Pak in Familiar Spot at Jamie Farr

By Sports NetworkJuly 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2005 Jamie Farr Owens Corning ClassicSYLVANIA, Ohio -- Se Ri Pak isn't sure why she plays so well at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. Everyone else in the field wonders what her secret is, too.
 
The four-time tournament winner shot an 8-under 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead. It was the best opening round in the tournament's 23-year history.
 
Alena Sharp was two shots back at 6 under. Only five others were within five shots of the lead, including defending champion Mi Hyun Kim.
 
Pak bogeyed her first hole, after hitting into the rough, then strung together three consecutive birdies. She ran off five birdies on the back nine, making a 25-putt on the 17th hole.
 
She is trying to match Mickey Wright's tour record of five victories in one event and knows the course better than any player in the tournament.
 
'Everyone asks why, I don't know,' she said. 'I always feel comfortable here.'
 
Pak won her first Farr title in 1998 when she was 20 and always seems to be in contention. She also won in 1999, 2001 and 2003.
 
Canada's Alena Sharp had seven birdies and one bogey to shoot 65. Her approach shot on the final hole nearly bounced in for eagle. Sharp is having her best season since turning pro in 2005.
 
'I learned last year how to make the cut,' she said. 'This year I feel I have a good shot at winning a tournament.
 
'I don't want to get ahead of myself. It's only Thursday.'
 
She has a history this year of starting fast before fading. She was within a shot of the lead after one round at the Wegmans LPGA last month only to finish tied for 64th.
 
Pak made a 15-foot putt on No. 11 and a 12-foot putt on the next hole to charge out in front. She then finished her round with a pair of birdies.
 
'I've won so many times and have so many great memories,' she said. 'Maybe that's why my game is a lot more solid on the golf course.'
 
Rookie Jin Young Pak, playing in her first tournament since hurting her back two months ago, finished at 4 under.
 
'I'm just happy I can play,' she said.
 
The Korean with the same last name as the first-round leader said she knew about this tournament before she left home because of Se Ri Pak's success.
 
The dry, fast course provided a slew of low scores in the morning, a sharp contrast from a year ago when heavy rains drowned the fairways and threatened to cancel the tournament.
 
But strong, shifting winds made the course at Highland Meadows Golf Club a challenge later in the day.
 
Kim bogeyed her final hole after the wind pushed her tee shot far right. U.S. Open champion Cristie Kerr, playing in the same group, also bogeyed the blustery hole.
 
'It messed with us,' Kerr said.
 
Kim had five birdies and two bogeys to shoot 68. She won last year's tournament with an 18-foot birdie putt on the third hole of a playoff to beat Natalie Gulbis.
 
Cari Wood, playing in the afternoon, birdied her first four holes and then contended with wind gusts that reached up to 25 mph.
 
'That's just the luck of the draw,' she said.
 
Wood finished at 3-under 68 and was tied for third along with Kim, Aram Cho and Morgan Pressel.
 
'I just hit a few too many shots that got away from me,' Pressel said.
 
Kerr was among 13 players six shots behind the leader at 2 under. Also at 2 under were Brittany Lincicome and Laura Diaz.
 
Absent were the tour's top two money leaders, Lorena Ochoa and Suzann Pettersen, along with 2000 tournament winner Annika Sorenstam.
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x