Wie Three Back Annika Reeling

By Associated PressMarch 26, 2004, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Dottie Pepper, a two-time champion, carded a 2-under 70 on Friday to share the second-round lead with Jung Yeon Lee at the LPGA Tour's first major of 2004, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
Lee, who posted a 3-under 69 in the second round, and Pepper are tied at 6-under-par 138 at Mission Hills Country Club.
 
Former champion Karrie Webb (71), overnight leader Aree Song (73) and Wendy Doolan (69) share third place. The trio is knotted at 5-under-par 139, one shot behind the co-leaders.
 
Friday's rounds lasted over six hours and Lee's playing partners, Nanci Bowen and Heather Daly-Donofrio, who were the last group, elected to mark their putts on 18 instead of finishing. Those two will return to the course at 9:45 AM (ET) Saturday, then the 36-hole cut and the third round.
 
Annika Sorenstam stated at the beginning of this 2004 campaign that one of her goals was to win the single-season Grand Slam. That is in serious jeopardy as she struggled to a 4-over 76 and is tied for 37th place at 3 over par for the championship.
 
'There's two days and I've come back from further behind in one day,' said Sorenstam, who won this title in 2001-02.
 
Michelle Wie, who played in the last group on Sunday in last year's event, managed an even-par 72 on Friday and is part of a group in seventh place at 3-under-par 141.
 
'I'm happy I shot even-par because it could have been worse,' acknowledged Wie, who played in the Sony Open in Hawaii on the PGA Tour earlier this season.
 
It was a difficult day for most as cooler temperatures and higher winds made the round different from Thursday, when it was warm and relatively calm.
 
Wie tallied three bogeys and three birdies in her round on Friday, but her putting was suspect. At the first, she missed the green, then two-putted from nine feet. She also two-putted for bogeys from eight feet and 15 feet at the eighth and 17th holes, respectively.
 
Wie, 14, collected a pair of birdies in a three-hole span starting at the fourth, then reached the green in two and two-putted for birdie from 30 feet at the 11th.
 
Wie is now five strokes ahead of her pace from last year, when she tied for ninth.
 
'I'm happy with that,' said Wie. 'This year's conditions feel a lot harder than last year, where it was perfect conditions. This year it's a little windy and I'm very proud of myself.'
 
While Wie is one of the big stories this week, she still has ground to make up on the leaders.
 
Pepper, who won this event in 1992 and 1999, began the round two shots behind Song and wasted little time in cutting into the deficit. Pepper reached the green in two at the par-5 second and two-putted from 45 feet for birdie.
 
Pepper tallied her second birdie of the round at the fourth hole when she knocked a 4-iron to 25 feet and canned the putt. She parred her next five holes before a 25-foot birdie putt at the 10th took her to 7 under par for the championship.
 
Her first miscue of the round came at the par-4 12th. Pepper missed the green with a 5-iron at the 385-yard hole and hit a poor chip that stopped 12 feet from the hole. She missed the par-saving putt, but was still atop the leaderboard.
 
Pepper hit a spectacular shot at the par-3 17th that finished four feet past the hole. The putt had a lot of break and with the wind howling, Pepper missed the short putt.
 
Pepper was not able to birdie the par-5 closing hole, but this is still a huge step. She missed basically all of the 2002 season after shoulder surgery and last year battled a painful sinus condition that kept her out of action for most of the year.
 
'More than anything, I'm happy to be healthy,' said Pepper, who still owns the tournament scoring record at 19-under-par 269 when she won in '99. 'I needed to keep playing and then you come to a tournament like this, where it's not a birdie fest and where the conditions are tough and it played right into what my preparation had been.'
 
Lee, a 25-year-old Korean, birdied her first three holes and added a fourth birdie on her front side at the seventh. Things came apart a bit for Lee on the back nine as she missed a five-footer for par at the 14th and drove into the rough en route to another bogey at 16.
 
Lee hit a 5-iron to seven feet which set up birdie at No. 17. Now tied with Pepper, Lee was the only member of her playing trio to finish up the 18th.
 
'I don't want to wait until tomorrow morning so I just kept playing,' said Lee. 'Everything is fine. I'm chipping well, my putting was very good and my driver was pretty far and straight.'
 
Rosie Jones is alone in sixth place at minus-4, followed by Wie, Grace Park (69) and Mi-Hyun Kim (70), who are tied at 3-under-par 141.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Kraft Nabisco Championship

  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship
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    Slump over? Sergio had 'very positive week' in Portugal

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:14 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Sergio Garcia’s late commitment to the Portugal Masters may have given him the boost he needed for the Ryder Cup.

    After failing to qualify for the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs, Garcia told European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn that he’d add the European Tour event in Portugal if he were selected to the team as a wildcard pick.

    Garcia made good on his promise, and last week he tied for seventh – his best worldwide finish since March.

    “I was very pleased the way I played,” he said. “I think I played very, very nicely throughout the whole week, which was nice. It felt like it was a very positive week.”

    There hadn’t been many positive weeks throughout the year for Garcia, who has slipped from 10th to 28th in the world rankings. The 2017 Masters champion missed the cut in all four majors and struggled with inconsistency.

    Still, Garcia was selected to the European team, and Bjorn often cited Garcia’s intangibles – his familiarity with foursomes, his presence in the team room – in justifying his pick.

    Even Garcia conceded Wednesday that his selection had more to do with experience than form.

    “That’s probably, to be totally honest, one of the reasons why the vice captains and the captain decided to have me on the team,” he said, “not only for what I can bring on the golf course, but what I can bring outside.”

    Garcia may have found the spark that his game desperately needed. Six of his past eight rounds have been in the 60s, and he has shot a combined 27 under par during those two starts.

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    McIlroy: Tiger is just one of 12 at Ryder Cup

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 7:59 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods might be the biggest star in golf, but Rory McIlroy views him as just one of 12 this week at the Ryder Cup.

    “We’re not looking at any individuals,” he said Wednesday. “We’re just trying to beat the U.S. team. It’s great what he did on Sunday. But to focus on one player is silly, especially when I might not even see him this week at any point this week because I mightn’t be on the course with him or play against him. …

    “We’re looking to beat the U.S. team. We’re not looking to just beat Tiger Woods.”

    McIlroy had a front-row seat to Woods’ first victory in more than five years on Sunday. Playing in the final group at the Tour Championship, McIlroy struggled with his driver en route to a final-round 74 and disappointing tie for seventh.

    Asked whether there was any element of intimidation at East Lake, McIlroy replied: “That East Lake rough was really tough, yeah. That was the most intimidating part about it. Started hitting a few drives left and right early, and I didn’t actually have quite a good view from the trees on Sunday. I couldn’t really see what was happening too much.”

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    U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

    The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.

    Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.

    "It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.

    Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.

    Singles results

    Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3

    Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up

    Match 3 —  Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)

    Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2

    Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2

    Match 6 —  Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1

    Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up

    Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up

    Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 10 —  Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)

    Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up

     

    TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

    Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

    Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

    Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

     This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.

     

    -NBC Sports Group-