Neumann Nirapathpongporn Qualify for Womens Open
Fifty-six players were fully exempt into the Championship, leaving 99 spaces open for qualifiers in the field. One place is still being held open for the winner of the next LPGA event. The USGA received a record 1,097 entries for the 59th U.S. Womens Open, which is scheduled for July 1-4, 2004 at the Orchards Golf Club, located on the campus of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.
The qualifier in Rochester, N.Y. will conclude Wednesday morning, with 10 players going for the final four spots in the field.
It will be the 18th consecutive Womens Open appearance for Neumann, who won the 1988 championship. Nirapathpongporn was originally exempt for the Womens Open as a result of her 2003 Womens Amateur victory but chose to turn professional, thus giving up her exemption. She will be playing in her third consecutive U.S. Womens Open.
In addition to Neumann and Nirapathpongporn, 13 other past USGA champions qualified for the 2004 U.S. Womens Open, led by 15-year-old In-Bee Park of Eustis, Fla., who won the 2002 U.S. Girls Junior. Other USGA champions in the field are: Beth Bauer (1998 Girls Junior); Brandie Burton (1989 Girls Junior); Catherine Cartwright (2000 Womens Amateur Public Links); Silvia Cavalleri (1997 Womens Amateur), Vicki Goetze-Ackerman (1989, 1992 Womens Amateurs), Emilee Klein (1991 Girls Junior); Kelli Kuehne (1994 Girls Junior and 1995 and 1996 Womens Amateurs); Jill McGill (1993 Womens Amateur; 1993 Womens Amateur Public Links); Nicole Perrot (2001 Girls Junior); Deb Richard (1984 Womens Amateur); Laurie Rinker (1980 Girls Junior); and Michelle Saiki (1983 Girls Junior).
Two members of the victorious 2004 USA Curtis Cup team, Paula Creamer, 17, of Pleasanton, Calif., and Erica Blasberg, 19, of Corona, Calif., also qualified for the championship.
Park, Creamer and Blasberg lead the list of teenagers who qualified for the Womens Open. They will be joined by Kyeong Eun Bae, 18, of Korea; Amie Cochran, 18, of Torrance, Calif.; Megan Grehan, 15, of Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Jennie Lee, 18, of Huntington Beach, Calif.; Seon Hwa Lee, 18, of Korea; Taylor Leon, 17, of Dallas, Texas; Brittany Lincicome, 18, of Seminole, Fla.; and Kim Shin, 18, of Shoreline, Mass.
The U.S. Womens Open is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA. Other championships include the U.S. Open, the U.S. Senior Open, and 10 national amateur championships.
Sectional Qualifying Results - 2004 U.S. Women's Open:
HEATHROW, FLA. - THE CC AT HEATHROW
In-Bee Park(a) - Eustis, Fla. 145
Brittany Lincicome(a) - Seminole, Fla. 145
Bernadette Luse - Orlando, Fla. 146
Kristin Tamulis - Naples, Fla. 147
Michelle Estill - Scottsdale, Ariz. 148
A - Maru Martinez(a) - Venezuela 148
A - Colleen Cashman-Mcsween - Plantation, Fla. 149
A - Leslie Spalding - Billings, Mont. 150
A - Carly Truitt(a) - Marysvile, Ohio 151
WEST BLOOMFIELD, MICH. - KNOLLWOOD CC
Kylie Pratt - Australia 144
Kyeong Eun Bae - Korea 144
Courtney Swaim - Duluth, Ga. 146
Allison Hanna - Portland, Ore. 146
Yvonne Cox - Charleston, W.Va. 147
Virada Nirapathpongporn - Thailand 147
Marianne Morris - Middletown, Ohio 147
Kim Augusta - Rumford, R.I. 147
Emily Bastel - Upper Sandusky, Ohio 147
Young Jo - Korea 148
Tina Miller(a) - Muskegon, Mich. 148
Allison Finney - Winnetka, Ill. 148
Seon Hwa Lee - Korea 150
Tiffany Faucette - Ormond Beach, Fla. 152
Jessica Lewis - Bethesda, Md. 152
A - Jennifer Greggain - Puyallup, Wash. 152
A - Michele Fuller - Jupiter, Fla. 152
A - Alena Sharp - Canada 152
A - Lauren Todd(a) - Phoenix, Ariz. 152
KAPOLEI, HAWAII - KO OLINA GC
Ria Quiazon - Union City, Calif. 143
A - Amanda Wilson(a) - Hilo, Hawaii 152
A - Julie Miyagi - Honolulu, Hawaii 153
A - Camie Hoshino - Hilo, Hawaii 156
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - CC OF SPARTANBURG
Niloufar Aazam-Zanganeh(a) - Switzerland 143
Leah Hart - Australia 144
Joan Pitcock - Fresno, Calif. 146
A - Violeta Retamoza(a) - Mexico 148
A - Patricia Martinson - Marion, Iowa 148
A - Joan Delk - Alpharetta, Ga. 148
A - Rachel Bates - Farragut, Tenn. 149
WILLIAMSBURG, VA. - WILLIAMSBURG CC
Janice Moodie - Scotland 138
Briana Vega(a) - North Aandover, Mass. 143
Lynnette Brooky - New Zealand 144
Anne-Marie Knight - Australia 144
A - Karine Icher - Switzerland 144
A - Lara Tadiotto - Belgium 145
A - Brittany Lang(a) - McKinney, Texas 145
A - Lisa Ferrero(a) - Lodi, Calif. 147
DALLAS, TEXAS - TPC FOUR SEASONS
Taylor Leon(a) - Dallas, Texas 145
Elisa Kase - Albuquerque, N.M. 145
Jennifer Ackerson(a) - Allen, Texas 146
A - Stefanie Page(a) - The Woodlands, Texas 147
A - Carrie Roberts - Farmington, Utah 148
A - Stacy Lewis(a) - The Woodlands, Texas 148
A - Jennifer Tannehill - Oklahoma City, Okla. 148
EGG HARBOR TWSP, N.J. - HIDDEN CRK/BLUE HER
Carin Koch - Sweden 140
Paula Creamer(a) - Pleasanton, Calif. 141
Liselotte Neumann - Sweden 142
Deb Richard - Ponte Verda Beach, Fla. 142
Audra Burks - Little Rock, Ark. 142
Amy Langhals - Lakeland, Fla. 142
Silvia Cavalleri - Italy 143
Shani Waugh - Australia 143
Joanne Mills - Australia 143
Dawn Coe-Jones - Canada 143
Charlotta Sorenstam - Sweden 143
Laura Myerscough - Charleston, Ill. 144
Kris Tschetter - Sioux Falls, S.D. 144
Chiharu Yamaguchi - Japan 144
Soo-Young Moon - Korea 145
Jill McGill - San Diego, Calif. 145
Jean Bartholomew - Garden City, N.Y. 145
Cathy Johnston-Forbes - Kitty Hawk, N.C. 145
Victoria Goetze-Ackerman - Valrico, Fla. 146
Tina Barrett - Scottsdale, Ariz. 146
Megan Grehan(a) - Mamaroneck, N.Y. 146
Kristal Parker-Manzo - Cable, Ohio 146
Beth Bader - Eldridge, Iowa 146
Alicia Dibos - Peru 146
A - Kathi Poppmeier - Austria 146
A - Stephanie Louden - Las Vegas, Nev. 147
A - Cheryl Anderson - Stamford, Conn. 147
A - Jackie Gallagher-Smith - Jupiter, Fla. 147
SAN GABRIEL, Calif. -- SAN GABRIEL C.C.
(a) Jennie Lee, Huntington Beach, Calif. (143)
Hong Mei Yang, China (144)
(a) Kim Shin, Shoreline, Wash. (146)
Lisa Chang, Los Angeles, Calif. (146)
(a) Erica Blasberg, Corona, Calif. (146)
Li Ying Ye, China (147)
(a) Amie Cochran, Torrance, Calif. (148)
A ' (a) Sydnee Michaels, Temecula, Calif. (148)
A ' (a) Irene Cho, Los Angeles, Calif. (149)
A ' Wendy Modic, Pasadena, Calif. (149)
A ' Stella Lee, Irvine, Calif. (149)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- WEBSTER G.C./ONTARIO G.C.
Kelli Kuehne, Dallas, Texas (143)
Nicole Perrot, Chile (143)
Michelle Bell, Melrose, Mass. (143)
Loraine Lambert, Australia (144)
Luciana Bemvenuti, Brazil (145)
Linda Ishii, Los Angeles, Calif. (145)
Marilyn Lovander, Punta Gorda, Fla. (145)
Young-A Yang, South Korea (145)
Johanna Head, England (145)
Russamee Gulyanamitta, Thailand (145)
Kate Golden, Jasper, Texas (145)
Eva Dahllof, Sweden (145)
Jenna Daniels, San Diego, Calif. (145)
Emilee Klein, Graegle, Calif. (146)
Siew-Ai Lim, Malaysia (146)
Cindy Figg-Currier, Austin, Texas (146)
Mardi Lunn, Australia (147)
Liz Earley, Canada (147)
Kris Lindstrom, Richfield, Minn. (147)
Jamie Hullett, Mesquite, Texas (147)
Mee Lee, Korea (148)
Michelle Ellis, Australia (148)
Katherine Hull, Australia (148)
Beth Bauer, Tampa, Fla. (148)
Ji Yeon Lee, Korea (148)
Smriti Mehra, India (149)
Catherine Cartwright, Bonita Springs, Fla. (149)
Michele Saiki, Las Vegas, Nev. (149)
Laurie Rinker, Stuart, Fla. (149)
A.J. Eathorne, Canada (149)
Brandie Burton, San Bernandino, Calif. (149)
Moira Dunn, Utica, N.Y. (149)
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
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."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
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.'"
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."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
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."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
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.