Ochoa Wins Wraps Up POY

By Sports NetworkNovember 12, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Mitchell Co. Tournament of ChampionsMOBILE, Ala. -- Lorena Ochoa knew what she needed to do Sunday to win the Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions. A solid round would give her a sixth win of the season.
Ochoa responded. The Mexican fired a stellar 7-under 65 to romp to a 10-stroke win, a record winning margin for this event. She finished at 21-under-par 267, which is a new tournament scoring record. It was also Ochoa's third straight win.
With the win, Ochoa earns her first Player of the Year award. Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb combined to win 10 of the last 11 Player of the Year awards. Other than Sorenstam and Webb, Ochoa is the first woman since 1996 to win Player of the Year.
'It's kind of hard to describe. After what happened on Friday on my first hole, it was a big challenge and a big thing,' said Ochoa, who started with a double-bogey on Friday. 'I was just trying to keep myself in a good position in the tournament. Winning the tournament was very special. I think this is going to be a place I will remember for the rest of my life and just achieving my goal of being the best player in 2006. It was a great day today.'
Juli Inkster closed with a 4-under 68 to join Paula Creamer in second place at 11-under-par 277. Creamer closed with a 70.
Angela Stanford also shot 70 on Sunday to take fourth at minus-7. Joo Mi Kim managed a 72 in the final round to end alone in fifth at 4-under-par 284 at Magnolia Grove Crossings Course.
Ochoa, who has struggled in the past at closing tournaments, made sure this would not be close. She two-putted for birdie on the par-5 fourth and made it two straight with a tap-in birdie on five.
The Mexican also birdied the sixth to make it three in a row. Those birdies moved her to 17 under par. Ochoa made her only mistake on the par-3 eighth. She bogeyed that hole for the second straight day as she was unable to get up and down for par from a bunker.
Ochoa quickly atoned for that error with a 15-foot birdie putt on nine. Around the turn, she pulled away from the field. She birdied No. 11 and came right back with her fourth birdie in four days at the 12th.
The 24-year-old made it three in a row with a birdie on the par-5 13th. Ochoa went on to birdie 15 as well. She closed with three straight pars to finish at minus-21, breaking Se Ri Pak's tournament record of 268, which was set in 2002.
'I was glad it was Friday and that it happened on the first hole,' said Ochoa, who earned $150,000 for the win, of her double-bogey at the first on Friday. 'It didn't make me mad... It was just the beginning, just the start, and I thought, no problem. So I challenged myself and I tried really hard and worked really hard and it ended up being good.'
Creamer got as close as anyone to Ochoa on Sunday. Creamer posted three front- nine birdies to move to 12 under. She also birdied the 11th to remain five behind Ochoa.
As Ochoa kept making birdies, Creamer cooled off. She tripped to bogeys on 12 and 14 to slip back to 11 under. Creamer closed with four pars to join her Solheim Cup teammate, Inkster, in second place.
'The last three holes I had some big putts to make to get second on my own,' admitted Creamer. 'I knew that going on to the 16th. I am pleased with how I played. I started off real strong on the front nine today. I put some pressure on Lorena, but she has been playing awesome so what are you going to do.'
Inkster stumbled to a bogey on the first. She bounced back with an eagle on the fourth to move to minus-eight. After five straight pars, the Hall-of-Famer posted consecutive birdies from the 13th. Inkster notched her final birdie on 16 to finish at minus-11.
Dorothy Delasin struggled to a two-over 74 Sunday. She ended in a share of sixth place alongside the last two Women's British Open champions Jeong Jang (68) and Sherri Steinhauer (70). Cristie Kerr and Soo-Yun Kang both closed with rounds of three-under 69 to share ninth at minus-two.
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 9:20 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

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    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

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    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.