Song-Hee Kim Jiyai Shin tied for Samsung lead

By Associated PressSeptember 18, 2009, 4:53 am
2006 Samsung World Championship SAN DIEGO –   They’d all watched on TV as Tiger Woods claimed his epic win in the U.S. Open last year. Starting Thursday, 20 elite LPGA golfers got their turn to try to tame Torrey Pines.

Not only did they recognize the place, but they had an easier go of it in the opening round of the Samsung World Championship. There were favorable pin placements, the wind stayed down on the blufftop municipal course overlooking the Pacific Ocean and, of course, there was less yardage to play on the normally tough South Course.

Song-Hee Kim and Jiyai Shin of South Korea each shot a 6-under 66 to share the lead.

Kim was the runner-up in this tournament last year, losing by one stroke to Paula Creamer at Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Kim started strong, with five birdies in her first eight holes on the South Course. Shin, coming off her tour-leading third victory of the year at the NW Arkansas Championship, had four birdies on the back nine.

Paula Creamer Samsung Championship
Defending champion Paula Creamer shot an opening 69 Thursday at Torrey Pines. (Getty Images)

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa of Mexico and Sophie Gustafson of Sweden were one stroke behind the leaders on a perfect, calm day.

Shin even had a Tiger moment on the par-5, 480-yard 18th. She said she couldn’t reach the green in two shots during two practice rounds, but the pin was moved forward 18 yards on Thursday and she reached in two, then two-putted for birdie.

“So last year Tiger won, I watched on the TV, and then he made a great birdie,” she said, recalling the hole where Woods made a 12-foot birdie on the final hole to force an 18-hole playoff with Rocco Mediate, then made a 4-foot birdie in the playoff the next day to force sudden death.

Kim said she had an “easy birdie. So I was really surprised. It’s an easy 18 holes.”

Gustafson had an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys.

“Well, I certainly recognize most of the holes, for example the seventh,” she said. “That’s where they finished the U.S. Open, and they must have been, you know, way back.”

Eleven players were under par and three were even. The main reasons were the lack of wind and pin placements, Ochoa said.

“It’s set up for a low day. I’m just glad I took advantage of that and I am right there where I should be,” Ochoa said. “You never know, tomorrow the wind gets a little more and the combination with tough pin placements, maybe even par is a great round.”

Yardage was listed at 6,721, but some holes were shortened, particularly some of the par-5s.

By comparison, the U.S. Open scorecard read 7,643 yards, but the course actually played between 7,400 and 7,500 yards because the tee boxes were switched up every day.

“I think we all watched the U.S. Open, and we hear so many good things about this course,” Ochoa said. “For all of us it was a new place. So I guess that’s fair and even for everybody.”

This is the LPGA's first stop in San Diego since 1993 and the first at Torrey Pines since the 1983 Inamori Classic.

Ai Miyazato of Japan and Juli Inkster were tied for fifth at 68. Inkster, a three-time winner, received an exemption.

Creamer was seventh with a 3-under 69. She’s still looking for her first win of the season after battling a mystery illness. She said she got sick after going to Mexico in November for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, and that doctors weren’t able to figure out what was wrong.

Ochoa, playing with Creamer, bogeyed the par-4 No. 1 after driving into a bunker, then picked up the pace with birdies on four of the last five holes on the front nine.

Ochoa finished her round with a two-putt birdie on the 480-yard 18th.

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.