Jeong Still Leads Prange Close

By Futures Tour MediaSeptember 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
Duramed Futures TourALBANY, N.Y. -- Their stomachs are already grinding and they are doing their best to call Sunday's final round of the $85,000 ILOVENY Championship anything but what it is.
It is the final round of the final event in the Duramed FUTURES Tour's 19-tournament season. But for players hoping for a strong finish or a hard-fought win on Sunday, it is the last dash for one of the coveted 2007 LPGA Tour cards awarded to the top five season money winners.
'This is an important time for everyone,' said Ji Min Jeong of Kyungki, Korea, who broke a three-way tie for the lead with a 25-foot birdie putt on the last hole today to grab the lead at 134 (-8). 'I'm nervous a little bit and happy too, for a chance to win.'
Jeong, who also led after the first round, fired a 3-under-par 68 today at Capital Hills at Albany. And with Danielle Downey (68) of Spencerport, N.Y., and Meaghan Francella (67) of Port Chester, N.Y., finishing tied for second one shot back at 135 (-7), Jeong admitted there's not much breathing room in such a tight race.
'I saw the scoreboard at the 18th hole with three players tied at seven under and I said, 'If I make this putt, I'll player easier tomorrow,'' she said.
Or is that, sleep easier tonight?
'We were all pretty wound up today,' said Francella, who drained her own 15-footer for birdie on the last hole to move into a tie for second with Downey. 'There's a lot at stake here and it's all coming down to this. But I'm rolling the ball well and I'm just trying to win.'
For a better idea of how Sunday's final-round stress fest will begin, consider that in the last two pairings of players, No. 9 Hye Jung Choi of Seoul, Korea, No. 7 Allison Fouch of Grand Rapids, Mich., and No. 6 Ashley Prange of Noblesville, Ind., will play together. Prange (67), Fouch (69) and Choi (69) are tied at 137 (-5) and all are hoping to reshuffle the Tour's money list and unseat No. 4 Kristy McPherson of Conway, S.C., and No. 5 Angela Park of Torrance, Calif. After two rounds, McPherson is tied for 36th at 145 (+3) and Park is tied for 13th at 141 (-1). A mere $103 separates fifth-ranked Park from sixth-ranked Prange with one round to play.
'We're all very, very aware of what's going on, but I'm trying to win a tournament and I've been trying to do that all year,' said Fouch, a two-time runner-up this season who is $223 behind sixth-ranked Prange. 'There are at least four of us gunning for that fifth spot.'
And in the final pairing is Downey, ranked 27th, alongside No. 8 Francella and No. 31st Jeong. Both Jeong and Francella have won this season, but only Francella has a chance to crack the top five. The New Yorker admitted that she had to force herself not to get too sidetracked in today's pairing alongside Fouch and Choi, who also can move into the top five with a win this weekend.
'It would have really been easy for Allison, Choi and I to get into a battle between ourselves today, but this is not match play,' said Francella, who carded five birdies and one bogey. 'I made myself stay in the present and I'll try to do the same thing tomorrow.'
But while the race for the five LPGA Tour cards weighs on everyone's mind, there is, of course, still a tournament to be won. Downey, whose last win came in 2004, moved another step closer to winning with her round that included four birdies and one bogey on a day in which she used 27 putts to move into a share of second on the 6,121-yard course.
'I've been putting well for a while and when you're burning the edges of the cup, they will start to fall,' Downey said.
On top of the already frayed nerves, players could have been rocked out of their routines today when afternoon thunderstorms suspended play twice. The first 46-minute suspension came at 2:45 p.m., with play resuming at 3:31 p.m. The second 47-minute suspension came at 5:39 p.m., with play resuming at 6:26 p.m. After the first delay, Downey returned to the course and birdied No. 8. After the second delay, she returned to birdie No. 16.
'I'm just one shot back -- same as yesterday, so I'll try to be aggressive,' Downey said. 'Why not go for it all?'
And while others admit to wrestling for a few winks of sleep this week, Jeong, who says she sleeps well 'anywhere, anytime,' hopes she can continue to approach each hole and each round as if it were her 'first hole or first round.'
'It's like starting over again on each hole or each day,' said Jeong. 'That's a good mind game. I will try to play like I did on Friday and today, and just play with what I have.'
Seventy-one players made the 36-hole cut at 151 (+9) on the par-71 course.
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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.