Rookie Ahn Aims for Repeat

By Lpga Tour MediaOctober 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 CJ Nine Bridges ClassicJEJU ISLAND, South Korea -- What a difference a year makes.
At this time last year, the name Shi Hyun Ahn didn't carry much clout, if any, in LPGA circles. She was an unproven rookie on the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour and had never played in an LPGA event. Today, all of that has changed, as the talented 20-year-old has already secured the 2004 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, is 17th on the ADT Official Money List and is about to defend her first-career tournament.
Ahn and the rest of the LPGA Tour return to South Korea this week for the $1.35 million CJ Nine Bridges Classic Presented by Sports Today. In 2003, Ahn prevailed as the unlikely winner of the limited-field event, which features a mix of LPGA and KLPGA stars, and earned LPGA membership. And her LPGA performance to date has not disappointed.
Ahn began the year with back-to-back top-five finishes and has recorded a total of 12 top-20 finishes in 22 events. Her consistent play earned the young player Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors, making her the fourth Korean player to win the award in the past seven years.
This week she looks to get back into the winner's circle, but it will not be easy as the best players in the world will try stop her. Annika Sorenstam has been Ahn's biggest roadblock from victory this year. The Swede won both events-the McDonald's LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola and the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic presented by Ford-where Ahn finished as the runner-up. Sorenstam makes her first appearance in the CJ Nine Bridges Class Presented by Sports Today since 2002.
Sorenstam has been the most dominant golfer in the game for several years now and shows no sign of relinquishing her top spot anytime soon. The LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member has won six of her 15 LPGA starts this year and has only finished outside of the top 10 twice, both times tying for 13th.
Lorena Ochoa, who ranks second on the ADT Official Money List and was the
2003 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, is also sure to be a factor.
The young star has won twice this year and is a top-10 machine. In her 23 starts, she has 17 top-10 finishes, which includes stretches of six and eight consecutive top 10s.
Ochoa is one of the most aggressive players in the game, leading the Tour in birdies with 380 (Jeong Jang is a distant second with 350) and is second in eagle with 17. She ranks in the top 10 in every statistical category except putting (17th) and driving accuracy (75th). Her scoring average of 69.88 is second on Tour to Sorenstam (68.93) and makes them the only two players with an average under 70.
Grace Park leads a contingency of Korean players looking to win in their native country. Park, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March, has 10 top-three finishes this year in 20 events. Outside of her win, she has six runner-up finishes, including the last two events, and has placed third three times.
Last year, Ahn became the sixth-youngest tournament winner in LPGA history after posting rounds of 65-71-68=204 (-12) to top 2002 champion Se Ri Pak, Grace Park, Gloria Park and Laura Davies by three shots.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - CJ Nine Bridges Classic
  • Getty Images

    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

    Getty Images

    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

    Getty Images

    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.