LPGA Tour finally reaches US with Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 25, 2010, 4:41 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. – It’s almost Easter, and the LPGA Tour is finally getting around to holding its first tournament in the United States.

The tour began with stops in Thailand and Singapore, took a break of nearly a month and will resume with the inaugural Kia Classic at La Costa starting Thursday.

The first regular-season LPGA stop in the San Diego area since 1993 will feature a field worthy of a major, which makes sense since the season’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, will be played next week in Rancho Mirage.

The field includes the top 10 players in the rankings, led by No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, and 49 of the top 50 players from the LPGA’s 2009 money list.

Among the top 10 are No. 3 Ai Miyazato of Japan, whose back-to-back victories made her the first player since 1966 to win the first two official events of the year, and Michelle Wie, who won her first professional tournament at the end of last season.

While glad to be back in the United States, Brittany Lincicome understands why the LPGA has gone global.

“My thing is, it’s wherever the money is, really. Whoever’s going to believe in us and give us a sponsorship, I mean, that’s where we’ve got to go,” she said.

Most players had a long stretch overseas because the first two tour events were followed by the Australian Ladies Masters.

“Obviously we’d like to see more tournaments in the United States,” Lincicome said. “But I am not opposed at all to going to Singapore, Thailand, Australia. I fed kangaroos out of the palm of my hand. Like, who does that? There’s a lot of cool things you can do in a lot of cool places, but obviously we’d like to see more tournaments here in the states.”

The LPGA Tour will make its debut at La Costa, which formerly hosted the Mercedes Championships and the Accenture Match Play Championship before those tournaments moved elsewhere.

“It just makes sense to have a golf tournament in such a beautiful area,” Lincicome said. “The weather is absolutely perfect 90 percent of the time.”

Most of those in the field haven’t played La Costa before, but the elite 20-player Samsung World Championship was played in September just down the freeway at Torrey Pines’ challenging South Course.

“I’m sure it’s going to kind of be set up the same,” Lincicome said. “It’s long, which is good. I’m sure the greens are going to be super fast, so just kind of keep it in play is your No. 1 goal. If you keep it in play and have a short iron to the greens, you’re going to score well.”

Then again, there’s Wie’s way of looking at it.

“A golf course is a golf course, and it depends on how well you play that week,” she said. “When you’re playing great, every golf course seems exactly fit for you, and when you’re not, everything is wrong. I think it’s a really fun golf course. It’s a great track and in good condition and one I want to play on.”

Wie earned her elusive first professional win at the end of last season at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, which has her more motivated than ever.

“It just felt so rewarding that I wanted to do it over again,” she said. “It was such a high that I want to do even better and just keep winning. I could see what I could do and what I could become. It was really motivating. I feel like this past offseason I’ve been more determined and more motivated than I’ve ever really been.”

So far this year she’s had a tie for 22nd and a tie for 15th.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 22, 2018, 7:25 pm

After grinding out a 68 on Friday, Tiger Woods is trying to get the lead all to himself in Round 3 at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him.

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Highlights: Tiger birdies six of his first seven

By Nick MentaSeptember 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

Tiger Woods entered Saturday tied atop the board and wasted little time taking the outright lead at East Lake.

Woods moved clear of the field with this birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.

Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.

One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.

He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.

He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.

He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.

Iowa State Cyclones cheerleaders pause at a memorial in the Jacobson Building honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena, at Jack Trice Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Ames, Iowa. Getty Images

Iowa State honors Arozamena before football game

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 4:57 pm

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State honored slain golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena with an elaborate ceremony ahead of the Cyclones' game against Akron on Saturday.

Iowa State's band used a formation that spelled out Barquin's initials, and both teams wore a decal on their helmets in her memory.

A tribute to Barquin played on a video screen before a moment of silence, and fans were also asked to wear yellow, one of Iowa State's main colors and a nod to Barquin's Spanish roots. Most of the roughly 60,000 fans in attendance complied with yellow and with golf shirts on a chilly morning in central Iowa.

"I think it's fantastic. The tribute is amazing. But ultimately, it would have been perfect if she could have been here for her tribute, which was going to happen anyway." said Ed Hamilton, a retired police officer from nearby Ankeny, Iowa.

Barquin, the Cyclones' first conference champion in 25 years, was finishing up her degree at Iowa State and working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.

A memorial honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena at Jack Trice Stadium. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Barquin competed in the U.S Women's Open earlier this summer, and coach Christie Martens said she was approaching "the pinnacle of her career."

"Iowa State fans are very loyal. We haven't had too many winning football teams over the years. Yet the fans turn out. There's a great loyalty here -- but it spills into other sports as well," said Iowa State fan Kent Hollrah of Denison, Iowa.

Collin Richards, also 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in Barquin's death. Police said Richards stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond on the course, where it was found after other golfers noticed her abandoned bag.

Cyclones coach Matt Campbell also wore an Iowa State golf hat on the sideline to show solidarity with his colleagues.

"Be with all of us today Celia, your legacy will forever live on & we are forever grateful for your impact. Much love from your Cyclonitas," Iowa State linebacker Willie Harvey tweeted earlier Saturday, using the nickname that Barquin had for her teammates.

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Tiger, Bryson testing each other's golf balls ahead of Paris

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 4:21 pm

ATLANTA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t arrive in Paris for next week’s matches until Monday, but one pairing already seems to be penciled into captain Jim Furyk’s lineup.

Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners, and when Furyk made both captain’s picks, it added to the notion that they would be paired during the team sessions in France. On Tuesday at East Lake, Woods and DeChambeau teed it up yet again.

Both Woods and DeChambeau play Bridgestone golf balls, although they use different models.

“The two are very similar, they are very numbers-oriented and that translates to their feel on the course, but they get fitted to two different golf balls,” said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf’s ball-fitting manager.

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Woods plays the company’s Tour B XS, which is softer and spins more, while DeChambeau plays the Tour B X, which is designed to take spin off shots.

Although DeChambeau played a version of the company’s golf ball that was close to what Woods now plays earlier in his career, he appeared to be preparing for a pairing next week during Tuesday’s practice round.

“I’ve seen some chipping of the other’s ball during practice rounds, getting used to it,” Rehberg said. “There’s been some sharing of golf balls internally between those guys. It’s almost like the worst kept secret in golf. It seems they are going to be paired up one way or another.”

The rules for the Ryder Cup were changed in 2006. They allow for foursomes teams to change golf balls between holes but not during a hole, which explains the duo’s interest in becoming comfortable with the other’s golf ball, particularly around the green and for chip shots.