Pak Prevails at Safeway PING

By Sports NetworkMarch 23, 2003, 5:00 pm
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Se Ri Pak fired an 8-under 64 Sunday to come from behind and win the Safeway PING. Pak finished at 23-under-par 265 for her 19th career victory on the LPGA Tour.
Grace Park finished alone in second place at 22-under-par 266 while overnight leader Annika Sorenstam was three shots further back at 19-under-par 269. Sorenstam was joined by Hee-Won Han and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc in a tie for third.
Pak was on fire early on the Championship Course at Moon Valley Country Club and grabbed a three-shot edge around the turn thanks to a remarkable front nine that featured two eagles. However, the defining moment came on the penultimate hole when her competitors had battled back and Pak seemed to be in trouble.
She hit her tee shot in the water at the par-4 17th and eventually found herself on the green with a 30-foot putt to save par. Pak calmly drained the putt to maintain a one-shot advantage.
'I think that's the longest putt I got today,' said Pak. 'I had a perfect break and a perfect speed, but I wasn't expecting to make the putt there. It just made my day from that putt. That was the best putt of the week.'
At the closing hole, Pak's approach shot landed within a foot of the cup and she tapped in for birdie to secure her first title of 2003.
'Hole by hole, just go out there, just do my best every shot, every single shot,' said Pak, who pocketed $150,000 for the win. 'But at the same time, I played really aggressive. That helped a lot today.'
Pak was three shots behind Sorenstam to start the final round and stormed out of the gate with birdies on the first two holes. At the par-5 fourth, Pak blasted a 4-iron to tap-in range for an eagle. She bogeyed the sixth but responded at the par-5 eighth with her second eagle of the day.
The 25-year-old birdied the ninth and picked up three birdies and a bogey on the back side for the win.
Park had two birdies over her first nine holes but caught fire on the back half. She two-putted for birdie at the 10th and hit a 7-iron to five feet for a birdie at the 11th.
She birdied the 13th and 15th and hit her second shot to three feet at the par-4 last. Park converted the putt for a round of 65.
'I'm very happy, but I'm bummed at the same time,' said Park. 'Obviously I played four solid rounds, especially on the back side today.'
Sorenstam brought a two-shot lead over Meunier-Lebouc into the final round but the top player in the world could not hold her advantage. She parred her first nine holes before a birdie at the 10th, her only birdie of the day.
'I think I played well,' said Sorenstam, who carded a final-round 71. 'It was one of those days I just had a lot of lip-outs. That's golf. If you play golf long enough you know these things happen.'
LPGA Tour rookie Lorena Ochoa shot a 6-under 66 to finish alone in sixth at 17-under-par 271. Beth Daniel was one shot further back at 16-under-par 272.
Dorothy Delasin finished alone in eighth at 15-under-par 273. She was followed by Michele Redman and Cristie Kerr at 14-under-par 274.
Laura Davies, a four-time winner of this event, was joined by Mi Hyun Kim, Kelly Robbins and Stacy Prammanasudh at 13-under-par 275.

Related Links
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

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

    Former 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 Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted 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.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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