Ochoa Surges into Lead at Rochester LPGA

By Sports NetworkJune 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Lorena Ochoa carded a 3-under 69 Friday to move two strokes clear of the field through two rounds of the Wegmans Rochester LPGA. Ochoa completed 36 holes at 8-under-par 136.
 
Maria Hjorth moved into a share of second place at 6-under-par 138 after a second-round 70. She was joined there by first-round leader Becky Morgan, who struggled to a 2-over 74.
 
Paula Creamer is alone in fourth place at minus-5 after a 68. Mi Hyun Kim, who shared second place here last year, is one stroke further back at 4-under-par 140.
 
Ochoa opened with bogey on the first after her second shot came up short of the green. She knocked a wedge to 3 feet to set up birdie at the third.
 
The Mexican pitched her third to 6 feet for birdie on the par-5 eighth. Ochoa two-putted for birdie from 50 feet out at the par-5 11th to move to seven-under.
 
Ochoa, a two-time winner in 2004, rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th before closing with a pair of pars at Locust Hill Country Club.
 
'I'm very pleased with my run today,' said Ochoa. 'I don't know how I shot better yesterday than today, because today I hit my driver better. I'm very happy with my 8 under and looking forward to tomorrow for a sunny day and get a couple of good rounds.'
 
Hjorth opened with a 4-foot birdie putt on the 10th. She then ran home a 30-foot birdie try on the 13th. The Swede faltered to a bogey on the 16th, but came right back with a birdie on 17 to get to 6 under.
 
The 31-year-old, who won twice in 1999, drove into the trees on the first and that led to a bogey. Hjorth rebounded with a 6-foot birdie putt on the sixth to get back to minus-6.
 
'I started off ten and hit a very good second shot into there and made the putt and started off with a birdie,' Hjorth said. 'It's always nice to start off with a birdie, especially when you played well the day before and then I just played really solid. Overall, I'm very pleased with my round and I've got it going together and I had a lot of birdie chances that I didn't make.'
 
Morgan ran off five straight pars to open her round. She then drained a 25- footer for birdie on the sixth to move to minus-9. The Wales native tripped to a bogey on No. 10.
 
The 30-year-old erased that error by draining a 20-foot birdie putt on the 11th. She closed with three straight bogeys to tumble out of the lead.
 
Gloria Park and Se Ri Pak share sixth place at 3-under-oar 141. Laura Davies, the 2001 champion, posted her second straight round of 1-under 71. She stands in a tie for eighth at 2-under-par 142 alongside Jenny Rosales and 2003 U.S. Women's Open champion Hilary Lunke.
 
Kim Saiki, the defending champion, managed an even-par 72 on Friday. She stands in a tie for 24th at 1-over-par 145.
 
The cut line fell at 5-over-par 149 with 76 players moving on to the weekend.
 
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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.