Melbourne Cup Field 2012 – Don’t Rule Out My Quest For Peace

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Mount Athos may have a bigger profile in the Melbourne Cup 2012 field but trainer Luca Cumani has warned not to rule out his second contender My Quest For Peace.

Mount Athos is rated an $8.50 chance to win the 2012 Melbourne Cup but the high profile international trainer thinks his $26 runner My Quest For Peace is also a genuine chance.

“Both my horses are very well,” Cumani said.

“I think Mount Athos should be a little bit longer [than he is] and My Quest For Peace a little bit shorter.”

The pair are two of many international contenders in the field for Tuesday’s $6 million staying test which is headed in the bookmaker.com.au market by Americain and Dunaden.

Americain is a $5 favourite after drawing favourably in barrier 12 while Dunaden ($6.50) will be out to defend his title from barrier 16.

Americain part-owner Gerry Ryan is confident the favourite heads into the race in excellent condition but admits he comes up against a hot field.

“We’re going to be very competitive,” Ryan said.

“The horse can run in any condition, he proved that at Caulfield so let’s give it our best shot.

“This year’s field is the best he’s ever run in, we need to have every one percent up our sleeves as the one percents make 100 percent.”

Also featuring towards the top end of the market is Red Cadeaux who is $10 to go one better than the second he produced last year.

Trainer Ed Dunlop will again send the British gelding into the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up and is confident that will allow him to perform his best.

“He runs very well fresh, my team have done a great job, he’s a horse in the past that proven that he’s runs well first time out,” Dunlop said.

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2011 Melbourne Cup Day tips – exotic time!

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The 2011 Melbourne Cup Day tips are wide and varied except for the one horse that is on everyone’s lips – last year’s Cup winner Americain.

The French trained, Australian owned. American named galloper is Luxbet $5 favourite and favoured in most 2011 Melbourne Cup Day tips polls throughout Australia.

Most paper polls in Australia have him clearly on top, reflecting betting and form.

 

Americain
Americain favourite for Cup repeat!

We can go past him either

2011 Melbourne Cup Day tips are.

  •  #1 Americain: He is undefeated in Australia in three starts. Two from last year in the Geelong Cup and Melbourne Cup and the Moonee Valley Cup this year. The jockey Gerard Mosse got off and said he only used 70% of his resources when winning the Moonee Valley Cup – He is back for a repeat and it is looking good. He is our top horse 2011 Melbourne Cup Day tips Luxbet odds $5
  •  #3 Dunaden: He is another French runner who is literally following in the footsteps of Americain. He won this year’s Geelong Cup at his only Australian start impressively. It wil be a story as Craig Williams was supposed to ride but misses out through suspension. French jockey Christophe Lemaire takes the reins for his first ride in Australia. Luxbet odds $8
  •  #23 Niwot: The money just keeps coming for the Lexus Stakes winner whodrops four kilograms for that easy win on Saturday. He like the first two will run the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup right out and must be added in. He gets our nod for third. Luxbet odds $9
  • #17 At First Sight is the tip of rival trainer Peter Snowden whodoesn’t have a horse in the race. Snowden is having a great carnival with his own horses and lets see how he picks others. This horse ran a bottler in the Bendigo Cup last Wednesday and drops in weight. He makes up our first four. Luxbet odds $13 The 2011 Melbourne Cup Day tips best bolter?
  • #16 Modun: One of Sheikh Mohammed’s runners. While the Sheikh has come close to winning the Melbourne Cup he hasn’t quite done it. This fella gives him a chance and if you are looking for him in the race- he is the big horse 17 hands. Lightly raced Modun could be the surprise. Luxbet odds $26
  • So head to Luxbet now and lock in our Melbourne Cup Trifecta selections at the best prices and when you win you will win more thanks to their exclusive Best Tote Exotics + 5% Bonus offer this Melbourne Cup Day.

    To access this exclusive offer AND receive a $500 welcome bonus bet to make this Melbourne Cup your best yet, head to Luxbet now and open a new account depositing and quoting the code MATCHBET.

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Melbourne Cup Runners 2011 – value bets

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Unusual Suspect
Unusual Suspect is Horse No. 7 in the Melbourne Cup. A value bet.

The Melbourne Cup Runners 2011 have been cut down to 23 runners after the late scratching of Mourayan this morning.

Like all Cups, the Melbourne Cup Runners 2011 have varying chances and some represent good value while others may be still a touch short.

For instance a horse like The Verminator Luxbet $101.

Some may say that is value but in our opinion he is about the right odds – he is about 1 in a 100 chances of winning the Cup.

The Melbourne Cup Runners 2011 will be summed up here with a rating for each horse Melbourne Cup Runners 2011 summary.

  •  #1 Americain: Class act. At $5 with Luxbet and we think that is good value. He won the race last year beating So You Think, one of our better horses for ages.
  •  #2 Jukebox Jury: Grey horse who likes to lead. In a nice barrier but may have to work to get to the front. Luxbet $13. It is about the right price.
  •  #3 Dunaden: French galloper who keeps improving. Bets win was in Australia in Geelong Cup Luxbet $8 looks value.
  •  #4 Drunken Sailor: Ran on nicely in the Caulfield Cup when held up by stablemate Manighar in the straight. Luxbet $35. Value.
  • #5 Glass Harmonium: Likes Flemington and classy but big doubt over 3200m. Luxbet $31. About right
  • . #6 Manighar: Wide draw a shocker but has Damien Oliver on it. Luxbet $41. About right
  • #7 Unusual Suspect: US galloper now trained in Australia. Great run in the Caulfield Cup. Luxbet $35 and real value.
  •  #8 Fox Hunt. UK galloper having first start in Australia. Big ask Luxbet $26 about right.
  •  #9 Lucas Cranach: With Lee Freeman who has trained five Melbourne Cup winners. Going well. Luxbet $12
  • #10 Mourayan scratched
  •  #11 Precedence: Out of form but trained by Bart Cummings. Can never be dismissed Luxbet $41. Right.
  •  #12 Red Cadeaux: Uk galloper better on wet tracks: Luxbet $31 about right.
  •  #13 Hawk Island. Needs the track a lot wetter. Luxbet $151. About right
  •  #14 Illo: Bart Cummings second horse in the race. German import improving and with the master. Luxbet $19 About right.
  •  #15 Lost in the Moment: Godolphin horse having first start in Oz. Not really well credentialed. Luxbet $26 about right.
  •  #16 Modun; The second of the Goldolphin horses. Lightly raced. Big horse could be the improver. Luxbet $26. Value.
  •  #17 At First Sight: Had a virus but over it now and top run in Bendigo Cup. Luxbet $13 about right.
  •  #18 Moyenne Corniche: UK horsewho looks held. Like others. Luxbet $26 little value.
  • #19 Saptapadi: From the same stable as number 18. Not going well enough. Luxbet $81.
  •  #20 Shamrocker: Good Flemington horse and can forgive Moonee Valley. Might be the shock. Luxbet $51. value
  •  #21 The Verminator: Doesn’t look good enough. Luxbet $101. About right.
  •  #22 Tullamore: Very consistent but finds it hardtop win. Sneak into the trifectas. Luxbet $21 right.
  •  #23. Niwot: Big win on Saturday and nowthird favourite. Has lots going for him, form,weight, etc. Luxbet $8.50. about right
  •  #24 Older Than Time: Another Gai Waterhouse horse but not good enough. Luxbet $151 it’s right.

Melbourne Cup Runners 2011 with value: Americain, Dunaden, Drunken Sailor, Unusual Suspect, Lucas Cranach, Modun, Shamrocker.

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So sign up and use you unbelievable $500 bonus bet on today’s Melbourne Cup and make the most of the thrilling betting action at Flemington!

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Rookie Keegan Bradley wins first PGA event

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Walking down the 18th fairway during a playoff and realizing he was about to get his first PGA Tour victory, Keegan Bradley got emotional thinking about a cowbell.

The one that is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. The one his grandmother rang after every win by his famous aunt, LPGA Tour great Pat Bradley, whose 31 victories included six majors.

“It was like pull it together, don’t start thinking about the cowbell,” Keegan Bradley said. “The cowbell in my family is an iconic thing.”

Bradley settled himself and won the HP Byron Nelson Championship, parring the first hole of a playoff with Ryan Palmer on Sunday. Bradley sank a 2-foot par putt at the 419-yard 18th hole in the playoff, while Palmer’s approach went into the water before a 13-foot bogey putt.

Bradley, a PGA Tour rookie who never won on the Nationwide Tour, got his first professional victory nine days before his 25th birthday. He looked forward to talking to his aunt.

“She is a lot calmer on the golf course than she is watching me. I’m sure she was by the TV going crazy,” Bradley said. “I talk to her regularly through text messages and phone calls about tournaments and what it’s like to come down near the end. … This is the closest thing we ever had in common in terms of playing.”

About an hour before the playoff, Bradley finished his closing round of 2-under 68 with a par at No. 18, dropping into a squat and hopping a few times in frustration when his 10-foot birdie chance slid by the hole.

Palmer (72) and Bradley finished at 3-under 277, the highest winning score on the PGA Tour this year — and the highest in relation to par in a non-major since 1999. It was the fifth playoff in six weeks and 10th overall.

Palmer forced the extra hole with a 6-foot putt at No. 18 for only the second birdie there all day. When that putt dropped, Palmer punched his right fist in the air and then raised both arms over his head.

Bradley and Palmer then played No. 18 again, both going way right with their tee shots to start the playoff.

Tournament volunteers quickly dismantled and moved a temporary lemonade stand to give Bradley, a Vermont native who played at St. John’s, a line of sight to the green and avoid the necessity for a drop.

Bradley’s approach was dangerously close to sliding off the side of the green into the water, but stayed up. Palmer went in the same direction but his ball didn’t stay dry.

“I had a clear punch shot but it’s so easy to hit it left when I’m trying to hit a punch like that, and it squared left a little bit,” he said. “Then my putt, just wanted to tease myself a little more, I guess. But I got into the position to win the golf tournament and that’s all I can ask for.”

On the 172-yard 17th hole, Bradley sank a 12-foot par-saving putt and responded with an emphatic fist pump. After Bradley tapped in his par putt at No. 18, third-round leader Palmer was in one of the five groups still playing.

Bradley then sat for a few minutes before going to the practice range to prepare for a playoff that almost wasn’t necessary for him to become the PGA Tour’s sixth first-time winner this season.

“It was funny. I was really, really nervous and then when (Palmer) made the birdie I calmed way down,” Bradley said. “I felt my heartbeat slow down. I calmed down.”

Ryuji Imada (71) and Joe Ogilvie (70) finished a stroke back at 2 under. Imada bogeyed three of his last four holes after getting to 5 under.

Defending Nelson champion Jason Day (67) was fifth at 1 under, the last player under par this week at TPC Four Seasons. There were brutal scoring conditions, particularly for both weekend rounds when the wind was sustained at 25 mph with gusts howling near 40.

After Palmer blasted from a greenside bunker to 3 feet for a birdie at the 523-yard 16th hole to get back to 3 under, he gave that stroke right back when he missed a 7-foot par putt at No. 17.

Imada was 5 under after his 11-foot birdie putt trickled in at the 170-yard 13th, then blasted out of a greenside bunker to inside a foot at 14th to save par. He missed a 3-foot par chance at No. 17 and then was unable to save par again out of a bunker on the closing hole.

“Obviously I was a little nervous out there. I haven’t been in that position in a while,” said Imada, whose only victory was three years ago. “I didn’t finish off like I wanted to, so it definitely leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But overall I played well.”

Sergio Garcia, the 2004 Nelson champion who hasn’t won since 2008 and hasn’t locked up spots this year in the U.S. Open and British Open, began the day one stroke off the lead and in the final group.

Garcia missed a 4-foot par putt on the opening hole, then slammed his putter down on his bag walking off after his bogey putt. Things only got worse from there on way to a closing 77. He had a double bogey at the par-4 fourth hole after needing four shots to go the final 12 feet — his first chip rolled back to his feet and he ended with a double bogey.

Day, the runner-up at this year’s Masters, had his fourth top-10 finish in his last five tournaments.

After a bogey-free front nine with three birdies to get to 1 under for the tournament, Day was even par over a seven-hole stretch without a par on any of the holes. His birdie at No. 10 got him to 2 under before consecutive bogeys, a birdie, a double bogey and then consecutive birdies.

Bradley’s playing partner was local teenage amateur Jordan Spieth, who had a rough finish. The 17-year-old player closed with two double bogeys and two bogeys for a 7-over 77 to finish at 6 over and tie for 32nd. That was 10 strokes higher than he shot last year at TPC Four Seasons, when he tied for 16th.

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Stacy Lewis takes a three shot lead into weekend of Kraft Nabisco golf tournament

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Stacy Lewis

Stacy Lewis

In the three years since Stacy Lewis lost a third-round lead at the U.S. Women’s Open in her first pro tournament, she traveled the globe, opened her mind and thoroughly revamped her game.

A few bad iron shots and a little desert heat just aren’t such challenges any more.

Lewis persevered through more triple-digit temperatures to shoot a 3-under 69 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Friday, opening a three-stroke lead over Yani Tseng, Brittany Lincicome and Jane Park.

Michelle Wie shot a 67, matching the day’s best round and closing within six shots in contention for her first major title. Tseng, the defending champion and the world’s top-ranked player, shot a 68, while first-round co-leader Lincicome mustered a 72 to stay one stroke ahead of Morgan Pressel and Amy Yang.

The leaders all managed to thrive on dry, speedy greens during a second windless day at Mission Hills, with the temperature topping 100 degrees by midday.

But Lewis pulled ahead at 9-under par after several big putts during the second round, smoothly reaching the halfway point of the LPGA Tour’s first major in strong position to chase her first victory during what’s expected to be a cooler weekend.

“My round was all over the place,” said Lewis, who shared the first-round lead. “But I made some really good up-and-downs and stayed really patient on the back nine, and I was fortunate to get away with a couple of pars that I probably shouldn’t have.”

Big things were expected from Lewis after she burst onto the tour with a third-place finish behind Inbee Park at Interlachen in 2008, nearly becoming the first player to win a major in her professional debut.

Although she’s now a solid pro, finishing 21st on last season’s money list, she hasn’t won. She’s still enduring the maturation of any player coming out of college — finding a swing guru, figuring out the hectic travel schedule and mentally managing through weeks away from home, sometimes on the opposite side of the globe from her home in Texas.

“I just feel like I have a really good group of people around me now,” Lewis said.

That group sometimes includes Lincicome, her road roommate and good friend. It also includes Betsy King, who accompanied Lewis on a trip to Africa with Lewis’ mother.

Her experience in Rwanda, meeting families in a daily struggle for water and survival, affected her just as much as her ongoing charity work with dozens of young people with scoliosis, the same spinal affliction she overcame.

“I saw things (in Rwanda) I never thought I’d see in my life,” Lewis said. “It was such a shock to me that people live the way that they do, but they are so happy and so grateful. It just makes me grateful for everything that I have, and it gave me a renewed purpose of what I’m doing out here. The better I play golf, the more I can help other people, the more I can inspire other people.”

Lewis had to be resourceful from the opening holes Friday. She made tough putts on three straight holes before putting her tee shot on the nine behind a tree. She saved herself with a 200-yard hybrid shot and an up-and-down par before finishing strong with a bogey-free back nine.

Lewis and Wie memorably went to the same LPGA Q-school in December 2008. While Wie’s presence got all the headlines, Lewis had the five-round event’s best score.

Wie was 2 over in Thursday’s first round, but she rallied impressively Friday morning after a horrible start.

Her first tee shot flew into the gallery and beaned a little girl, who needed attention from paramedics. Wie couldn’t stick around to see how she was doing.

“I never felt so horrible about a shot ever,” said Wie, who has drilled a few spectators in her day with a sometimes-erratic approach from the tee. “I felt so horrible about hitting that poor little girl. … I thought I had hit a sprinkler or a tree or something. The little girl was the last thing on my mind, but hopefully she’s OK.”

Park played her way into the Kraft Nabisco field with a top-30 finish at last week’s Kia Classic. The Los Angeles-area native, who missed the 2009 season with a back injury, excelled on the dry, fast greens of Mission Hills, which she first played when she was 16.

“The first time I played here, the golf course is just so visually intimidating,” Park said. “Now, it still looks intimidating, but I’m not really afraid of the golf course, which is what was running through my mind as a kid.”

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Lincicome and Lewis share first round of Kraft Nabisco Championship

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Brittany Linicome at Nabisco Tournament

Brittany Linicome at Nabisco Tournament

Lincicome and Stacy Lewis are splitting more than dinner checks and lodging bills at the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year.

The fast friends and occasional road roommates overcame the stifling desert heat to shoot 6-under 66s Thursday, sharing the first-round lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Sandra Gal and Mika Miyazato were one shot back, while world No. 1 Yani Tseng was in a group in 10th place at 2 under.

Despite playing in the hotter part of an unseasonably scorching day, Lincicome and Lewis handled the fast, dry Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills with similar aplomb after temperatures topped 90 degrees by midday in the Palm Springs area. Their caddies were given permission to take off their jumpsuits when it rose above 100 during the afternoon rounds.

Although they aren’t rooming together this week because their parents made the trip, they went to dinner together Wednesday night and chatted with Rosie Jones before making identically excellent starts.

“Stacy has been a great friend for a little while now,” Lincicome said. “If we don’t want our fathers or mothers to go to a tournament, we’ll stay together, but she’s just a really nice girl. We’re kind of the same age, very low-maintenance for both of us, so it’s very easy-going.”

Lincicome’s win at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship is the three-time tour winner’s only victory in nearly four years, while Lewis is still looking for her first official win on tour. Lincicome is off to a remarakbly consistent start this season, while Lewis is hoping to harness her increased strength for better results.

The heat is supposed to break on the weekend, but Lincicome and Lewis both worried about the damage.

“Being a course that I love and I love to play, I’d hate for them to lose the greens,” Lincicome said. “Especially No. 1, and there was one other green turning brown, even — or purple, which can’t be good.”

Lewis made three straight birdies on the back nine immediately after her only bogey, hitting consecutive exceptional iron shots.

Lewis has significantly improved her distance over the past year, adding 25 yards to her drives with help from strength training and swing coaching. After bouncing back from surgery to correct her scoliosis during college, Lewis is hoping her play can be an inspiration to others with spinal woes, including a group of young girls she visited during the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix two weeks ago.

“I really don’t mind the heat at all,” Lewis said. “I’d rather have hot and humid heat than dry heat, but I grew up in Texas during the summers, so I’m used to playing when it’s over 100 degrees. I say bring it, because the ball goes a mile, so I like it.”

Gal chipped in from 15 yards on her fourth hole and hung on for another solid opening round with strong putting. The lanky German earned her first career victory at last week’s Kia Classic, played in chilly conditions outside Los Angeles.

“With your first win, you still don’t know what to expect coming into the next week,” Gal said. “All the people that came to me and all the congrats from everyone, which I really appreciate, it was a lot. So I probably didn’t prepare as well as I would for a major championship normally.”

Karrie Webb shot a 69, while Morgan Pressel joined Tseng at 70. Tseng was partnered with Gal.

“So hot today,” Tseng said. There’s no wind. I had an umbrella out there.”

Michelle Wie felt grateful to escape with an opening-round 74, making three bogeys in her quest for her first major title.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Wie said. “I did a lot of damage control today, so hopefully tomorrow I’ll do a lot better.”

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Sandra Gal takes win at Kia Classic to become the second German winner in LPGA Tour history

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Sandra Gal

Sandra Gal

Sandra Gal won the Kia Classic on Sunday to become the second German winner in LPGA Tour history, beating second-ranked Jiyai Shin with a 2-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

The 25-year-old Gal, a former University of Florida player, made the winning putt after Shin’s 5-foot birdie attempt caught the right edge and spun out.

“It was big pressure, she was so close to the hole,” Shin said. “I was thinking I had to make it.”

Gal closed with a 2-under 71 to finish at 16-under 276 on the Industry Hills Golf Club course at Pacific Palms. She set up the winning birdie with a sand wedge shot from 83 yards on the par-5 18th.

“I was trying to hole it,” Gal said. “I came close. I thought I made it.”

Tina Fischer is the only other Germany champion. She won the 2001 Asahi Ryokuken International.

“I had the belief coming out this morning that I could win,” Gal said. “I thought I could do it. I just tried to play the course instead of Jiyai.”

Shin, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour, finished with a 73.

Cristie Kerr shot a 66 to tie for third with In-kyung Kim (70) at 11 under.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng (67) and Na Yeon Choi (73) were 9 under, and Michelle Wie (70) was another stroke back along with Marcy Hart (65) and Mindy Kim (71).

“I felt like I shot a lot better than what I scored,” Wie said. “Overall, I had a lot of fun. I played as hard as I can.”

Shin took a one-stroke lead over Gal into the final round, but dropped two strokes back with three bogeys on the front nine. The South Korean star pulled even on the par-3 13th, making a birdie while Gal had her lone bogey of the day.

“My putter was not working good,” Shin said. “I had a lot of chances for birdies but didn’t make them.”

Shin took a one-stroke lead with a birdie on the par-3 15th, and Gal countered with a birdie on the par-4 16th to set up the finish. On 18, Gal’s wedge shot hit past the hole and spun back, nearly going in the hole.

“I was digging really deep,” Gal said.

Gal earned $255,000 in the tournament, the tour’s first event in the Los Angeles area in six years.

The Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the season, is next week at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage.

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Jiyai Shin shoots bogey free 64 to lead Kia Classic by four shots

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Jiyai Shin

Jiyai Shin

Second-ranked Jiyai Shin shot a bogey-free 9-under 64, birdieing nine of the first 14 holes, to take a four-stroke lead Friday in the rain-delayed Kia Classic.

“I jumped on the birdie bus,” Shin said.

The South Korean star, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour, had a 12-under 134 total on the Industry Hills Golf Club course at Pacific Palms. Seventy-two players, all of the afternoon starters, were unable to finish the round after rain delayed the start three hours.

“I think I’m really lucky to finish,” Shin said. “I played very well, so I’ll take a good rest.”

Germany’s Sandra Gal was second at 8 under with nine holes left when play was suspended for the day because of darkness. Amanda Blumenherst, the first-round leader, and Chella Choi were third at 6 under. Blumenherst had nine holes remaining, while Choi shot a 68.

“Because of the rain delay this morning, I was a little tired,” Choi said. “But it actually gave me more time to prepare and warm up, and things went well from there.”

Michelle Wie, returning to the tour after finishing finals at Stanford, followed an opening 68 with a 75 to drop nine strokes behind Shin at 3 under. Wie bogeyed three of her final four holes.

“Just kind of didn’t get a couple of holes going,” Wie said. “Just kind of mis-hit a couple of shots and missed a couple putts and I guess that’s the difference it makes. … You have to be on the right side of the fairway, because there are trees blocking out half of the green, so it’s really about management.”

Shin, trying to regain the top spot in the world from Yani Tseng, missed only one fairway and one green in regulation and finished with 25 putts. She made four birdie putts from 12 feet or longer.

“My goal was 3 under par, so I just kept thinking before the round to make a couple birdies and no bogeys,” Shin said. “I just kept focused for my shot. It was really easy, simple play.”

Blumenherst, a stroke ahead of Gal after the first round, was four shots behind when she started the second round late in the afternoon.

“I was not watching at all,” Blumenherst said. “I had no idea of what was going on. It’s just part of the game.”

Tseng, the winner of the season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand and three other worldwide events this year, was 2 under for the tournament with five holes left. Karrie Webb, coming off her second straight victory Sunday in Phoenix, was 2 over — also with five holes remaining in the round.

The tournament is the tour’s first in the Los Angeles area in six years. Last year at La Costa in Carlsbad, Hee Kyung Seo won her first LPGA Tour title, beating Inbee Park by six strokes. Seo was in position to miss the cut following rounds of 77 and 73.

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Four straight birdies puts Blumenherst in a one shot lead of the Kia Classic

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Amanda Blumenherst

Amanda Blumenherst

Amanda Blumenherst birdied the final four holes for a 7-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over Germany’s Sanda Gal on Thursday in the Kia Classic.

Blumenherst, the former Duke star seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, had nine birdies and two bogeys in her opening round on the Industry Hills Golf Club course at Pacific Palms.

The American took advantage of tranquil morning conditions on the rain-softened course.

“The fairways are extremely soft right now. So are the greens,” Blumenherst said. “It’s playing a lot longer than it says on the card, which actually suits me because I’m one of the longer ballstrikers.”

Michelle Wie birdied the par-5 18th for a 68. The Kia endorser, returning to the tour after finishing finals at Stanford, played in chilly conditions late in the afternoon.

“It was very cold out there, especially during the end,” Wie said. “It’s a tough course. You’ve got to be patient out there, and hopefully tomorrow do the same thing and hopefully have a couple more birdies.”

Blumenherst played the back nine in 5-under 30.

“I’m playing so well, just the scores have not been coming together,” she said. “The putts haven’t been falling. And I just haven’t been playing as smart as I should. Just everything came together today.”

Gal also had four consecutive birdies on her back nine. She finished with seven birdies and a bogey.

“I think it’s a ballstriker’s course,” Gal said. “You’ve got to hit the fairway and be precise with your yardages. I think that’s my game.”

Wie relied on power and accuracy on the soggy course.

“I think that (length) is an advantage, but obviously it’s a very tight golf course, so you have to be on the fairway,” Wie said. “I think that you have to have a combination of both.”

Second-ranked Jiyai Shin was four strokes back at 70 along with Reilley Rankin, Mika Miyazato, I.K. Kim, Catriona Matthew and Amy Hung.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng, the winner of the season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand and three other worldwide events this year, opened with a 71. Karrie Webb, coming off her second straight victory Sunday in Phoenix, shot a 72.

The tournament is the tour’s first in the Los Angeles area in six years. Last year at La Costa in Carlsbad, Hee Kyung Seo won her first LPGA Tour title, beating Inbee Park by six strokes. Seo shot a 77 on Thursday.

Dori Carter was unable to finish the final hole because of darkness.

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Pound Ridge Golf Club Officially Opens for 2011 Golf Season

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Pound Ridge

Pound Ridge

Pound Ridge Golf Club Officially Opens for 2011 Golf Season

Daily Fee, Pete Dye Course Rides New York City Metro Area’s First Wave of Spring-Like Weather

(POUND RIDGE, N.Y.) – Pound Ridge Golf Club – the daily fee Pete Dye course in Westchester County – will officially open for the season on Friday, March 18, riding the New York City metro area’s first wave of Spring-like weather.

Through April 30, local golfers can experience the state’s only Dye design at its “offseason” rates of $150 and $100 after 2 p.m. Tee times can be reserved by calling the golf shop at (914) 764-5771 or booking online at www.poundridgegolf.com.

“We are excited to enter our third full year of providing Metro area golfers with an upscale, daily fee golf alternative offering design and conditioning equal to the very best private clubs,” says Todd Leavenworth, General Manager of Pound Ridge. “As our course has matured agronomically, Pound Ridge has emerged as one of the true modern marvels of Dye’s legendary portfolio.”

In 2011, Pound Ridge will present a diverse menu of price points and playing options appealing to a wide spectrum of players. Effective April 1, new nine-hole rates will go into effect that include full use of the driving range and short game area, a cart or pull-cart, bottled water, a player’s towel and a souvenir yardage book. Weekday advance rates (Mon. – Thurs.), introduced in 2010, will be continued this season, catering to golfers who are flexible in planning the day and time they wish to play.

For a full overview of rates and rate periods, visit www.poundridgegolf.com/rates-policies.

About Pound Ridge Golf Club

Opened in 2008, Pound Ridge Golf Club is the only course in New York designed by the legendary Pete Dye. Located in Westchester County, it is less than an hour north of New York City and less than 15 minutes from Stamford and Greenwich, Connecticut. Pound Ridge Golf Club is the premier upscale daily fee course in the metropolitan New York area, considered a “must play” on any golfer’s bucket list.

Crafted by Dye, his son Perry and long-time Dye construction manager/lead shaper Michael Langkau, Pound Ridge Golf Club is a full bentgrass facility, hewn from 172 acres of magnificent cliffs, streams and wooded hills. Dramatic rock formations and boulders were left onsite, creating one of the most visually stunning settings for golf in the U.S. More than 14,000-linear-feet of rock wall frames the course as it winds through hardwood forests and fescue mounds and open meadows.

Pound Ridge Golf Club plays to a par-72, has five sets of tees and measures 7,171 yards from the Black tees. It houses a practice range, short game area and putting green. The property features some of the highest points in Westchester County, with a number of tee boxes offering expansive vistas of the surrounding countryside. Notable holes include the par-5, 13th – home to “Pete’s Rock,” a giant boulder that rests in the middle of the fairway – and the par-3 15th – dubbed “Headstone” – which is flanked on the right by a large rock outcropping that protrudes into the elongated, 9,000-square-foot green.

Accolades for Pound Ridge Golf Club Include:

- “No. 1 New York City Area Golf Course, 2010″ – AskMen.com – “America’s Best New Courses, 2009″ – Golf Digest – “New Golf Development of the Year, 2009″ – ABTA Golf – “Top Ten You Can Play, No. 2, 2008″ – GOLF Magazine – “Best New Courses, 2008″ – LINKS Magazine – “America’s Best New Courses, 2008″ – Golfweek

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