RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. Alison Lee certainly can attest to the ebb-and-flow nature of competitive golf. Lee says her game left her last month, and she cited that poor play as the reason for her withdrawal from the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which begins Thursday.
“Every year I always go through this little phase where I lose the feel for my game,” said Lee, who has signed to play for UCLA in the fall.
Lee was one of nine amateurs granted a coveted sponsor exemption into this event. She was not replaced in the Kraft field.
Lee earned her Kraft spot last year in an early-week 18-hole junior qualifier hosted by the Southern California Golf Association. It was the fourth LPGA major start of her career. Last summer, she qualified for and made the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The top-ranked girl in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, Lee already has been to the bottom of the game and back. She slumped hard in 2011, withdrawing before the end of the PGA Junior Championship and finishing last in stroke-play qualifying at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In 2012, Lee won two AJGA invitationals, was runner-up at the U ...
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – After 18 holes with Angel Yin on Tuesday, LPGA legend Donna Caponi was searching for words.
“She’s awesome,” Caponi said, incredulous head shake included.
The 14-year-old Yin shot 5-under 67 on Tuesday at Mission Hills’ Arnold Palmer course and earned the final spot in the Kraft Nabisco Championship field, courtesy of the Southern California Junior Golf Association’s Legacy Junior Challenge. Thirty area juniors were granted a spot in the qualifier, and divided into 10 threesomes. Each group was accompanied by a former Kraft Nabisco champion, and the two best balls were scored from each group to make up a team component. Yin’s round played a big role in Caponi Team victory, which meant Caponi received $10,000 to donate to the charity of her choice, the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Caponi, who won the Kraft in 1980, spent the day reading greens for her players, and talking them around the golf course. She got them to focus on the trouble, and then avoid finding it.
“They learned a lot,” she said, and that includes life lessons.
Caponi, who grew up in Los Angeles and now lives off the 11th green of Mission Hills’ Dinah ...
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Stacy Lewis walked into the Holiday Inn Express here in the desert, and the guy at the front desk asked if she was here to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Lewis confirmed.
“Wait a second ...,” the man said.
Yes, she’s that player. The current World No. 1. The woman who stayed at that same hotel in 2011 and won her first tournament (a major, no less).
So much has changed since then, yet she’s still lugging her own suitcase to a modest hotel room for a modest rate. There’s nothing flashy here, folks.
Lewis, who rose to No. 1 several weeks ago in Phoenix, called her life since then “chaos.”
“I expected it, but it was a little bit overwhelming,” she said.
Lewis went toe-to-toe with Yani Tseng here two years ago and kick-started a whirlwind ride to the top. She now has won seven LPGA events and a Rolex Player of the Year trophy. She’s as poised and well-spoken as they come in the media room. The new face of the LPGA.
“I guess I'm just more comfortable with who I am and more comfortable being in front of people ...
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – In one category at least, Moriya Jutanugarn’s young professional career is perfect. Jutanugarn, 18, hasn’t missed a cut in five LPGA events played so far this year. She doesn’t just lead her rookie class in earnings, she’s banked more than three times the amount of any other rookie. Jutanugarn just says the hard part is over.
“When you play junior golf, the Q-School is what’s so hard. When I passed that step so fast, it felt like . . . real,” Jutanugarn said, struggling to find a word to express the feeling. She was co-medalist at LPGA Q-School in the fall.
At 5 feet 2 inches, Jutanugarn still is among the most physically unimposing players in the field. In other ways, she’s blossoming before our eyes. She’s one of only four rookies in the Kraft Nabisco field.
Jutanugarn played her first LPGA pro-am when the season made its domestic debut at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup. The next week, at the Kia Classic, Jutanugarn shadowed 31-time LPGA winner Juli Inkster during the pro-am.
“She’s a good big sister,” Jutanugarn said of Inkster.
The best piece of advice Jutanugarn took ...
PHOENIX -- Meg Mallon texted Judy Rankin when I.K. Kim had a clean-up putt to win the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“I love this kid,” Mallon told Rankin, who was working in the Golf Channel booth that week. “I love her swing. I love everything about her. I’m so happy for her that she won.”
And then, Kim did the unthinkable. She missed the 14-inch putt.
“Oh, my God. I did the cardinal sin,” said Mallon, who quickly fired off a text to Kim, telling her that she accepted full responsibility for sending the golf gods in the wrong direction.
Reacting to the violent lip-out, Kim put her hand to her mouth in disbelief, then covered her ears as she walked off the green.
“A lot of players would’ve thrown their clubs in the trunk and been out of there,” said Stacy Lewis, who became the No. 1-ranked women’s player after victory March 17 in the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. “She was probably the only person who could’ve handled it.”
One year later, Kim – who lost to Beatriz Recari in a playoff at last week’s Kia Classic after three-putting the 18th green twice – faces ...
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – If the Kraft Nabisco Championship truly is the LPGA equivalent of the Masters – it’s the first major of the season, and played on a recurring venue at the beginning of April – then it could use an early-week tradition comparable to the par-3 contest that takes place at Augusta National on the eve of the first round.
As Monday night’s pairings party got under way at Mission Hills, an emcee made a suggestion for one, though it had a decidedly different feel than Masters Wednesday. It’s called the EA Sports LPGA Shootout, and featured five two-person teams consisting of a celebrity and an LPGA player, all playing EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2014 video game. Each team was a two-person best ball, and the LPGA lineup included Natalie Gulbis, Jessica Korda, World No. 1 Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, Annika Sorenstam, Lexi Thompson, Beatriz Recari and Michelle Wie.
During the event, which backed up to the party, music blared and a crowd formed around three flat-screen TVs to the side of the room. Gulbis and celebrity partner Anthony Anderson made it to the finals and played against Michelle Wie and Bruce Jenner. They played the ...
Here are their picks to win, to surprise and an amateur that could make some noise in the season's first major:
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Beth Ann Baldry
Winner: Stacy Lewis, the World No. 1 and undisputed favorite to once again jump into Poppie’s Pond. Lewis, the 2011 Kraft champion, has six top-11 finishes in her last eight major starts. She has won twice already in 2013 and seems poised to handle the pressure that comes with being the one to watch. And to prove that nothing has changed, Lewis and her family are back at the same Holiday Inn Express.
Dark horse: Gerina Piller, the late-bloomer from Texas, has the tools to get it done this week. One of the longest players on tour, Piller won’t have an issue out of the rough at Mission Hills. Piller, who tied for sixth at last year’s Wegmans LPGA Championship, began working with Angela Stanford’s instructor, Mike Wright, earlier in the year. Wright said that when she and husband Martin Piller (a ...
Ariya Jutanugarn didn’t take long to announce her presence on the Ladies European Tour.
The Thai teenager got her professional career off to the best possible start with victory in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Agadir, Morocco, in just her fourth LET start.
In fact, the tournament turned into a tale of two teenagers. Seventeen-year-old Jutanugarn began the final round one shot behind 16-year-old English Curtis Cup player Charley Hull, but didn’t take long to get to the top of the leaderboard.
After a third-round 64, Hull lost the lead on the opening hole of the final round when she hit her approach shot over the first green and found her ball in a deep hole in a sandy waste area. She called for a rules official, but was not entitled to relief since there was no evidence of a burrowing animal.
The Curtis Cup star had to hole a 15-foot putt to salvage a bogey. She added a second bogey at the eighth hole to be out in 2-over 37. However, she managed two birdies on the homeward stretch for a level-par 71 to finish at 11 under, three shots behind Jutanugarn in a tie with Beth ...
ORLANDO, Fla. Beatriz Recari was seated in a Golf Channel studio early Thursday morning, looking like the picture of elegance in her demure lace dress. A solitary pearl dangled from each ear.
It’s hard to imagine this toned athlete ever struggling with body image, but that’s precisely why the Spaniard wants to help: Eating disorders can happen to anyone.
“If only I can help one person, that would be enough,” Recari said by phone. She was named the official ambassador for The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness days before she prevailed in a playoff at the LPGA's Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif. She celebrated by having a sandwich in the airport before catching the red-eye. When she got back home to Orlando, Recari and boyfriend/caddie Andreas Thorp joined her mother Monday for a celebratory lunch at Graeme McDowell’s new restaurant, Nona Blue. Recari particularly enjoyed the crispy calamari.
One of the most consistent players on the LPGA, Recari notched her second career victory amid a streak of 38 made cuts. In 2013, she tied for fourth in Australia, tied for third in Thailand and, after a T-24 in Singapore, prevailed against I.K. Kim in ...
It took two extra holes on Sunday evening at the Kia Classic, but Beatriz Recari earned her second career LPGA victory with a birdie on her third trip down Aviara Golf Club’s par-4 18th hole.
Here are 5 Things to know from the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif.:
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1. THIRD TIME IS A CHARM: Recari held the third-round lead at the Kia Classic, but gave up her two-shot advantage as the final round wore on. She had three bogeys and one birdie in her final-round 74. The leaderboard fluctuated throughout the day, but I.K. Kim was the only other player left at 10 under as she made her way down 18 in the penultimate group.
Kim struggled with her putting late in the round, and bogeyed Nos. 11, 12 and 13. She birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to remain in contention, but missed an 8-footer for par at No. 18 to drop to 9-under 279 for the tournament.
When Recari also bogeyed the 18th to finish at 279, the two players were driven back to the 18th tee to play off. They hit nearly identical approach shots to the left fringe, and both bogeyed from there. Recari holed ...
CARLSBAD, Calif. — Beatriz Recari drove the green on the 285-yard 16th hole to set up a 4-foot eagle putt and finished with a 3-under 69 on Saturday for a two-stroke lead in the Kia Classic.
Recari, the 25-year-old Spaniard who won her lone LPGA Tour title in 2010, had an 11-under 205 total at Aviara Golf Club.
Hall of Famer Karrie Webb was second after a 70. Winless since the 2011 Founders Cup in Phoenix, Webb dropped strokes with bogeys on Nos. 13 and 17.
Paula Creamer and I.K. Kim were three shots back. Creamer had a 71, and Kim shot 70.
Stacy Lewis, playing her first event since taking the No. 1 spot in the world from Yani Tseng with a victory last week in Phoenix, was four strokes back after a 69. Trying to win her third straight tournament, Lewis had an eagle on the par-5 eighth.
CARLSBAD, Calif. – Put Paula Creamer in a car these days and she's a mess after sustaining minor injuries in a high-speed crash a month ago in Bangkok.
Driving on a golf course is much kinder to Creamer, who shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to trail Beatriz Recari by one stroke after two rounds of the Kia Classic at Aviara.
Recari shot a bogey-free 67 for a two-round total of 8-under 136. Creamer was tied with Karrie Webb.
Creamer shot a 68 and Webb a 70 on the hilly, 6,593-yard Aviara course designed by Arnold Palmer.
First-round leader Jane Park shot a 69 and was tied at 6 under with Cristie Kerr, I.K. Kim, Inbee Park and Haeji Kang.
Stacy Lewis, playing her first tournament as the world's top-ranked player, carded her second straight 70 and was four strokes off the lead.
On cold mornings, Creamer said she still feels discomfort in her neck and shoulder. She was in the fifth group to tee off on No. 10 Friday morning and did just fine on Aviara's hills and big greens.
"My shoulder starts to bug me a little bit, but overall, I feel a lot ...
CARLSBAD, Calif. — Stacy Lewis got to enjoy the perks of being atop the world rankings, including being announced as No. 1 on the first tee and seeing her caddie wearing the special bib.
She birdied her first three holes in the Kia Classic and then, well, didn't quite play up to her top billing.
Lewis, who took over the No. 1 ranking from Yani Tseng after winning the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix on Sunday, shot a 2-under 70 and was four shots behind leader Jane Park at Aviara.
Park, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga and went to UCLA, shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over Caroline Hedwall and Karrie Webb.
"It was a little frustrating," Lewis said. "I definitely didn't hit the ball the way I would have liked today, but I made some really good putts and putted this type of greens better than I've ever putted them before. I'm excited about that but I've just got to work a little on the swing."
Lewis is trying to win her third straight tournament.
"Every time you win you come back the next week on Thursday. It doesn't matter anymore ...
Yani Tseng overslept on Wednesday and missed her 9:10 pro-am tee time. As a result, Tseng was withdrawn from the Kia Classic, per LPGA regulations. Tseng, who lost her World No.1 ranking last week to Stacy Lewis, was the defending champion at Kia. She is traveling this week without manager Naya Hsu, who is typically by Tseng’s side. Hsu is back in Taiwan on business.
“I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,” Tseng said in a statement. “I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No. 1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake and I want to apologize to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans.”
Tseng will compete next in two weeks at the year’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Beth Ann Baldry contributed to this report
Two days after Stacy Lewis claimed the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings, Omega has announced its sponsorship of the LPGA player. Lewis won the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup on March 17, her second consecutive LPGA victory and the seventh of her career.
“I am honored to join the Omega family,” Lewis said. “This is such an exciting time in my career and I am proud to represent a brand that showcases determination, elegance and power – all things that I value both on and off the course.”
In 2012, Lewis earned Player of the Year honors following a four-win season. She posted 15 additional top 10s, including three runner-up finishes, and led the LPGA in birdies, eagles and rounds in the 60s.
Omega is the title sponsor of three international events – the European Masters, Dubai Ladies Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic – and in 2011 was announced as the official timekeeper of the PGA of America.
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