Robbins and Bader Share Giant Eagle Lead

By Sports NetworkJuly 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
VIENNA, Ohio -- Kelly Robbins and Beth Bader set the early pace in Friday's rain-interrupted opening round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.
 
The pair fired 8-under par 64s to set the course record at Squaw Creek Country Club. The scores also tied the tournament's 18-hole mark and left Robbins and Bader one shot ahead of Mi Hyun Kim and Danielle Ammaccapane.
 
Rookies Natalie Gulbis and Jung Yeon Lee finished in fifth place with 5-under 67s.
 
Robbins, a nine-time winner in 10 years on the LPGA Tour, tallied six birdies and two bogeys Friday. She also made a pair of eagles -- the first when she holed out a 50-foot bunker shot at the 479-yard, par-5 5th hole, and the second with a four-foot putt set up by a driver and 3-wood to the green at the 486-yard eighth.
 
She used her wedges as weapons on Friday, with four of her half dozen birdies coming on putts inside six feet. In fact, three were from three feet and in.
 
'It's good to get off to a really nice start,' said Robbins, 32, who hasn't posted a victory since the season-opening event of 1999. 'I've been playing really well, I just haven't been making a whole lot of birdies.
 
'I just haven't done a lot of really good things to put me into any type of real contention.'
 
Robbins has logged two top-10 finishes in 2002 -- a tie for third at the Welch's/Circle K Championship and solo second at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship.
 
Her first-round 64 tied her career-low round. She reached the same score seven times previously.
 
Baders 64 was the best of her short career. The 28-year-old, who joined the LPGA Tour last year, shot a 66 for a share of the lead after one round of the Corning Classic back in May. She followed with 77 in the second round and in the end tied for a disappointing 65th.
 
'It's my second year,' Bader said. 'I need to chill out, relax and have fun with it. The more upset and frustrated you get, the harder it is to play. No point in pouting all day -- I decided to change my attitude a little bit.'
 
Bader birdied her first three holes, starting on the 10th, but three-putted for bogey at the par-5 13th. She rebounded with three more birdies at 14, 17 and 18, then went to 6-under by wedging her third shot to two feet for birdie at the par-5 second.
 
Though she failed to get up and down out of a bunker and bogeyed the fifth, another par-5, Bader cleaned up with birdies on three of her last four holes.
 
Eight of Bader's 10 birdie putts were holed from 10 feet and in.
 
Both Robbins and Bader were on the good side of the draw on Friday. Their morning tee times kept them ahead of the lightning and heavy rains that delayed play for more than two hours in the afternoon. As it turned out, only two of the top 14 scores were posted after the storm came through.
 
Jackie Gallagher-Smith, who earned her lone victory at the 1999 Giant Eagle, shot 68 and was part of an eight-way tie for seventh place at 4-under par.
 
Two-time defending champion Dorothy Delasin, looking to become only the seventh player to win the same LPGA tournament three years in a row, turned in a 3-under 69 and was tied for 15th.
 
Full field scores from the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic
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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