Park Choi Tied Prange Tumbles

By Sports NetworkNovember 30, 2006, 5:00 pm
Ladies Professional Golf AssociationDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Hye Jung Choi, an LPGA Tour rookie last season, and 18-year-old former amateur star Angela Park are tied atop the leaderboard after Thursday's second round of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
Choi, who shared the lead after Wednesday's first round, shot a 2-under 70, while Park fired the low round of the day, a 5-under-par 67. The pair is knotted at 7-under-par 137.
The 90-hole marathon is spread over two courses at LPGA International - the Champions Course and the Legends Course. All golfers will play each twice before the top-70 survive the 72-hole cut on Sunday.
After Sunday's final round, the top-15 get full status next year on the LPGA Tour. The next-35 players get conditional status for the 2007 season on the LPGA Tour.
Choi teed it up at the Champions Course and kicked in a pair of short birdie putts at the fourth and fifth holes. She bogeyed No. 7, but came back to birdie the ninth to make the turn at 2 under par.
Choi dropped another shot at the par-5 13th hole, but closed out her second nine in style. She rolled home a 15-foot birdie putt at the last to join Park in the lead.
'I didn't hit (the ball) very good today,' said Choi, who had non-exempt status this year on the LPGA Tour. 'I had a chance, but I didn't make it. I wanted to go to 10-under, but I was a little nervous. I will be practicing more putting and keep focused and enjoy the day tomorrow.'
Park played the Legends Course on Thursday and recorded a pair of birdies on her front nine. Those birdies came at the fourth and ninth and she added another at the par-3 12th.
On the rest of her back nine, Park played brilliantly. She did commit one mistake with a bogey at the 14th, but three birdies in her last four holes got her to the top of the leaderboard.
'I just played steady out there,' said Park, who was the medalist at the 2005 U.S. Women's Public Links and semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur the same year. 'I putted fine; I hit the ball pretty well. I think the key out there today was my ball striking. I was pretty calm out there. I wasn't really thinking about what I was going to shoot. We all know there's three more days and anything could happen. I'm not really looking ahead, just trying to stay calm and, if you make a birdie, there's another hole to birdie.'
Clarissa Childs shot a 68 on Thursday and is alone in third place at minus-6.
Kim Hall (69), Ashley Hoagland (69), Kelly Lagedrost (68) and Maru Martinez (69) are knotted in fourth place at 5-under-par 139.
First-round co-leader amateur In Kyung Kim only managed a 1-over 73 and is tied for eighth place with Natalie Tucker (68), Irene Cho (72) and Danielle Downey (68). The quartet finished 36 holes at 4-under-par 140.
Former Big Break winner Ashley Prange shot 4-over 76 and fell eight shots off the pace.
LPGA Tour Q-School Scores
Second Round

Angela Park 70-67--137
Hye Jung Choi 67-70--137
Clarissa Childs 70-68--138
Ashley Hoagland 70-69--139
Kimberly Hall 70-69--139
Kelly Lagedrost 71-68--139
Maru Martinez 70-69--139
Natalie Tucker 72-68--140
Danielle Downey 72-68--140
a-In-Kyung Kim 67-73--140
Irene Cho 68-72--140
Jin Young Pak 72-69--141
Katherine Hull 71-70--141
Aram Cho 71-71--142
a-Adrienne Millican 70-72--142
Carrie Wood 72-70--142
Na On Min 71-71--142
Diane Irivin 71-71--142
Paige MacKenzie 68-74--142
a-Ji-Young Oh 73-70--143
Lisa Fernandes 72-71--143
Jeanne Cho 71-72--143
Nancy Harvey 73-70--143
Jennifer Gleason 71-72--143
Sasha Medina 72-71--143
Angela Jerman 70-73--143
Erica Blasberg 68-75--143
Sophia Sheridan 73-71--144
Beth Allen 73-71--144
Linda Wessberg 72-72--144
Nicole Keller 73-71--144
Kristen Samp 73-71--144
Eun-Hee Ji 72-72--144
Cathy Johnston-Forbes 73-71--144
Annie Young 74-70--144
Violeta Retamoza 72-72--144
Meredith Duncan 70-74--144
Jane Park 71-73--144
Marilyn Lovander 75-70--145
Nicole Jeray 72-73--145
Teresa Lu 69-76--145
Jenna Daniels 71-74--145
Simi Mehra 73-72--145
Sarah Lynn Johnston 72-73--145
Allison Fouch 72-73--145
Ashley Prange 69-76--145
Charlotta Sorenstam 76-70--146
Liz Janangelo 74-72--146
Celeste Troche 72-74--146
Cindy Pasechnik 76-70--146
Maggie Will 72-74--146
Yeon Joo Lee 72-74--146
Su A Kim 73-73--146
Kim Brozer 74-72--146
Lee-Anne Pace 70-76--146
Kelly Cap 73-73--146
Lisa Ferrero 69-77--146
Sarah Martin 73-74--147
Hae-Jung Kim 72-75--147
Hana Kim 74-73--147
Salimah Mussani 73-74--147
Samantha Head 74-73--147
Cecilia Ekelundh 72-75--147
Sophie Giquel 73-74--147
Hyun-Hee Moon 70-77--147
Hwanhee Lee 72-75--147
Rebecca Coakley 71-76--147
Joanne Mills 74-73--147
Tina Miller 73-74--147
Audra Burks 74-74--148
Angie Hill 77-71--148
Seo-Jae Lee 73-75--148
Kim Welch 71-77--148
Paula Marti 75-73--148
Mollie Fankhauser 72-76--148
Kathryn Imrie 74-74--148
Na Ri Lee 69-79--148
Kelly Cavanaugh 74-75--149
Jimin Jeong 76-73--149
Annette DeLuca 76-73--149
Carolina Llano 75-74--149
Isabelle Beisiegel 75-74--149
Ashli Bunch 75-74--149
Jana Peterkova 73-76--149
Kristina Tucker 73-76--149
Stephanie Louden 73-76--149
Brooke Tull 76-73--149
Louise Stahle 71-78--149
Sarah Huarte 73-76--149
Katie Bakken 75-74--149
LeAnna Wicks 74-75--149
Meredith Ward 72-77--149
Ha-Na Chae 76-74--150
Jessica Reese-Quayle 77-73--150
Shayna Miyajima 76-74--150
Courtney Erdman 75-75--150
Diana Ramage 73-77--150
Kitty Hwang 75-75--150
Lisa Meldrum 74-76--150
Minny Yeo 74-76--150
Gwladys Nocera 80-71--151
Emily Bastel 77-74--151
Jackie Beers 79-72--151
Jean Bartholomew 74-77--151
Beth Bauer 74-77--151
Jo Clingan 74-77--151
Adrienne Gautreaux 74-77--151
Anna Rawson 70-81--151
Linda Ishii 72-79--151
Marianne Morris 75-76--151
Minea Blomqvist 69-82--151
Kris Lindstrom 75-76--151
Bernadette Luse 71-80--151
Tara Bateman 72-79--151
Caryn Wilson 75-77--152
Janell Howland 77-75--152
Nontaya Srisawang 74-78--152
Sarah-Jane Kenyon 74-78--152
Naree Song 74-78--152
Vikki Laing 78-75--153
D'Rae Ward 78-75--153
Caroline Blaylock 77-76--153
Julie Tvede 75-78--153
May Wood 73-80--153
Michelle Simpson 74-79--153
Angela Buzminski 74-80--154
Amanda McCurdy 76-78--154
Kris Tamulis 74-80--154
Ashley Gomes 78-76--154
Becky Lucidi 77-77--154
Kate Golden 77-78--155
Kuan-Pei Chen 77-79--156
Brandi Jackson 76-80--156
Taya Battistella 77-80--157
Krista Bartlett 78-79--157
Kim Augusta 72-85--157
Angie Rizzo 85-79--164
Libby Smith 92-73--165
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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”

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    Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:11 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.

    He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.

    Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.

    “I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”

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    A performance fit for a King

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:08 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Five hundred and 40 days had passed since Rory McIlroy last won, and since golf lost one of its most iconic players.

    So much has transpired in McIlroy’s life since then – marriage, injury, adversity – but even now he vividly recalls the awkward end to the 2016 Tour Championship. He had just captured the FedExCup and $11 million bonus, but afterward, in the scrum, he was asked instead to reflect on the passing earlier that day of Arnold Palmer, at age 87.

    “Obviously I had a great win and it was a great day for me, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter,” he said. “The game of golf had lost an icon, a legend, an inspiration to so many of us. I probably wasn’t as ecstatic as maybe I would have been if Arnie hadn’t passed away.”

    But there was McIlroy on Sunday at Bay Hill, at Arnie’s Florida home, summoning the kind of charge that would have made the King proud. With five birdies in his last six holes, he broke away from a stacked leaderboard to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his first victory on Tour in 18 months, since that bittersweet evening at East Lake.

    “Kind of ironic,” he said Sunday.

    But the connection between McIlroy and Palmer runs deeper than that.

    Palmer and McIlroy’s wife, Erica, shared a birthday – Sept. 10.

    Palmer wrote letters to McIlroy after each of his many victories.

    Palmer had lobbied for years to get McIlroy to play this event, even threatening him. “If he doesn’t come and play Bay Hill,” Palmer said in 2012, “he might have a broken arm and he won’t have to worry about where he’s going to play next.”

    McIlroy kept all of his limbs intact but didn’t add the event until 2015, when Palmer’s health was beginning to deteriorate. That week he sat for a two-hour dinner with Palmer in the Bay Hill clubhouse, and the memories still bring a smile to his face.

    “I was mesmerized,” McIlroy said.

    And entertained, of course.

    Palmer ordered fish for dinner. “And I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A.1. Sauce?’” McIlroy said.

    “And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ And he said, ‘No, for me!’"

    McIlroy chuckled at the exchange, then added somberly: “I was very fortunate to spend that time with him.”

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    McIlroy has been telling anyone who will listen that he’s close to playing his best golf, but even he was surprised by the drastic turn of events over the past 10 days.

    During that 18-month winless drought, he endured an onslaught of questions about his wedge play, his putting, his health and his motivation. Burnt out by the intense spotlight, and needing to rehab a nagging rib injury, he shut it down for four months last fall, a mental and physical reset.

    But after an encouraging start to his 2018 campaign in the Middle East, McIlroy was a non-factor in each of his first four Tour starts. That included a missed cut last week in Tampa, where he was admittedly searching.

    “The best missed cut I’ve ever had,” he said.

    McIlroy grinded all last weekend, stumbling upon a swing thought, a feeling, like he was making a three-quarter swing. Then he met for a few hours Monday in South Florida with former PGA Tour winner and putting savant Brad Faxon. They focused on being more instinctive and reactionary over the ball.

    “He just freed me up,” McIlroy said.

    Freed up his stroke, which had gotten too rigid.

    And freed up his mind, which was bogged down with technical thoughts and self-doubt.

    “The objective is to get the ball in the hole,” he said, “and I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

    All McIlroy did at Bay Hill was produce the best putting week of his career.  

    Starting the final round two shots back of Henrik Stenson, McIlroy made the turn in 33 and then grabbed a share of the lead on the 11th hole.

    Tiger Woods was making a run, moving within a shot of the lead, but McIlroy answered with a charge of his own, rattling off four consecutive birdies – a 16-footer on 13, a 21-footer on 14, a chip-in on 15 and a two-putt birdie after a 373-yard drive on 16 – that left Woods and everyone else in the dust.

    Then McIlroy finished it off in style, rolling in a 25-footer on the last that was eerily similar to the putt that Woods has holed so many times at his personal playground.

    “I know what the putt does,” McIlroy said, “so it was nice to make my own little bit of history.”

    Justin Rose has played plenty of meaningful golf with McIlroy over the years, but he’d never seen him roll it like he did Sunday.

    “He turned on the burners on the back nine,” he said. “He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    It’s little wonder McIlroy pulled ahead of a star-studded leaderboard, closing with a bogey-free 64 and winning by three shots at 18-under 270 – he led the field in driving distance, proximity to the hole, scrambling and strokes gained-putting.

    “It’s so nice that everything finally came together,” he said.

    Over the next two weeks, there figures to be plenty of conversation about whether McIlroy can channel that fearlessness into the major he covets most. The Masters is the only piece missing from a career Grand Slam, and now, thanks to Faxon’s tips, he’s never been in a better position.

    But after a turbulent 18 months, McIlroy needed no reminder to savor a victory that felt like a long time coming.

    There was a hug for his parents, Gerry and Rosie.

    A kiss for his wife, Erica.

    A handshake for Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, and then a fitting into the champion’s alpaca cardigan.

    The only thing missing was the King himself, waiting atop the hill behind 18 with his huge smile and vice-grip handshake.

    “Hopefully he’s up there smiling,” McIlroy said, “and hopefully he’s proud of me with the way I played that back nine.”

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    McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:06 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.

    McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.

    “I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.

    Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.

    “It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”