Harbour Town Golf Links is favorite among PGA Tour players and casual golf fans alike

By April 13, 2010, 12:46 am
harbour town brian gay
Brian Gay won the 2009 Verizon Heritage by a tournament-record 10 strokes. (Getty Images)

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Fresh off a week of short rough and huge greens at Augusta National, the PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head Island and Harbour Town Golf Links. In addition to its status as one of the favorite stops for players on the PGA Tour, Harbour Town at Sea Pines Resort is the foremost location for golf on Hilton Head Island.

Hilton Head Island is a vacationer's paradise year round, but even more enchanting in the spring when its azaleas are in bloom, pleasing weather is the norm and the island is brimming with PGA Tour buzz. Golf legends, rising stars, robust competition, autograph opportunities, picturesque views, fabulous refreshments, friendly crowds, myriad activities and tons of fun for a great cause – for what else could you ask? You need only attend Hilton Head Island's historic tournament once to concur that there are at least a dozen reasons to put the Verizon Heritage at the top of your trip list.

For more golf in Hilton Head Island, or to plan your next trip visit:
The PGA Tour in Hilton Head: Heritage, history and high performance
Since Arnold Palmer claimed the tournament's first trophy in 1969, the Verizon Heritage has experienced a few name changes, but it has consistently drawn some of the most prominent names in golf. Jack Nicklaus, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Davis Love III, the late Payne Stewart and the colorful Boo Weekley are past winners of the event.

Tournament week traditionally kicks off with opening ceremonies that celebrate golf's Scottish heritage. The tournament is famous for its kilted bagpipers and firing of a cannon into the Calibogue Sound while the defending champion simultaneously fires a tee shot using a hickory driver and feathery-style ball. And, of course, the tournament champion is awarded an attractive tartan jacket to accompany his Verizon Heritage winnings.

Many players head to the Verizon Heritage following the Masters. However, while the Verizon Heritage offers healthy competition, it boasts a less intense vibe amidst Hilton Head Island's idyllic atmosphere and is viewed by many golfers as an opportune time to vacation with their families.

Harbour Town Golf Links: One of the world's premier golf clubs
Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the Verizon Heritage, has long been hailed as one of the world's premier clubs. In addition to superb course conditions and its extraordinary, park-like setting, the well-appointed clubhouse and friendly and professional staff exude unrivaled hospitality. During tournament week, the Calibogue Sound and adjacent Harbour Town yacht basin, site of the iconic candy-cane striped Harbour Town lighthouse, are rippling with an impressive array of watercraft.

The tournament is held within Sea Pines Resort, which hosts shuttle service and abounds with bike paths, nature trails and wildlife. The resort also offers beach access, shops, dining, entertainment, recreation and accommodations. Whether you seek an all-inclusive resort or oceanfront home, experienced and reputable companies such as Sea Pines Resort, Resort Quest Hilton Head Island, Hilton Head Rentals & Golf and the Crowne Plaza Hilton Head Island Beach Resort, can assist you in securing quality accommodations Island-wide that are best suited to your needs.

Access the island via Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) or Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), about 45 minutes away. Hilton Head Island's proximity to several major cities, such as Jacksonville, Fla. and Atlanta, also makes it a popular drive-to destination.

Verizon Heritage: 'Get Your Plaid On' for eco-friendly fun, philanthropy
The Verizon Heritage annually attracts thousands because, quite simply, whether you are a golf enthusiast or not, it emphasizes fun for all ages! Some come for the thrill of the game and autograph opportunities, while others attend for the camaraderie and fashionable socializing. The tournament's schedule of events includes opportunities for amateurs to play with the pros, putting contests, Coca-Cola Youth Day and much more.

The Heritage Classic Foundation has donated millions to charitable organizations over the years, and has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships. You can have fun while also supporting philanthropic efforts.

The Verizon Heritage has also partnered with Palmetto Electric regarding a commitment to green practices and recently introduced a new spokesperson, Sir William 'Willie' Innes, whose role will be to promote community pride in the tourney and support for a new 'Get Your Plaid On' marketing campaign. Said Tournament Director Steve Wilmot, 'Willie has his plaid on, and it is time to get your plaid on.'

A variety of Verizon Heritage ticket packages are available. 'Get Your Plaid On' and secure your piece of the fun, before this popular event sells out! Visit verizonheritage.com or call (800) 234-1107. Verizon Heritage tickets are also available through the Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce: www.hiltonheadisland.org or (800) 523-3373.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.