Wie Joins Youngest Ever Curtis Cup Team
Wie becomes the youngest ever selected for a USA Curtis Cup team. Laura Baugh was 16 when she was named to the 1972 team. Wie, now 14, is joined by Duke teammates Elizabeth Janangelo, 20, of West Hartford, Conn., and Brittany Lang, 18, of McKinney, Texas. The USA team was selected by the USGA Womens Committee.
The other members of the squad that will compete June 12-13 against a team from Great Britain and Ireland at Formby Golf Club in Merseyside, England, are Erica Blasberg, 19, of Corona, Calif.; Paula Creamer, 17, of Pleasanton, Calif.; Sarah Huarte, 21, of Shingle Springs, Calif.; Jane Park, 17, of Beaumont, Calif.; and Annie Thurman, 21, of Highland, Utah. Its the first time that no mid-amateurs (players 25 and older) are included on the USA squad.
The team will be captained by Martha (Wilkinson) Kirouac, 55, of Norcross, Ga., who won the 1970 U.S. Womens Amateur and played in the 1970 and 1972 Curtis Cup Matches. Professionally, Kirouac is the director of course rating and member services for the Georgia State Golf Association.
The Curtis Cup Match, scheduled every other year, consists of 12 singles and six foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA team has won the last three matches, in 1998, 2000 and 2002. The USA also leads the series, begun in 1932, by a 23-6-3 margin.
Wie beat eventual U.S. Womens Amateur champion Virada Nirapathpongporn in the 36-hole final at the WAPL at Ocean Hammock Golf Club in Palm Coast, Fla. A ninth grader at Punahou School, she already has competed in nine LPGA-sanctioned tournaments and was in the final pairing of the final round at the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship where she placed ninth. At the age of 10, Wie became the youngest to ever qualify for a USGA womens amateur competition (WAPL). She also competed in two mens events in 2003 (missed cut in both) and received a sponsors exemption to play in the 2004 PGA Tour Sony Open in her hometown of Honolulu, where she missed the cut after 36 holes by one stroke.
In 2002, she advanced to the semifinals of the WAPL in Sunriver, Ore., and she reached the third round of match play at the 2003 U.S. Girls Junior in Fairfield, Conn. She also made the 36-hole cut at the 2003 Womens Open.
Janangelo, who is completing her sophomore season at Duke, has qualified for three Womens Opens (2000, 2002 and 2003). She tied for 30th at the 2003 Womens Open at Pumpkin Ridge (Ore.) Golf Club. At the 2002 Womens Amateur, she defeated stroke-play medalist Courtney Swaim in the first round before bowing out to eventual champion Becky Lucidi in the third round. She was a first-team All-American by vote of the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) last year and was the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year.
Huarte, a senior at California-Berkeley, recently won the 2004 South Atlantic Ladies Amateur. A two-time All-Pac-10 golfer, she advanced to the third round of match play at the 2003 Womens Amateur, where she lost to eventual champion Virada Nirapathpongporn. She is a past California Junior champion and California High School champion.
Lang, currently a freshman at Duke, captured both the Womens Western and North & South titles in 2003. She also represented the USA at the Junior Solheim Cup in 2002 and was an eight-time American Junior Golf Association winner. She hails from the same hometown as USGA champions Kelli and Hank Kuehne, and Hunter Mahan.
Blasberg, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, was the Pac-10 Conferences Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year for 2002-03. She closed her freshman year with nine consecutive top-10s (two wins and seven top-3s), including a tie for third at the NCAAs to earn first-team NCGA All-American honors. She was a quarterfinalist at the 2003 Womens Amateur and advanced to the third round of the 2002 Womens Amateur.
Creamer, a junior at the Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., has already won 16 national-caliber junior competitions, including 11 on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. She was named the AJGA Player of the Year for 2003 and has twice competed on the USA Junior Solheim Cup team. She was a semifinalist at both the 2003 Girls Junior and Womens Amateur, and qualified for the 2003 Womens Open, where she missed the cut. She made the cut in two LPGA events in 2003. Most recently, she tied for second at the 2004 South Atlantic Ladies Amateur.
Park, also a high school junior, was the runner-up at the 2003 Womens Amateur and tied for 30th at the Womens Open. She won the AJGA Betsy Rawls Girls National and the Kathy Whitworth events in 2003 and was runner-up at the 2003 Rolex Girls Junior. Like Creamer, she has twice competed for the USA at the Junior Solheim Cup.
Thurman, a junior at Oklahoma State University, won the 2002 WAPL, becoming the first female from Utah to capture a USGA championship. She qualified for match play at the 2002 and 2003 Womens Amateur, and qualified for the 2003 Womens Open, but missed the cut. She earned honorable-mention NGCA All-American honors for 2002-03 and placed 19th at the NCAA Womens Championship.
Blasberg, Creamer, Janangelo, Park and Wie also have been offered exemptions into the LPGAs 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship in late March.
The alternates for the team, in rank order, are Leigh Anne Hardin, 21, of Martinsville, Ind., Ashley Knoll, 18, of The Woodlands, Texas, and Amber Marsh-Elliott, 34, of Jamestown, N.C.
Hardin played on the 2002 USA Curtis Cup squad and qualified for the 2003 U.S. Womens Open. Knoll, a freshman at Oklahoma State, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2003 U.S. Womens Amateur. She also won the 2003 Thunderbird International Junior. Marsh-Elliott won the 2003 U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur.
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.