Swede Swipes Top Spot at Q-School
The three-time All-American at Oklahoma State mastered the International track at ChampionsGate for a course record-tying 7-under 65. Hultman finished the 90-hole event at 14-under 346, ten shots clear of Steve Marino of Fairfax, VA, who finished second. Dai Tanaka (Japan), Erik Compton (Cleveland, OH) and Ryan Miller (West Alexandria, OH) were tied for third at 2-under 358.
Heading into the final round with a one-shot edge, Hultman reeled off six birdies in seven holes beginning on number seven. With a steady drizzle falling early in the day, Hultman thought he would have to figuratively keep his head about water for the round, but the conditions improved in late morning.
I didnt have great expectations with the forecast, and I was expecting a long day, admitted the 23-year-old. I hung in there when the weather was rough and made some key putts, and that was big. I played with Erik (Compton) a lot in college, so it helped me get rid of the nerves I had early on.
Hultman was a teammate of rising PGA Tour star Charles Howell III on the 2000 NCAA national champion Oklahoma State squad. As luck would have it, Howell was at ChampionsGate Friday working on his game.
Playing with Charles was an awesome experience, he seemed to be in a league of his own in college, added Hultman, who just turned pro this past summer. I talked to him a couple of days ago, and hopefully we will be able to hook up tonight.
With Hultman now calling Dallas, TX home, it will be a short jaunt to Austin for the season-opening TravelTex.com Canadian Tour Classic, which gets underway at Barton Creek next Thursday.
I couldnt think of a better way to start my career than with an event in Austin. I wont put any pressure on myself; there are a lot of good players on the Canadian Tour. I just want to keep playing well- that is all I can control.
NOTES: Other notables who gained exempt status included Compton, a former U.S. Walker and Palmer Cup team member who had a heart transplant at age 12, and Patrick Damron, the younger brother of PGA Tour champion Robert Damron, who also played on the Canadian TourDerek Centers of Somerset, KY, who works at ChampionsGate, finished tied for 15th and is exempt this seasonFormer member Ramiro Goti of Argentina tied for 11th, while American Ryan LaVoie earned a non-exempt card. Both Goti and LaVoie had originally earned Canadian Tour playing privileges at Winter Q-School last yearAt least two qualifiers had different reasons to celebrate Friday. Scott Gibson will mark his first anniversary with his wife Stephanie Sunday, while newlyweds Jason and Kimberly Allred tied the knot December 29th.
Scores Friday after the final round of the Canadian Tour's Winter Qualifying School held at ChampionsGate (xp-earned exempt card in playoff):
Earned Exempt Card:
Hultman, Anders Sweden 72 70 72 67 65 346
Marino, Steve Fairfax, VA 77 69 69 67 74 356
Tanaka, Dai Japan 70 74 69 69 76 358
Compton, Erik Cleveland, OH 72 72 70 68 76 358
Miller, Ryan West Alexandria, OH 73 70 70 71 74 358
Edmond, Pascal France 72 77 69 65 76 359
Bachman, John Orlando, FL 73 71 72 70 73 359
Damron, Patrick Orlando, FL 73 71 70 74 71 359
Corbett, Clark Long Beach, CA 74 72 72 69 73 360
Davey, Nick New Zealand 72 70 73 72 73 360
Gibson, Scott Huntington Beach, CA 74 69 70 73 75 361
Allred, Jason Scottsdale, AZ 70 74 73 70 74 361
Donovan, Matt Pittsfield, MA 71 77 70 69 74 361
Goti, Ramiro Buenos Aires, Argentina 71 71 75 75 69 361
Centers, Derrick Somerset, KY 69 74 76 69 74 362
Higton, Jason Fresno, CA 75 71 73 70 73 362
Mikkelsen, Kris Dunwoody, GA 71 75 72 73 71 362
Habig, Josh Jasper, IN 75 72 71 75 70 363
xp-Bettencourt, Matt Modesto, CA 71 72 76 71 74 364
xp-Wightman, Tele Chicopee, MA 75 73 74 71 71 364
Earned non-exempt card:
Patterson, John Hilton Head, SC 74 72 74 74 70 364
Patrick, David Scotland 71 72 77 72 73 365
Jensen, Clint Palm Beach Gardens, FL 69 75 76 71 75 366
Horacek, Sandy Los Angeles, CA 75 71 78 69 73 366
Argiro, Eduardo Argentina 71 77 76 70 72 366
Shuert, Steve St. Louis, MO 72 75 74 70 76 367
Torres, Jesus Mexico 72 71 73 73 79 368
Pigott, Sam Kent, England 72 73 72 74 77 368
Parra, Chris Tequesta, FL 71 74 76 72 75 368
Williamson, Lee Crawfordsville, IN 72 77 77 72 70 368
Lower, Johua Englewood, FL 75 74 77 69 74 369
Oppenheim, Rob Andover, MA 73 76 74 73 73 369
Lavoie, Ryan West Palm Beach, FL 72 73 72 80 72 369
Coughlan, Richie Ireland 77 72 72 72 77 370
Salinetti, Jim West Palm Beach, FL 74 73 76 70 77 370
Lemon, Jim Madison, WI 74 77 73 75 71 370
The following players did not qualify:
Trevino, Chris Chula Vista, CA 76 76 69 73 77 371
Horowitz, Joe Long Beach, NY 68 82 72 73 76 371
Watt, James Lodi, CA 76 74 77 70 74 371
Hibler, Jesse Boise, ID 72 78 73 75 73 371
Desjardins, Carl Ste. Catherine, QC 78 71 74 73 76 372
Carman, Brett Claysville, PA 72 78 74 73 75 372
Wheatcroft, Steven Tequesta, FL 74 75 77 73 73 372
Byers, Aaron Albany, OR 80 67 74 74 78 373
Kanesaka, Fumio Japan 72 82 71 73 75 373
Lane, Matthew New Zealand 77 75 71 72 79 374
Erickson, Tyler Tempe, AZ 73 74 77 71 79 374
Yi, Dong Alameda, CA 73 73 76 75 77 374
Fribley, Chad Tualatin, OR 77 72 78 71 76 374
Hastings, Brad Easton, MD 71 73 79 76 75 374
Takacs, Brendan Clearwater, FL 71 78 80 70 75 374
Kim, Christopher Fullerton, CA 68 75 76 76 80 375
Bradford, George Columbia, MD 72 76 78 71 78 375
Nelson, Drew Woodstock, GA 73 73 75 77 77 375
Brown, Michael Cheltenham, PA 73 74 79 71 79 376
Snelling, Justin Boise, ID 75 77 75 70 80 377
Harnden, Brandon Portland, OR 74 74 76 75 78 377
Gentry, Brian Tahoe City, CA 77 76 72 73 81 379
Hong, Chang Bethesda, MD 74 74 76 74 81 379
Cuthbertson, Phil Rocklin, CA 76 76 76 71 80 379
If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it
NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.
She says she always gets nervous starting a round.
You don’t believe it, though.
She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .
Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .
Or disarming ticking bombs . . .
“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.
Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.
Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.
Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.
At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.
She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.
She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.
And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.
There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.
Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.
It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.
Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.
Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.
“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”
About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.
Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.
“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”
David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.
“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”
Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.
Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . .
“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.
Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.
“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”
Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.
“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.
Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.
National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.
The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.
Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.
These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:
Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.
This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.
“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”
Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.
In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.
If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.
“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”
Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.
Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.
''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''
The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.
The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.
''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''
Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.
''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''
First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).
Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.
''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.
''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''