Chun wins U.S. Women's Open

By Associated PressJuly 12, 2015, 10:54 pm

LANCASTER, Pa. - In Gee Chun's modest goal for her first U.S. Women's Open was to enjoy every new experience.

Boy, did she enjoy herself.

The 20-year-old South Korean stormed from behind, posting birdies on four of the last seven holes to rally for an unlikely one-stroke victory Sunday.

Chun shot a 4-under 66 in the final round and finished at 8 under, becoming the first player to win her U.S. Open debut since Birdie Kim in 2005.

''Everything I faced and I did here was completely new,'' Chun said. ''So all I did was enjoy the new stuff ... I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. Even though I'm Korean, here American fans supported me a lot and they gave a lot of claps. That has put me in the great rhythm of play, and I enjoyed that tournament rhythm.''

A bright smile rarely left Chun's face, and that was part of the plan.

''Without thinking any negatively, all I could do was just enjoy the game,'' she said. ''That's what has brought me to the U.S. Open win, I believe.'' 

The win was Chun's fifth of the year after three in Korea and one in Japan. She credited her experience in four LPGA events earlier this season for her success in the other events and preparing her for the rigors of the U.S. Open.

''With all those four wins this year, I got a lot of confidence coming into this tournament,'' Chun said. ''And that's why I could enjoy every moment of the tournament.''

Third-round leader Amy Yang struggled in the middle of her round and then pulled within one by going eagle-birdie at Nos. 16 and 17. But she bogeyed the 18th and fell a stroke short.

Playing in the final group on the last day of the championship for the third time in four years, Yang squandered a three-stroke lead and settled for a 1-over 71 and second at 273.


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Two-time champion and top-ranked Inbee Park (67) overcame putting woes and rallied late, tying for third with Stacy Lewis (70) at 5-under 275. Lewis was three back at the start of the round. 

Defending champion Michelle Wie battled hip and leg injuries and limped in with an even-par 70, placing 11th at 2-under 278.

As Yang and Lewis drew most of the focus as the last grouping, Chun went about picking up strokes on the leaders. At 4 under heading into the final round at Lancaster Country Club, Chun picked up two strokes on the front nine, closing within two of the lead.

''I knew it wasn't going to come down to the two of us,'' Lewis said. ''I knew somebody was going to shoot a number to get up there.''

Chun got within a stroke with a birdie at the 12th, and then rolled in a 9-foot putt at No. 15 for the first of three straight birdies. She moved into the lead with a birdie at 16 as Yang and Lewis struggled. She added another birdie at the 17th to stretch her lead to two strokes.

At the troublesome 421-yard, uphill closing hole, Chun drove into the rough, chipped short and went on to make bogey, falling into a tie for the lead with Yang, who birdied 17.

But Yang failed again in her bid to claim the biggest prize in women's golf. She also drove into the rough at the last hole, chipped short of the green and failed to get up-and-down for par, giving Chun the win.

''I did my best out there today,'' Yang said.

Yang was tied for the lead heading into the final round of 2014 and second after 54 holes in 2012. She tried to put another failed final round into perspective.

''It was another good experience,'' she said. ''It just didn't go as well as I thought, but I learned another great lesson here. And it's going to make me better player, improve my game.''

Lewis' bid for her first U.S. Open title was foiled by a pair of double bogeys, with the most costly one coming at 15, a hole after she had moved into a tie for the lead. At the 15th, she drove into the rough, hit her second shot through the fairway, and then dumped her third shot into a greenside bunker before taking a 6 and falling out of contention.

''I think anytime you have a championship like this, you want to have somebody go out there and win it, and that's definitely what happened there at the end,'' Lewis said.

But, the two-time major winner admitted the loss stung.

''I'll get over this eventually, but it will take a day or two,'' Lewis said.

Park had three birdies on the back nine. Within two shots of the lead through 16 holes, the putting woes that dogged the 2008 and 2013 winner returned and her bid ended with a three-putt bogey at the 17th.

Wie grimaced in pain throughout the round. The nagging left hip and leg issues that have made this a forgettable season for the 25-year-old four-time LPGA winner seemed to intensify in the final round. She repeatedly cringed and tried to take weight off her right side after drives. Her round did have one highlight, with her drive at the 234-yard, par-4 16th hitting the flagstick before she rolled in the short eagle putt.

Megan Khang was the championship's low amateur. The 17-year-old from Rockland, Massachusetts, closed with a 1-over 71 and finished at 5-over 285.

Fan favorite Laura Davies, who is to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at St. Andrews on Monday, closed with her worst round of the championship, a 5-over 75. The 1987 champion, who was the oldest player in the field at 51, finished at 287.

The event set a U.S. Women's Open attendance record with 134,016 spectators for the week, the USGA said, surpassing the 131,298 in 2005 at Cherry Hills outside Denver.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.