Golf

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Cristie Kerr, Mo Martin and In Gee Chun each shot a 6-under 66 Thursday to share the lead after the opening round of the Kia Classic at Aviara.

Kerr, the 2015 Kia champion, and Martin, a native of Southern California, were among the first groups to tee off.

Chun was in one of the last groups on the course and made an impressive charge in the late-afternoon shadows, with birdies on five of her last seven holes. After almost hitting her drive on the par-4 18th into a pond, she had a 60-foot putt for the lead but rolled it about 15 feet past. She made that one for par and a share of the lead.

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Soren Kjeldsen, Alex Noren win groups in wild day at Match Play (March 24, 2017)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Golf

AUSTIN, Texas -- Soren Kjeldsen and Alex Noren won their groups in the Dell Technologies Match Play, one round before group play is even finished.

Rory McIlroy took the day off, and he's already guaranteed the weekend off.

Thursday was as wild as it gets in this tournament, even without wind ripping so hard through the edge of Hill Country that Phil Mickelson chipped into the water and still halved the hole.

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Defending Match Play champion Jason Day conceded his opening-round match against Pat Perez after six holes and later withdrew from the tournament, telling reporters through tears that his mother, Dening, has lung cancer and is undergoing surgery Friday. Erich Schlegel/USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas -- Jason Day completed six holes at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship before he simply couldn't play any longer, then walked off the golf course.

Speaking through tears afterward, Day explained that his mother, Dening, was diagnosed with lung cancer in Australia at the start of the year and told she had 12 months to live. He brought her to Ohio, where Day lives with his family, in the past month for more tests, hopeful that surgery would lead to a chance for a recovery.

"It's really hard to even comprehend being on the golf course right now," Jason Day said. "It's been really hard to play golf lately. It's been very, very emotional, as you can tell. I've already gone through it once with my dad. And I know how it feels."

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 Mar 22, 2017; Austin, TX, USA; Dustin Johnson of the United States plays against Webb Simpson of the United States during the first round of the World Golf Classic - Dell Match Play golf tournament at Austin Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

World number one Dustin Johnson rolled and Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth stumbled, while Jason Day left to be with his ailing mother in Wednesday's opening day of the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas.

Johnson won the first three holes and was 5-up after nine holes and steamrolled Webb Simpson 5&3.

"When you get up real early, you just want to keep the momentum on your side," said Johnson.

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Jordan Spieth looking forward to getting through this Masters (March 21, 2017)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Jordan Spieth has never finished worse than second in the Masters in his three appearances. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Zumapress/Icon Sportswire

AUSTIN, Texas -- Two weeks before the Masters begins, Jordan Spieth is looking forward to it being over.

Spieth was on the verge of becoming only the fourth player to win back-to-back at Augusta National when he took a 5-shot lead to the back nine. He dropped 6 shots over the next three holes, including two balls in Rae's Creek on the 12th hole for a quadruple bogey, and wound up 3 shots behind Danny Willett.

As the Masters looms, Spieth has been fielding more questions about that collapse on the back nine.

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American Tiger Woods. Nezar Balout/AFP/Getty Images

Tiger Woods said he is "trying every day to get back and play'' the Masters in two weeks despite back issues that forced him out of his last tournament in February.

Speaking publicly Monday for the first time since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Feb. 3, Woods told Michael Strahan on "Good Morning America," when asked if he will play in the first major of the year: "I hope so. I'm trying. I'm trying every day to get back and play.

"I love that event. It's meant so much to me in my life. It's the first major I ever played back in '95. It has so much history and meaning to me that I'd love to get back.''

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Anna Nordqvist, who attended Arizona State, shot a 4-under 68 on Sunday to hold off fellow major champions Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis and In Gee Chun by two strokes in record 96-degree heat at Desert Ridge. AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

PHOENIX -- Anna Nordqvist caught up with some college friends -- and left everyone else behind Sunday on another hot afternoon at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

The 29-year-old former Arizona State player shot a 4-under 68 to hold off fellow major champions Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis and In Gee Chun by two strokes in record 96-degree heat at Desert Ridge.

"I have so many friends and family here. They feel like family, my U.S. family," the 6-foot Swede said. "Couldn't think of a better place to be. I'm just so happy to be back. I wasn't even going to play a couple weeks ago and just ended up adding it last minute. Maybe it was meant to be."

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