Notes GatorNation Choi WDs Big 3 Feud

By Associated PressAugust 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. -- Camilo Villegas isn't letting the PGA TOUR's playoff race distract him from a chance at his first victory.
Nope, he's got his eye on another sport entirely.
The 25-year-old Colombian is eager for the college football season to start. His sixth-ranked Florida Gators, the defending national champions, play Western Kentucky on Saturday, when Villegas will start the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship with a two-stroke lead.
'The football team's been doing pretty good. The basketball team's doing great,' he said of the defending national football champions and two-time defending basketball champions. 'It's time for a golfer to step it up.'
Villegas, who played golf at Florida before turning pro in 2004, birdied the last two holes to finish with an 8-under 63 at the TPC Boston, two strokes ahead of Mike Weir and Ryan Moore.
Although he's yet to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR, he's finished in the top three seven times and has a streak of three consecutive top-25 finishes.
Currently 46th in the playoff standings, Villegas has locked up a spot in the third round of the playoffs in Chicago next week. But he needs at least one strong finish to make it into the top 30 and qualify for the TOUR Championship.
'I don't think it's going to change much the way we play, at least the way I play,' he said. 'I mean, we have the same objective every week: Try to tee it up, try to focus on every shot, try to win a golf tournament. And I can't be thinking about points and stuff.'
K.J. Choi will take his chances in Chicago.
Choi, who finished second in The Barclays last week and is second in the playoff standings by 2,050 points, withdrew from the Deutsche Bank Championship because of lower back pain after shooting 73 in the first round. He expects to be back next week when the playoffs makes the final cuts before the TOUR Championship.
'He will definitely play the next two weeks. He just needs the time off now,' agent Michael Yim told tour officials. 'He wants to put himself in the best condition for Chicago and the TOUR Championship.'
Yim said Choi, who has had only one week off in the last month, pulled a muscle in his back while picking up one of his children in March.
'After he teed off today, on one of the first two holes, he felt the pain again in his lower back,' Yim said. 'The pain wasn't severe, but he didn't want to force it. He didn't want to play when he wasn't physically at his best.'
Choi was treated in a fitness trailer before leaving the TPC Boston, then headed home to Houston.
'His body has told him he needed some rest,' Yim said.
Phil Mickelson hit his tee shot on No. 9 well to the left and into the trees, then declared he was hitting a provisional tee shot for a lost ball.
Vijay Singh didn't appear comfortable with that ruling, believing that provisional shots -- which are used if the original is not found -- can't be used for a ball going into a hazard.
Mickelson eventually called for a ruling to clarify, although it became a moot point. He found his original shot in the trees, punched out to the rough, hit into more trees and made double bogey. But while waiting on the ruling, Singh became fairly animated talking to Tiger Woods about the provisional shot.
Part of the discussion involved Greg Norman, who was disqualified in the 2004 Honda Classic for hitting a provisional tee shot on a ball believed to have gone in a water hazard.
'I think they were just a little confused from past occurrences,' Mickelson said.
Ryan Moore has ditched the abbreviated backswing he was forced to adopt after hand surgery last year, but he may be reaping the benefits from the time he spent in pain.
Moore had an operation to repair a broken bone in his left hand last March, and by the 2006 PGA Championship he was still unable to hit the ball without pain. One day in practice he found it didn't hurt when he started his backswing with his club parallel to the ground.
'I honestly could not start with the club down on the ground,' he said after a 65 to finish two shots out of the lead. 'Something about that just relieved the pressure and the strain and made me able to swing the golf club. For a while last year that really helped.'
The technique was familiar to him because it's one of the drills he uses to keep his swing in line.
'I think it's definitely helped me swing. In the long run it's definitely helped it,' Moore said. 'It makes me have a good shoulder turn, not pick it up with my hands too much, do some really good things for my swing. I had a comfort with it, struck the ball really well when I practiced that way.'
Moore played that way for about three months, picking up three top 10 finishes and a 12th place at last year's Deutsche Bank. After resting during the winter, his hand was all better.
FedExCup points leader Steve Stricker shot 67 in the first round and has broken 70 in seven of his past eight rounds. ... Fred Funk also withdrew after an opening-round 76. He was the only player in the field to hit all 14 fairways in regulation. ... Steve Elkington needed just 20 putts in his round of 66, two shy of the tour record shared by six players. ... Vijay Singh had a 74, the ninth consecutive round in which he has failed to break par.
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    M. Jutanugarn finally joins sister in LPGA winner's circle

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 1:42 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn won the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open by two shots for her first victory in six years on the LPGA Tour, joining sister Ariya as the second siblings to win on the tour.

    The 23-year-old from Thailand shot a 3-under 68 for a 12-under 272 total Sunday at Wilshire Country Club in the tour's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

    Jutanugarn won in her 156th start after three career runner-up finishes, including at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She had 21 top-10 finishes before winning.

    Seven-time winner Ariya tied for 24th after a 70. She joined the predominantly Asian crowd to follow her older sister's final holes, crying as Moriya two-putted to close out the win.

    Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to win on the LPGA Tour.

    Hall of Famer Inbee Park shot a 68 to tie for second with Jin Young Ko (70).

    Park had opportunities, but she wasn't able to put pressure on Jutanugarn playing in the final threesome. However, Park will return to No. 1 in the world when the rankings come out Monday, knocking off top-ranked Shenshen Fang, who tied for 12th.

    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

    Jutanugarn began the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered in fulfilling the potential she first displayed as the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. After a birdie at the second hole, she reeled off nine consecutive pars before sinking birdie putts at 12 and 13.

    She overcame a tee shot that narrowly missed going out of bounds for another birdie at 15 to lead by three.

    Jutanugarn ran into trouble on the par-4 16th. Her approach landed on the green and rolled off it, stopping inches from dropping into a bunker. Her chip shot ran well past the hole and her par putt just missed catching the edge of the cup. That left her with a short putt for bogey, her first in her previous 28 holes, trimming her lead to two shots.

    Ko's tee shot on 18 landed about 4 feet from the hole, giving her a chance to cut Jutanugarn's lead to one shot with the Thai facing a long birdie attempt.

    But Ko missed, leaving Jutanugarn room to maneuver. Her birdie putt came up a couple feet short, but she calmly parred the hole to win. Ariya rushed onto the green and joined others in emptying water bottles on her sister before they embraced.

    So Yeon Ryu (68) finished fourth at 7 under. American Emma Talley (67) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) tied for fifth at 6 under, making Ji one of four South Koreans to place in the top five.

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    After Further Review: Tour players embracing new ideas

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 1:26 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On players embracing new ideas on the PGA Tour ...

    PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new.

    In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions. It’s the first time all four have been in the same field since the Tour Championship. If the laid-back event offered world-ranking points – it doesn’t, and that’s part of the appeal – the winner would have received 62 points. That’s the same as the Genesis Open.

    Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it. - Ryan Lavner

    On Moriya Jutanugarn's breakthrough win ...

    As much love as there is between the Jutanugarn sisters, it couldn’t have been easy for Moriya, watching her baby sister, Ariya, soar past her as one of the LPGA’s dominant stars the last few years. Mo, though, never betrayed an inkling of frustration or envy.

    That’s what made Mo’s breakthrough LPGA victory Sunday at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open especially meaningful for everyone who has admired Mo’s devotion to her sister. Mo was always a fixture, waiting in the wings to celebrate whenever Ariya hoisted a trophy.

    So emotions were high late Sunday, with Ariya waiting in the wings this time, with Ariya sobbing in Mo’s arms after the victory was secured. It was heartwarming for more than Apple, the mother who raised these talented, loving sisters. As always, Apple was there, too, soaking both her daughters in tears of joy. – Randall Mell

    On the tough scheduling decisions facing the PGA Tour ...

    According to multiple sources, officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation on Monday.

    While this is good news for the folks in Fort Worth, Texas, who were in danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of timing, there remain some tough decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

    If the PGA Tour’s plan is to end its season before Labor Day beginning in 2019, something must give. Currently, the Houston Open, a staple on Tour since 1946, and The National are without sponsors. When the music stops in a few weeks and the circuit announces the ’19 schedule, there’s a good chance one, or both, of those events will be the victims of bad timing. – Rex Hoggard

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    Triplett hole-out wins Legends of Golf playoff

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 12:12 am

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Kirk Triplett holed out from a bunker for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf to lift himself and partner Paul Broadhurst past Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.

    ''Well, you're trying to make it, but you know realistically it doesn't go in very often,'' Triplett said. ''You're trying to give your partner a free run at it. You don't want to hit it up there 20 feet past or do something silly. I'm just trying to hit it the right distance and get it on the right line.''

    Langer and Lehman took it in stride.

    ''You kind of learn to expect it,'' Lehman said. ''These guys out here are so good and Kirk Triplett is a magician around the greens. The odds of making that shot are probably not good, but you certainly expect him to hit a great shot and he did and it went in.''

    Lehman and Langer missed birdie putts after Triplett holed out.

    ''I kind of felt like we both hit pretty good putts, misread them, both of them,'' Lehman said. ''I hit mine probably too hard and Bernhard's was too soft, but you have to hand it to the guys who hit the shot when they have to hit it.''

    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

    Broadhurst and Triplett closed with a 6-under 48 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to match Langer and Lehman at 24 under. Langer and Lehman had a 47, playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

    The 56-year-old Triplett won his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

    ''That's a big roller-coaster - three good shots and mine, right?'' Triplett said. ''I'm feeling a little dejected walking down that fairway there, a little sheepish. To knock it in it just reminds you, this game, you know, crazy stuff.''

    Broadhurst claimed his third senior victory.

    ''I don't get too emotional, but that was something special,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said.

    Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal had a 48 to tie for third with 2017 winners Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco. Singh and Franco, the third-round leaders, shot 50.

    Mark Calcavecchia-Woody Austin (48), John Daly-Michael Allen (49), Steve Stricker-Jerry Kelly (50) and David Toms-Steve Flesch (52) tied for fifth at 20 under.

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    Mullinax (T-2) comes up short of maiden win

    By Will GrayApril 23, 2018, 12:06 am

    The Valero Texas Open saw an unheralded player break through to earn a maiden victory, but unfortunately for Trey Mullinax his day will have to wait.

    Mullinax started the final round within a shot of the lead, having fired a course-record 62 during the final round. He trailed Andrew Landry by one shot for much of the final round while racking up six birdies over his first 11 holes, but a pair of late miscues meant the former Alabama standout had to settle for a share of second place, two shots behind Landry.

    A final-round 69 marked a career-best finish for Mullinax, who is playing this season on conditional status and whose lone prior top-10 this season came after he Monday qualified for the Valspar Championship.

    "I know my game's there, I'm playing really well," Mullinax told reporters. "Give all credit to Andrew, he played really well today, rocksteady. He was putting great, hitting great shots."

    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Given time to reflect, the 26-year-old will likely look back on the final two holes where nerves appeared to get the best of him. Looking to put some pressure on Landry, Mullinax chunked his pitch on the short 17th hole into a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course.

    Then Mullinax was unable to convert a 9-foot birdie putt on the final green, which would have forced Landry to make his 8-foot par putt to avoid a playoff. Afforded the luxury of two putts for the win, Landry rolled in his par save to cement a two-shot win.

    "Made a bad bogey on 17, but just you've got to hit some bad shots," Mullinax said. "Would have liked to have got the putt on 18 to fall to put a little bit of heat on him, but this experience that I'm gaining right now is just going to help me down the road."