feet for a birdie at 12, but dropped a shot at 13. Ochoa's 3-wood tee shot sailed left into a bush, where she was forced to take an unplayable lie.
 
At the par-three 16th, Ochoa nearly holed her 7-wood tee ball, but had to settle for a tap-in birdie. She parred her next four holes around the turn, but two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 third.
 
Ochoa made it two in a row as her wedge shot left her with a 9-footer for birdie at the fourth. She converted that putt, but found trouble at the very next tee. Ochoa's seven-wood let her down on the par-3 fifth as her tee ball missed the green 20 yards right. She chipped to 12 feet and missed that putt to fall to 3 under par for the championship.
 
Ochoa atoned for the error quickly as she hit a 9-iron to a foot at the sixth. She tapped that putt in and followed with a 15-footer for birdie at the seventh.
 
At the par-5 ninth, Ochoa tried to reach the putting surface in two, but came up short in a bunker. She blasted out to 5 feet and sank the birdie putt to move into the lead.
 
'It was a good day,' acknowledged Ochoa. 'I've been working on getting a good result the first day of the tournament. It makes a difference for me and that was a goal today.'
 
Ochoa had a chance to overtake Sorenstam for the No. 1 place in the Rolex Rankings if the Mexican star would have won the Nabisco Championship. She did not, but with Sorenstam on the shelf for a month, the chances are good that Ochoa will move to first.
 
'I just want to do my own thing and I'm going to keep doing the same,' said Ochoa. 'I would love for her to be playing. Hopefully she's doing okay and will recover soon and be back.'
 
Davies got to 2-under par with a 25-foot eagle putt at the par-5 third. She birdied the par-3 fifth hole, but uncharacteristically bogeyed a par-5, the ninth.
 
On the back nine, Davies reeled off three straight birdies from the 11th to get to minus-5. A birdie at the par-517th put Davies into a tie with Ochoa.
 
'Today's round is what I've been hoping for rather than the rounds I've had,' said Davies. 'I've been shooting a lot of 1-, 2-unders, which is not good enough out here anymore.'
 
Davies has not won on the LPGA Tour since the 2001 Wegmans Rochester International, which was her 20th title on the circuit.
 
'I mean I've won around the world, just not won in the LPGA,' said Davies. 'It's really lack of confidence in the driver.'
 
Defending champion Mi Hyun Kim, Sherri Turner and Na Ri Kim are tied for fourth place at 4-under-par 68.
 
Minea Blomqvist, In-Kyung Kim, Reilley Rankin, Tina Barrett, Sarah Lynn Sargent, Hye Jung Choi, Natalie Gulbis and Se Ri Pak are knotted in seventh at minus-3.
 
Morgan Pressel is playing for the first time as a major champion after her win at the Nabisco Championship, and it was not a memorable round. She shot a 3-over-par 75 and is part of a group tied for 102nd place.
 
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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.