Wie Gains Ground on Ochoa

By Sports NetworkApril 1, 2006, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Lorena Ochoa, who is looking for her first win in a major on the LPGA Tour, struggled to a 2-over 74 Saturday, but still leads by three after three rounds of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
The Mexican, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, stands at 9-under-par 207 after 54 holes. She has led three other LPGA events in her career after 54 holes and has won one of those three. She finished second the other two times.
 
Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa still holds the lead after three rounds of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Ochoa's best finish in a major was at this event in 2003 when she finished third.
 
Teenage star Michelle Wie hung on to second place with a 1-over 73. She stands at 6-under-par 210 and is also in search of her first major title, as well as her first win on the LPGA Tour.
 
Natalie Gulbis (68), Shi Hyun Ahn (71) and Seon-Hwa Lee (74) share third place at 4-under-par 212. A pair of former winners here -- Helen Alfredsson and Karrie Webb -- are tied for sixth place at minus-2 on the Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills Country Club.
 
Annika Sorenstam, the defending champion and three-time winner here, still has not gotten anything going this week. She stands at even-par 216 after a third- round, 1-over 73.
 
Ochoa faltered to a bogey on the first. She came right back with a birdie on No. 2 as she got up and down from a greenside bunker. A three-putt bogey on the fifth dropped the Mexican to minus-10.
 
The 24-year-old missed the eighth green en route to her third bogey of the round. Ochoa bounced right back with a birdie on the ninth when she made a 14-foot putt to turn at 10 under.
 
Ochoa, who set a new course record on Thursday with her 62, parred the first four holes of the back nine. She missed the green long on the 14th, then ran her chip 20 feet by the cup. Ochoa two-putted for bogey to slip to minus-nine. She parred out to take a three-shot lead into the final round.
 
'It was a tough day today out there. I guess, the third round, I had a lot of pressure and adrenaline playing in the last group with Michelle, that was exciting,' Ochoa said. 'I'm happy the way I finished.
 
'I still have a three-shot lead, and this course was very hard in the afternoon. It was good for me. It was a good round. I feel like I'm hitting the ball really good. I'm happy with the finish, and I can't wait to be here tomorrow.'
 
Wie slipped to a bogey of her own on the third to fall to minus-6. Other than that, she parred 11 of the first 12 holes.
 
The young Hawaiian dropped another stroke on the 13th, but quickly atoned for that error with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 14th. Wie closed with four straight pars to remain in second.
 
'My game felt very solid today. It was a bad break kind of day for me,' Wie said. 'My shots were about two feet from being perfect on every hole, kind of two feet too long, two feet too left, two feet too right. My game still feels very solid right now and I'm ready for tomorrow.'
 
Sorenstam looked to finally be making her move early on Saturday. She opened with birdies on two and three to get to 3 under for the tournament.
 
The women's world No. 1 bogeyed the fifth, but got that stroke right back with a birdie at six. Sorenstam turned at minus-2 after a bogey on the eighth. She played the back nine in plus-2 to end nine back of Ochoa.
 
Hee-Won Han tied Gulbis for the low round today with a 4-under 68. That moved Han into a tie for eighth at 1-under-par 215 with 2004 Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples and rookie Morgan Pressel.
 
Sorenstam was joined at even-par 216 by Michele Redman, amateur Angela Park, Stacy Prammanasudh, 1983 runner-up Beth Daniel, two-time winner Juli Inkster and Brittany Lang.
 
Related Links:
  • George White's Column on Natalie Gulbis
  • Leaderboard - Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • TV Airtimes
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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