Asia Grabs Lead in Lexus Cup
After splitting the six alternate-shot matches Friday, Asia won four of six matches Saturday in hot conditions to take the lead on Tanah Merah's Garden Course. The LPGA Tour-sanctioned event will conclude Sunday with 12 singles matches.
'I'm not sure what happened. It just seems like the Asian team outplayed us today,' International captain Annika Sorenstam said. 'A lot of matches went down to 18. It was a tough day for the International team. Obviously, tomorrow is going to be a big day. We have 12 points to grab and we need to grab as many as we can.'
Sorenstam has won both of her matches, teaming with childhood friend Carin Koch on Friday and Natalie Gulbis on Saturday.
Han made a 30-foot birdie putt on 18 to beat Granada and Pressel.
'I knew that if I was paired with her coming down the stretch, she would pull it off,' said Park, one of nine South Korean players in Asia's lineup.
'I'm very proud of my team. They obviously played very well, with a lot of energy, which is huge. ... I think our chances of winning tomorrow are great. We have a lot of girls that are playing very well and they're riding on confidence.'
Han, also from South Korea, won twice this year on the LPGA Tour.
'Grace played pretty good. I just made that putt,' Han said. 'The whole round, we were able to save each other on different holes.'
Granada, coming off a $1 million victory in the ADT Championship, tied the match with a birdie on 16 and the teams halved the 17th with pars.
'We really did give our best and fought very hard out there,' Granada said. 'It just came down to that last putt. We are a little upset, but we know we gave it our all. It's harder to lose that way, but what can you do?'
Park will face Sorenstam in the opening match Sunday. And, if the teams tie, the two captains will have a sudden-death playoff to determine the winner.
'I'm happy to be doing both, but it is a little bit more hard work than you would think, especially trying to put pairings together,' Sorenstam said. 'It's a lot more work, but I'm happy to be here and happy about our position and how they're doing.'
Sorenstam and Gulbis beat Jee Young Lee and Meena Lee 2-up.
'At first, I was nervous,' Jee Young Lee said. 'It was my first time going up against Annika, but we went out and hit some good shots to start off and played well. ... We did well out there. The other team made better shots, but it was a good day.'
Gulbis had two of the best shots, a tiebreaking 30-foot eagle chip on the par-4 16th and a match-ending 15-foot birdie putt on 18.
'Annika was already in there and had a 15-footer for eagle, so it was just chip it in or pick it up,' Gulbis said.
Paula Creamer and Stacy Prammanasudh earned the other point for the International team, beating Shi Hyun Ahn and Joo Mi Kim 3 and 2.
'I thought we played well together,' Prammanasudh said. 'If one of us hit off-line, the other was there to make up for it.'
Se Ri Pak and Seon Hwa Lee beat Sherri Steinhauer and Angela Stanford 4 and 2.
'I played a lot more solid today,' Pak said. 'I putted well. I was striking well. I didn't feel as good, but I just hung in there. She made a good partner for me. She helped me a lot. I helped her a lot. That's why it's a team game.'
In Asia's other two victories, Candie Kung and Jennifer Rosales beat Brittany Lincicome and Nikki Campbell 3 and 1, and Young Kim and Sakura Yokomine held off longtime European Solheim Cup stars Koch and Laura Davies 2-up.
'We both came from USC,' Rosales said. 'We have a good chemistry. We've known each other for so long, so it helps a little bit.'
On Sunday, Creamer will face Kung in the second match, and Pressel will play Lee Young Lee in the fourth. At the bottom of the order, Gulbis will face Joo Mi Kim in the 10th match, Granada will meet Seon Hwa Lee in the 11th, and Lincicome, the HSBC World Match Play winner, will face Pak in the 12th.
The winning team members will each receive $50,000, and the losers will get $30,000. Last year, the International team won the inaugural event 16-8.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18