Past Tops Present at LPGA Championship

By Sports NetworkJune 7, 2002, 4:00 pm
WILMINGTON, Del. -- Beth Daniel, a 32-time winner on the LPGA Tour, posted a 1-under 70 Friday to lead the LPGA Championship. Daniel's 36-hole total of 5-under-par 137 is good for a two-shot lead over defending champion Karrie Webb heading into the weekend.
Se Ri Pak carded a 1-under 70 to move into a share of third. She was joined by Carin Koch at 1-under-par 141.
A total of 72 golfers returned to DuPont Country Club Friday morning to complete the opening round after storms forced the suspension of play Thursday.
Daniel was already in the clubhouse Thursday after a round of 4-under 67. She trailed Karrie Webb, who was at 5-under through 15 holes before play was called.
Webb, who became the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam with her victory here last year, resumed her round and double-bogeyed the par-3 17th en route an opening-round 3-under 68.
'Obviously, I had a lot of momentum going yesterday afternoon, and I probably would have finished my round off a little better than I did this morning,' said Webb.
The 27-year-old began her second round almost immediately and faltered out of the gates with a bogey at the par-4 10th. She recovered with a birdie at the 13th and made it two in a row after she landed her second shot within 12 feet of the cup at No. 14.
However, Webb had a shaky inward nine with bogeys at the second and seventh holes. The Australian salvaged what she could with a 20-foot birdie at the eighth for a round of even-par 71.
'It took a long time before I could trust that the greens were a little bit softer and that the fairways were softer, so the course played extremely long,' said Webb, who stands at 3-under-par 139.
Daniel, who took to the course with a one-shot lead over Webb, also played the back nine first and faired much better initially. At the par-3 13th, Daniel knocked a four-iron three feet from the hole. She converted the short birdie putt to take a two-shot lead.
'No one in that swing that went off this morning really did anything, so I knew the course was probably playing pretty tough or just as tough, and as it turned out, it was,' said Daniel.
The 45-year-old soon found some trouble of her own. At the very next hole, Daniel landed short of the green and three-putted for bogey. She two-putted for bogey at the 15th to fall back into a tie with Webb.
Daniel persisted and regained the lead with a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth to return to 4-under.
She added to her advantage at the very last hole after she dropped a sand wedge six feet from the jar. Daniel ran home the putt to finish with a two-shot cushion at the same event in which she earned her first and only major title.
'I was real pleased to end up shooting 1-under because I really didn't hit my irons very well,' said Daniel, who won this event in 1990. 'So as a result, I missed a lot of greens short, but that's not such a bad thing on this golf course. I was able to get it up and down most of the time.'
Pak, who won this event in 1998, collected three birdies and two bogeys to finish four shots off the pace. The 24-year-old also won the U.S. Women's Open in 1998 and captured the Women's British Open in 2001.
Akiko Fukushima and Kim Saiki each shot rounds of 71 to finish tied for fifth at even-par 142.
Michele Redman (69), Rachel Teske (71), Michelle McGann (72), Barb Mucha (73) and Catriona Matthew (73) were knotted at 1-over-par 143.
Annika Sorenstam, who is trying to become the first woman since Pat Bradley in 1986 to win the first two majors of a season, finds herself nine shots off the pace after she failed to make a single birdie.
The 31-year-old, who successfully defended her title at the Nabisco Championship in March, struggled to a 5-over 76 to come in at 4-over-par 146.
The 36-hole cut fell at 8-over-par 150 with 71 players qualifying for the weekend. Among those who didn't make the grade was two-time LPGA Championship winner Laura Davies.
Full-field scores from the McDonald's LPGA Championship
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.