17-year-old Henderson leads in Portland

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2015, 2:17 am

PORTLAND, Ore. - Brooke Henderson is trying to leave everyone else behind - and not get too far ahead of herself.

The 17-year-old Canadian took the outright lead in an LPGA event for the third time this year, birdieing three of her last four holes Friday for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot advantage in the Cambia Portland Classic.

"Just to stay within myself and play my own game," she said when asked what she has learned this season. "Playing as an amateur I was used to a lot of people, a lot of media and television and stuff like that, but it's a little bit different on the LPGA Tour, and I think that's something that I've gotten a lot more comfortable with this year.

"I think if I can just stay patient and play my own game and not focus on outside factors, I think good things will happen.

Playing in cool, breezy and sometimes wet conditions, Henderson finished with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth to reach 11-under 133 at Columbia Edgewater. She made her only bogey of the tournament at 11, but rebounded with birdies at 12, 14 and 3 before the late burst.

Henderson, who turns 18 in September, has made $466,818 in nine LPGA tournaments and needs to finish in the top 40 on the money list to earn a card for next year. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan denied Henderson's age petition last year, preventing her from playing Q-school. She earned a spot in the field in Monday qualifying.

"Right now, I'm just taking it one day at a time and one tournament at a time, but I'm really looking forward to the next couple years," Henderson said. "Hopefully, this week I can secure my card for next year and be full time on the LPGA."

Henderson is attempting to become the third player to win an LPGA tournament before turning 18, joining Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson.

"That would be really good, but I'm still a long way from that, and I realize that," Henderson said. "I have to go low and shoot some good numbers."

Caroline Masson has second. The German player shot a 64, the best round of the week.

Masson had eight birdies, four on each nine, in her second straight bogey-free round after missing the cuts in five of her six previous tournaments. Masson is winless in her three-year LPGA career. In the 2013 Portland tournament, she shot a second-round 64 on the way to a fifth-place finish.

Masson is attempting to win and make a late bid for a European team berth in the Solheim Cup, set for Sept. 18-20 in Germany.

"It's been on my mind a lot. I don't know, maybe not too much. It's the only Solheim Cup probably that's going to be in Germany while I'm playing," said Masson, who played in the 2013 Cup. "It means a lot to me, obviously, to be on that team. But you can't think about it and you can't play with that being on your mind because it just puts too much pressure on yourself."

Candie Kung, Julieta Granada and Jenny Shin were tied for third at 9 under. Kung, a four-time LPGA winner, had a 66, Granada shot 69, and Shin 68.

Amy Anderson and Sandra Changkija, tied for the first-round lead at 65, each shot 72 to drop into a tie for ninth at 7 under.

Defending champion Austin Ernst was 6 under after a 66.

No. 3 Stacy Lewis was 4 under after a 69, and No. 2 Ko shot a 72 to remain 2 under.

The 36-hole cut was at even par. Among those failing to advance were two-time Portland champion Suzann Pettersen. She was 5 over after a 74. Also missing the cut was Henderson's sister Brittany, who was 5 over after a 75.

The Portland Classic is the penultimate tournament before the U.S. Solheim Cup team is set Aug. 24. The top eight players in the Solheim Cup standings, the top two in the world ranking not among the top eight in the standings, and two captain's picks will make up the 12-player team. Six players have clinched spots in the standings.

No. 7 Angela Stanford failed to make the cut after shooting 74, while No. 8 Gerina Piller was even par after a 72. Of those outside the top eight, No. 9 Lizette Salas (70) and No. 10 Brittany Lang (71) are in the best position to make a move, as both are 3 under through 36 holes.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry