Ward Fires Course Record to Lead in Ohio
Ward also set the 36-hole tournament record with a two-day total of 17-under 127, bettering the previous record by seven shots.
Moira Dunn shot 64 -- a score that would have tied the course record at the start of the day -- for second place at 13-under, while Annika Sorenstam, the winner of the inaugural edition of this event in 1999, carded a 65 to finish alone in third at minus-12.
Michelle McGann grabbed sole possession of fourth place at 10-under 134 with a 4-under 68 Saturday.
Ward made four birdies on the front nine and just missed out on a chance at an eagle when she two-putted from 10 feet for birdie at the par-5 3rd. After reeling off three straight birdies to begin the back side, Ward hit a wedge to 20 feet then rolled in the putt for birdie to get to 15-under par.
Her second shot to the par-five 16th landed in a greenside bunker but she managed to blast out to a foot for a tap-in birdie. At No. 17, Ward closed out her scoring with another 20-footer for birdie.
Click here for Wendy Ward's scorecard.
Ward, bogey-free after two days with just 41 putts to her name, doesn't believe that the low scores this week are simply the result of the New Albany course playing too easy.
'It's not as easy as maybe what you see the scores are,' said Ward, who is chasing her first victory since winning the 1998 Hawaiian Ladies Open. 'I would hope the golfing community and world would say, 'Those girls are playing great golf this week,' instead of focusing on maybe the course being too easy. There's some tough holes out there.'
Dunn, seeking her first win, birdied three straight holes heading into the turn, then eagled the 16th before finishing with a pair of birdies to complete the best 18 holes of her career.
'I'm really comfortable this week,' Dunn admitted. 'My swing feels really good. Just hope I can keep that feel going for tomorrow.'
Sorenstam, who shot an LPGA record 59 at the Standard Register PING in March, didn't come close to that score Saturday but did miss out on a better round by posting her only bogey after failing to hole a three-footer for par.
'Maybe let a few putts slip away. Other than that, I'm as pleased as I can be with my game,' she said. 'Then again, I'm so far away from Wendy. I'm amazed how good she has played. You shoot 7-under, you don't expect to be five behind. I have to charge again tomorrow.'
If anyone can make up the ground in one day it's Sorenstam, who completed the biggest comeback in LPGA history when she came from 10 strokes down in the final round to win The Office Depot event in Los Angeles in April. Although she defeated Mi Hyun Kim in a playoff for the title that week, Sorenstam needed a final-nine implosion by second-round leader Pat Hurst to get into position to go to extra holes.
She doesn't expect that to be the case on Sunday.
'I wouldn't expect [Ward] to fall back too much. But hopefully I can get off to a hot start and climb up on the leaderboard. We'll see what happens after that.'
McKay, tied for 75th at beginning of the day, opened with a couple of long birdie putts before sinking a six-footer for eagle at the third. She added birdies at the fifth and sixth to make her way out in 30.
Though she climbed to 10-under on the day with four birdies through six holes of the back nine, McKay parred Nos. 16 and 17, then bogeyed the last after pulling her drive left off the tee.
McKay's 63 -- also a career best -- at the time set the course record by eclipsing the 64 established by Kristal Parker in 1999 and matched by Leta Lindley in Friday's opening round.
McKay stands tied for fifth place at 9-under 135 with Meg Mallon (65), Karrie Webb (68), Rosie Jones (69), Rachel Teske (69) and Tracy Hanson (69).
Defending champion Lorie Kane is knotted in 16th place at minus-six.
Full-field scores from the Wendy's Championship for Children
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry