Lang Leads Strong Field At Futures Q-School
Don't think those facts haven't crossed the mind of at least one player in this week's field of the FUTURES Tour's annual qualifier, which runs Nov. 8-11. Brittany Lang, the former Duke University collegian who tied with amateur Morgan Pressel for runner-up honors in June at the U.S. Women's Open Championship, hopes to follow in the footsteps of Creamer and use the FUTURES Tour's 72-hole tournament as a tune-up for LPGA Q-School. The LPGA's qualifier begins on Nov. 30.
'I see it as a two-fold reason to come [to the FUTURES Tour qualifier],' said Lang, 20, of McKinney, Texas. 'I'm not guaranteed a spot on the LPGA Tour and I'll have to earn my way there, plus this tournament falls at the perfect date. I haven't played tournament golf in a while, so I'm looking forward to it.'
Lang's presence is a reflection of the new wave of young talent coursing through the various ranks of women's professional golf, said Cynthia Rihm, vice president of corporate operations for the FUTURES Golf Tour.
'Just as we had Paula Creamer in the field last year, it gives great credibility to this tournament that a player of Brittany Lang's caliber wants to assure herself an exempt spot on the FUTURES Golf Tour just in case she doesn't advance to the LPGA Tour,' said Rihm. 'This is an extremely strong field with great depth.'
But while Lang, who won the California LPGA sectional tournament in September, obviously is seeking four competitive rounds this week prior to the LPGA Final Qualifying event later in the month, she also knows what the entire field of 303 contestants know going into the FUTURES Tour's annual qualifying tournament. And that is, players must face Plan B (FUTURES Tour Qualifying) before they travel to Daytona for Plan A (LPGA Tour Qualifying).
'The scheduling of the two tournaments is difficult for players because they do have to consider Plan B before they've completed Plan A,' added Rihm. 'But if they want a career in women's professional golf, they have to make that decision and plan accordingly for the coming year.'
This week's qualifying event will be contested on three Lakeland courses -- Cleveland Heights Golf Course, Huntington Hills Golf & Country Club, and Shalimar Creek Golf & Country Club. The field will be cut after 54 holes to the low 100 players and ties. Contestants will play each course once, with the final round to be staged Friday at Cleveland Heights.
The tournament field will include Lang's former Duke teammate Liz Janangelo of West Hartford, Conn., who is a senior on the 2005 national champion Blue Devil team. In addition, the field will include: former LPGA rookie of the year Lisa (Hackney) Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England; FUTURES Tour alumna Seol-An Jeon of Seoul, South Korea, who took Christie Kerr to a seven-hole, sudden-death playoff at the 2004 LPGA Takefuji Classic; two-time Japanese Olympic beach volleyball player Yukiko Ishizaka of Kanagawa, Japan; and The Golf Channel Big Break III challengers Pamela Crikelair of Highland Beach, Fla., Cindy Miller of Silver Creek, N.Y., and Liz Uthoff of St. Louis.
Annie (Thurman) Young of Highland, Utah, who won the LPGA Florida Sectional tournament last month, already has a pass to the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament but also will be in the field of the FUTURES qualifier. Young is an All-American from Oklahoma State University.
Two members of the 2005 Rolex Junior All-America First Team will head a group of 89 amateurs registered to compete this week in FUTURES Tour qualifying. In-Bee Park of Las Vegas, a five-time Rolex Junior All-American, was the 2002 Rolex Junior Player of the Year and winner of two American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments this year. Ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek junior rankings, she won the 2002 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and was a finalist in the 2003 and 2005 U.S. Girls' Junior Championships. Angela Park, 17, of Torrance, Calif., is the nation's fourth-ranked amateur girl and was a semifinalist in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in August.
Lakeland-based Pamela Feggans of Ayr, Scotland, an NCAA Division II First-Team All-American from Florida Southern College, also is in the field alongside several other collegiate All-Americans including: Kelly Cramp of Pennington, N.J. (McDaniel College); Kelly Froelich of Athens, Ga. (University of Georgia); Ulrika Ljungman-Smith of Stockholm, Sweden (Rollins College); Audry Longo of Middletown, Conn. (Mt. Holyoke College; Lee-Anne Pace of Mosselbay, South Africa (University of Tulsa); and former NCAA Championship team member at Arizona State University, Thuhashini (Tui) Selvaratnam of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In a breakdown of ages in this year's FUTURES Tour Qualifying Tournament, 23 players are in their teens, while 208 players are in their 20s. The remaining age breakdown includes 47 players in their 30s, and 25 players age 40 and over.
Players in this year's event also represent 31 nations, with 188 players registered from the United States and the second-largest national representation coming from South Korea with 32 players, followed by 20 players from Canada and 12 from Australia.
'The diversity is clearly here with 31 nations outside the United States represented,' said Rihm. 'More and more strong young players are coming up in the ranks from throughout the world and we'll see many of them here this week.'
'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team
“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.
Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.
Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.
A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.
"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."
Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."
He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.
Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.
“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.
"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.
In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).
“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."
The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.
Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.
Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.
Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.
“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”
The problem was an expired visa.
Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.
No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.
Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.
His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.
One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.
His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.
“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”
He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.
“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”
'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.
Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.
“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”
Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.
The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.
“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”
Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.
“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”
Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.
“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”