Stanford the Shop Keeper

By Sports NetworkJune 28, 2003, 4:00 pm
GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Angela Stanford posted a 4-under 67 on Saturday to take the 36-hole lead of the ShopRite LPGA Classic at the Seaview Marriott Resort Bay Course. She stands at 10-under-par 132 and owns a one-shot lead over three other players.
 
Two-time winner Juli Inkster fashioned a round of 4-under 67 to share second with Diana D'Alessio and Michele Redman, who each carded rounds of 5-under 66 on Saturday.
 
Annika Sorenstam, the defending champion, fired a 5-under 66 Saturday and is part of a group in ninth at 6-under par.
 
Michelle Wie, the 13-year-old amateur who won her first USGA title last week at the Women's Amateur Public Links, shot a 1-over 72 and finished on the cut line at 1-over-par 143.
 
'I played very bad and I missed a lot of putts,' said Wie. 'Everything didn't work out, but my fairway woods and my driver were okay. I putted very badly today.'
 
Stanford started quickly with an eight-foot birdie putt at the first hole but cooled off considerably on the rest of the front nine. She parred the last eight holes on her front side to stay near the top of the leaderboard.
 
Stanford, who shared the first-round lead with Laura Diaz and Kris Lindstrom, got back into red figures again at the 10th when she knocked a 7-iron to 10 feet and holed the putt.
 
The 25-year-old from Texas missed a 15-footer for par at the 11th but rebounded with a seven-foot birdie putt at the next.
 
Stanford closed her round out in style by taking advantage of the remaining par-5s. She birdied the 481-yard 16th and polished off her round of 67 with a 15-foot birdie putt at 18.
 
'I'm happy with the way I hit the ball,' said Stanford. 'I hit 15 greens today, 12 fairways and got up and down all but one time. I'm so much happier with the way I hit the ball today.'
 
Stanford is winless since joining the tour in 2001. She finished second behind Se Ri Pak last year at the Betsy King Classic but the Texas Christian graduate is ready for Sunday, win or lose.
 
'I'm excited because I believe you learn how to win, at any level,' said Stanford, who intends to relax on the blackjack and roulette tables in Atlantic City Saturday night. 'So, I think I get to learn a lot tomorrow. I get to learn what it's like to be in the final group. I've never been in the final group on Sunday.'
 
Inkster mixed six birdies and a bogey through her first 16 holes Saturday and was alone in the lead at 10-under par until problems at the par-4 17th. She hit a wedge over the green into the back bunker and failed to get up and down for par.
 
'Basically, I didn't drive the ball as well as I drove yesterday,' said Inkster. 'I hit the rut a few more times but I did hit some good shots there. I need to gear down a little.'
 
D'Allesio looked to be in trouble after a disastrous double-bogey at the 15th but she responded in a big way. She reached the green in two at 16 and two-putted from 45 feet for birdie. D'Alessio drained a 30-foot birdie at the 17th and closed her round with a four-foot birdie putt at the last.
 
'I was pretty focused. I try not to get down on myself,' said D'Alessio. 'I thought I could birdie the last two holes. I just think more positively, walk with my head up and shoulders back.'
 
Redman caught fire late on her back nine Saturday. She birdied 14 and 15 then holed a 15-foot eagle putt at 17 to get within two shots of the lead. Redman played a seven-wood on to the green with her second shot at 18 and two-putted from 20 feet for birdie and a share of second place.
 
'I hit the ball really good today,' said Redman. 'I played the par-fives really well. I think I have a few things straightened out now because I think I'm hitting it really good.'
 
Becky Morgan and Joanne Morley are tied for fifth place at 8-under-par 134, followed by Lorie Kane and Heather Bowie, who share seventh at minus-7.
 
Diaz shot an even-par 71 and is tied for ninth at 6-under par, while Lindstrom stumbled to a 3-over 74 and is tied for 19th at minus-three.
 
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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.