Wendy Ward Wins Wendys Championship

By Sports NetworkAugust 12, 2001, 4:00 pm
Wendy Ward carded a 68 Sunday to win the Wendy's Championship for Children by three strokes over Annika Sorenstam and Moira Dunn. The victory was Ward's third since joining the LPGA Tour in 1996.
 
Ward posted a three-day total of 21-under-par 195 to break the LPGA Tour records for winning score in a 54-hole tournament. The previous mark for lowest total was 197 by Sorenstam at the 1998 ShopRite Classic, while the old record for best score in relation to par was 19-under, shared by Pat Bradley (1991 Rail Golf Classic) and Sorenstam (2000 Firstar Classic).
 
Click here to see Wendy Ward's scorecards from each round.
 
Ward earned the first prize of $150,000 for the win, her first since the 1998 Hawaiian Ladies Open.
 
'As far as in my career, you know, it's not that I ever doubted that I couldn't win again, but when you have a dry spell there, you think, 'Are you pressing too hard? Are you not pressing enough?' You start questioning yourself on a lot of things,' said 28-year-old from Texas.
 
'Finally I just had to tell myself, 'When you get into contention, make the most of it, make the most of every opportunity.' That seemed to do the trick for me this week. It just happened to be my turn.'
 
Four shots ahead after shooting a course-record 62 at New Albany Country Club on Saturday, Ward got off to a bumpy start in the final round and saw her lead trimmed to just one shot after three holes.
 
Ward missed a seven-foot birdie putt at the first hole before suffering her only bogey of the tournament when she couldn't save par out of a greenside bunker at the par-3 2nd. Her playing partner Dunn, meanwhile, rolled in an 18-foot birdie at the first and knocked a sand wedge to a foot for another birdie at the third.
 
Ward battled back to go three ahead with a two-shot swing at the par-5 6th. Although her caddie suggested laying up after her drive found the rough, Ward decided to hit a 5-wood from 205 yards out to get home in two. Her ball settled on the back of the green 45 feet from the hole, and she two-putted for her a birdie that took her to 17-under.
 
Dunn's tee shot at the sixth landed in the water and she wound up missing an eight-footer for par.
 
Sorenstam joined the mix with three straight birdies starting at the fifth to cut Ward's lead to two. Dunn tied Sorenstam at 15-under with a birdie at the seventh, but Ward regained her three-shot cushion with an 8-iron to six feet for birdie at No. 9.
 
Sorenstam and Dunn continued to apply the birdie pressure, Sorenstam with a three-foot putt at the 11th hole and Dunn with a six-footer at the 10th. Ward responded with another accurate iron, this time a 7-iron into a breeze to set up a six-foot birdie at the 11th.
 
While Sorenstam dropped four off the pace with a three-putt bogey at the 13th, Dunn birdied that hole to move within two at 17-under.
 
Sorenstam's 9-iron approach at No. 14 left her with a tap-in birdie, but she was running out of holes. She tacked on birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 for a final-round 66 to finish at 18-under 198.
 
Ward sank a 15-foot birdie putt at 15. She made it two in a row and climbed to 21-under after blasting out of a bunker to a couple of inches at the par-5 16th.
 
Dunn holed a 20-foot birdie at No. 17 for a 5-under 67. She matched her career-best finish by tying Sorenstam for second.
 
Rosie Jones, a two-time winner this season, finished alone in fourth at 15-under after a 66. Meg Mallon shot 67 for fifth place at minus-14
 
Karrie Webb, the top-ranked woman golfer in the world, tied for sixth with Kelli Kuehne and Amy Fruhwirth at 13-under 203.
 
Defending champion Lorie Kane tied for 12th place at minus-11.
 
Full-field scores from the Wendy's Championship for Children
Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.'"


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


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."

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.