Ochoa Surges into Share of Lead

By Associated PressMay 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Sybase ClassicCLIFTON, N.J. -- Sarah Lee presumably was long gone from the Upper Montclair Country Club by the time Lorena Ochoa finished her round Thursday in the Sybase Classic. That might have been a good thing.
 
Hours after Lee completed her morning round, the top-ranked Ochoa birdied five of her final eight holes for a 5-under 67 and a share of the second-round lead with Lee.
 
Ochoa and Lee (69) had 9-under 135 totals. Jane Park (68) was two strokes back, and Juli Inkster (68), Brittany Lincicome (71), Sherri Steinhauer (69) and Young Jo (67) followed at 5 under.
 
Ochoa, who won the Sybase last year when it was played at Wykagl Country Club in New Rochelle, N.Y., hasn't won since taking over the No. 1 ranking from Annika Sorenstam last month, though she has two top-five finishes in three tournaments.
 
On Friday, the Mexican star corrected a putting glitch on the front nine and sailed through the back nine in 5 under.
 
'I started a little bit off, but it turned out to be a good day,' Ochoa said. 'I think I was a little bit close to the ball, just a little uncomfortable there, so I had to make sure I kept a little more room on the back and swung a little bit easier.'
 
Ochoa would have grabbed the lead at the end of the day if not for a missed 5-foot birdie putt on No. 16, a 365-yard par 4. She started to pick up her play with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12, which came after a front nine in which she'd alternated birdies and bogeys. She was able to carry the momentum through the rest of her round.
 
The birdie on 12 was significant because she made a double bogey the hole Thursday.
 
'As soon as I made the birdie on No. 11, I wanted to make sure we just got a good rhythm, and making birdie just gave us a better feeling for the rest of the holes,' she said.
 
Conditions were a major variable Friday, particularly for players who teed off in the morning. Weather forecasts had called for rain and cold, and though the course stayed dry throughout the day, temperatures had barely reached the low 50s when the first threesomes went out into a persistent wind. Lee and others wore headbands to keep their ears warm, and Nina Reis even wore a wool hat and gloves.
 
'It was cold out there,' Lee said. 'I took an extra 20 minutes to warm up and my body still wasn't moving very well. But usually the weakest part of my game is playing in cold weather, so I'm pretty satisfied.'
 
As most of the gallery trailed after the threesomes featuring Ochoa and other higher-profile players when they teed off just after noon, Lee was quietly finishing her round to temporarily maintain her first-round lead.
 
Like Ochoa, Lee's big breakthrough came midway through her final nine holes. On No. 5, a 470-yard par 5, she hit a 4-iron onto the green and sank a 54-foot putt for eagle. Two holes later, she birdied No. 7 with a 27-foot uphill putt.
 
The birdie put her at 10 under, and she saved par on No. 8 with a sand wedge to 4 feet. She gave one stroke back on the par-4 ninth when she hooked her drive into the left rough and wound up missing a 15-foot putt for par.
 
Park turned professional last year after playing a year at UCLA and admitted she is unaccustomed to being near the top of a leaderboard after two rounds. She said she made a point not to check the scoreboard for other players' scores.
 
After a double bogey on No. 10, Park rebounded with an eagle on 11 and made three more birdies to finish 4 under for the day and 7 under for the tournament. Now, she comes face to face with Ochoa.
 
'It's motivating, and it's humbling too,' Park said. 'It's great to be in the same field with her and competing against her and all the other players. It's an honor, really.'
 
Jo tied Ochoa for the day's best round with a 67 on the strength of three birdies on each nine and a bogey on No. 9, a 420-yard par 4 that also was bogeyed by Lee, Ochoa and Pak.
 
Steinhauer began the day at 2 under and had just bogeyed No. 12 to drop back to 1 under when she saw Lee move to 10 under.
 
'I started thinking, 'Ugh, that's a long way off,'' Steinhauer said. 'At that point I just said, 'I can't worry about what she's doing' and just kept concentrating on my own game.'
 
The veteran found her groove midway through her round and had five birdies in a span of eight holes, culminated by a sand wedge to 3 feet on par-5 seventh.
 
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    Crenshaw pleased with reaction to Trinity Forest

    By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 12:02 am

    DALLAS – Despite the tournament debut of Trinity Forest Golf Club coming to a soggy conclusion, course co-designer Ben Crenshaw is pleased with how his handiwork stood up against the field at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Crenshaw was on property for much of the week, including Sunday when tee times were delayed by four hours as a line of storms passed through the area. While the tournament’s field lacked some star power outside of headliner Jordan Spieth, Crenshaw liked what he saw even though Mother Nature didn’t exactly cooperate.

    “We’re pleased. It’s off to a nice, quiet start, let’s say,” Crenshaw said. “The week started off very quiet with the wind. This course, we envision that you play it with a breeze. It sort of lends itself to a links style, playing firm and fast, and as you saw yesterday, when the wind got up the scores went up commensurately.”


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    That assessment was shared by Spieth, a Trinity Forest member who has become the tournament’s de facto host and spent much of his week surveying his fellow players for opinions about a layout that stands out among typical Tour stops.

    “A lot of guys said, ‘It’s grown on me day to day, I really enjoyed it as a change of pace, I had a lot of fun playing this golf course.’ Those were lines guys were using this week, and it shouldn’t be reported any differently,” Spieth said. “It was an overwhelmingly positive outlook from the players that played.”

    Crenshaw didn’t bristle as tournament leaders Aaron Wise and Marc Leishman eclipsed the mark of 20 under par, noting that he and co-designer Bill Coore simply hoped to offer a “different experience” from the usual layouts players face. With one edition in the books, he hopes that a largely positive reaction from those who made the journey will help bolster the field in 2019 and beyond.

    “To me, the guys who played here this week will go over to Fort Worth, and hopefully the field at Colonial that wasn’t here would ask questions of the people who were here,” Crenshaw said. “You hope that some good word spreads.”

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    A. Jutanugarn wins Kingsmill playoff for 8th title

    By Associated PressMay 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

    WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the second hole of a playoff Sunday to win the Kingsmill Championship for the second time in three years.

    Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 66 to match Nasa Hataoka (67) and In Gee Chun (68) at 14-under 199.

    Jutanugarn and Hataoka both birdied the first extra hole, with Chun dropping out. Hataoka putted first on the second extra hole and missed badly before Jutanugarn rolled in a 15-footer for her eighth career victory. The 22-year-old Thai star's older sister, Moriya, won the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in Los Angeles in April for her first LPGA Tour victory


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    Jutanugarn started the day two shots behind Chun and had a two-shot lead before making bogey at the par-5 15th. Hataoka, playing with Chun in the final threesome, birdied No. 15 to join Jutanugarn at 14 under, and Chun made a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th to also get to 14 under.

    The tournament was cut from 72 holes to 54 when rain washed out play Saturday.

    Brooke Henderson closed with a 65 to finish a shot back. Megan Khang was fifth after her third straight 67.

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    Jimenez wins first Champions major at Tradition

    By Associated PressMay 20, 2018, 9:32 pm

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Miguel Angel Jimenez finally got to light up a victory cigar after winning a senior major championship.

    Jimenez won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first PGA Tour Champions major title, closing with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. He celebrated with a big embrace from fellow Spaniard and two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who hoisted him in the air.

    After a round of photos and speeches from local dignitaries, Jimenez finally got to break out the celebratory cigar.

    ''It's time to have a medal in my pocket and it's nice to be on the first major of the year,'' he said.

    Jimenez held or shared the lead after every round, taking a three-shot edge into the final round at Greystone Golf & Country Club. The Spaniard finished at 19-under 269 for his fifth PGA Tour Champions victory.

    ''It's been a wonderful week,'' he said. ''My game was amazing, really.''


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    Steve Stricker, Joe Durant and Gene Sauers tied for second.

    It was the third time Jimenez had entered the final round of a senior major with at least a share of the lead but the first one he has pulled out. He tied for third at the 2016 Senior British Open and for second at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.

    Durant and Sauers finished with matching 69s, and Stricker shot 70.

    Jimenez birdied two of the final three holes including a closing putt for good measure.

    Jimenez entered the day at 17 under to tie Gil Morgan's 21-year-old Tradition record through 54 holes. He got off to a rough start with an errant tee shot into a tree-lined area on his way to a bogey, but he never lost his grip on the lead.

    Jimenez had three bogeys after making just one over the first three rounds, but easily held off his challengers late.

    His approach on No. 18 landed right in the center of the green after Stricker's shot sailed well right into the gallery. He had rebuilt a two-stroke lead with a nice birdie putt on No. 16 while Durant and Stricker each had a bogey among the final three holes to leave Jimenez with a more comfortable cushion.

    Stricker and Durant both had par on the final hole while Sauers also birdied to tie them. Durant had produced two eagles on No. 18 already in the tournament but couldn't put pressure on Jimenez with a third.

    Stricker's assessment of his own performance, including a bogey on No. 17, was that he ''made quite a few mistakes.''

    ''Just didn't take care of my ball, really,'' he said. ''I put it in some bad spots, didn't get it up and down when I had to a few times, missed a few putts. Yeah, just didn't have it really, didn't play that good, but still had a chance coming down to the end.''

    Jeff Maggert finished with a 64 and was joined at 15 under by Scott McCarron (67) and Duffy Waldorf (66).

    Jimenez made a birdie putt on No. 16 one hole after falling into a tie with Stricker with a bogey. Durant faltered, too, with a bogey on No. 16.

    ''When (Stricker) made birdie and I make a bogey on the 15th, everything's going up again very tight,'' Jimenez said. ''It's time to hole a putt on 16, for me that makes all the difference.''

    Stricker had two wins in his first four senior tour events this year and remains second on the money list. He has finished in the top five in each of his events.

    Bernhard Langer finished five strokes off the lead in his bid to become the first to win the Tradition three straight years. He shot 66-67 over the final two rounds after a slow start.