Wie Impressive in PGA Tour Debut

By Sports NetworkJanuary 15, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- Carlos Franco fired a 7-under 63 on Thursday to take a two-shot lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii on a day that was highlighted by Michelle Wie's history-making debut on the PGA Tour.
 
Jesper Parnevik finished alone in second place at 5-under-par 65. Aaron Baddeley, who lost this event in a playoff to Ernie Els last year, was one shot further back at 4-under-par 66 along with Craig Barlow, Ted Purdy, David Ishii, Stephen Ames and Luke Donald.
 
Wie, who has made plenty of history throughout her young career as an amateur, had failed to qualify for the event at Waialae Country Club on two previous occasions, but got her chance to play alongside the men of the PGA Tour after she received an invitation and a sponsor's exemption to the 2004 edition of the tournament.
 
'It was wonderful,' said Wie, who became the youngest woman to ever compete alongside the men of the PGA Tour. 'There were so many people out there today. They were really good, supporting me, and whenever I made a putt, they were just awesome.'
 
The hard-hitting ninth-grader played the back side first and split the fairway with her drive off the 10th tee en route to a par. At the par-4 12th, Wie dropped her approach inside 10 feet and drained the putt for her first birdie of the day.
 
Wie, who became the youngest player to ever win a USGA championship when she captured the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links title last year, found a greenside bunker with her second shot to the par-4 13th and bogeyed the hole. She found the sand again at the par-4 14th and could not get up and down to save par.
 
She had a five-footer for par at the par-4 first, but pushed the ball right of the hole. Wie knocked her tee shot into a greenside bunker at the par-3 fourth, but this time was able to save par after a solid shot from the sand.
 
Wie struggled on the green at the par-4 fifth and took three putts for a bogey. She responded at the very next hole, however, and drained a 16-foot putt for her second birdie of the day.
 
At the par-3 seventh, Wie had a tricky putt to save par but her ball lipped out of the hole.
 
Wie closed her round with a positive at the par-5 ninth after blasting her approach into a greenside bunker. She played her third shot out of the sand to 10 feet and ran home the putt for a respectable 2-over-par 72 showing in her first PGA Tour round.
 
'I think I was playing it more safe today,' said Wie. 'But if I make it to Saturday I'm going to go at every flag.'
 
Wie has already played alongside men twice before, once on the Nationwide Tour and once on the Canadian Tour, but now the young Hawaiian has followed in the footsteps of Annika Sorenstam and Suzy Whaley, both of whom have competed on the PGA Tour dating back to Sorenstam's historical appearance at the Colonial in May of 2003.
 
Franco hit his tee shot to 10 feet for a birdie at the par-3 seventh and ran home a 25-foot putt for an eagle at the par-5 ninth to make the turn at 3 under.
 
The 38-year-old, who has missed the cut in each of his last two appearances at this event, added birdies at the 11th and the 13th before knocking his tee ball inside two feet for a birdie at the par-3 17th.
 
Franco tapped in for birdie and two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 last to complete a career best round of 63 at the first full-field event of the 2004 season.
 
'When you play well, everything is good,' said Franco. 'When you play bad, very difficult to come back for your game.'
 
Parnevik collected five birdies and a bogey to finish two shots off the pace.
 
'I played very solid. I've been working really hard the last two months,' said Parnevik. 'You know, I have a clue where the golf ball is going for a change. I haven't really had a clue for the last two years. It's nice to be able to hit shots and trust it.'
 
Els, the defending champion, played the back side first and tallied two birdies over his first nine holes.
 
The South African stumbled with a bogey at the par-4 sixth but recovered with an eagle at the par-5 last to finish in a group at 3-under-par 67 that features former U.S. Open champions Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen.
 
Related Links:
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  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.