Ciganda leads No. 1 Park on Day 3 in North Texas

By Associated PressApril 28, 2013, 12:14 am

IRVING, Texas – When Carlota Ciganda got to her half-submerged ball in a concrete drainage ditch right of the 12th fairway, her only thought was whether to hit 8- or 9-iron.

With about 140 yards to the pin, her caddie suggested 8-iron because the ball was in the water.

Ciganda hit that shot to about 10 feet and made the birdie, part of the Spaniard's 5-under 66 on Saturday. That gave her a two-stroke lead over Inbee Park, the world's No. 1 player, and LPGA rookie Caroline Masson going into the final round of the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout.

''Well, it was unbelievable,'' Ciganda said about the shot from the ditch. ''I didn't think much. I just tried to hit it as well as I could, and I think I was pretty lucky. ''

After her second 66 this week to get to 11-under 202, Ciganda will have a chance Sunday for her first LPGA victory – against some tough competition.

Park, from South Korea, finished her third-round 67 with consecutive birdies. Na Yeon Choi, the No. 3 player and also from South Korea, was 8 under and alone in fourth after a bogey-free 66.

''When it comes to the final round, I think a more experienced player definitely has an advantage going into the pressure conditions. I think Na Yeon will be one of the ones to beat,'' Park said.

After holding the lead throughout her entire third round, and having only one bogey, Ciganda plans to keep the same approach on Sunday.

''I was just trying to focus on my game, just trying to play my own game and stay in the present,'' Ciganda said. '' I wasn't very nervous. Just a round of golf. I love playing golf, and I feel very lucky to be here on the LPGA.''

After trailing Masson for two days, Ciganda finally took the lead after opening the third round with a par. That was the same hole that Masson, one of her playing partners in the final group, had a double-bogey 6.

Masson, also looking for her first LPGA victory, had managed to keep the lead through the first two rounds even after bogeys on three of her last four holes on Friday.

But her one-stroke advantage was gone soon after an approach shot at No. 1 dropped short and buried in a bunker. The 23-year-old German then blasted over and through the green.

''Actually hit a good drive. ... We just misjudged the wind a little bit, and I had the wrong cut, hit it in the bunker. Had a fried egg, pretty bad lie,'' Masson said. ''It's always tough to have a hole like that on the first hole, but yeah, I stayed pretty calm.''

Masson recovered for a 69 that included a birdie at the par-5 18th, the same hole she bogeyed on Friday after her first two shots landed behind trees.

''It's kind of cool because I think a few years ago maybe, my game would have fallen apart after a start like that,'' she said. ''So I'm pretty happy, and kind of a little proud as well, that I handled it so well and that I could actually finish with a birdie, especially since I had that bad finish (Friday).''

Ciganda played last season on the Ladies European Tour, where she was the top rookie and the top money winner – the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to accomplish that.

Masson, who played the last three years in Europe, was the second-leading money leader last year behind Ciganda.

Ciganda has the same agent as fellow Spanish player Sergio Garcia, who the 22-year-old calls a good friend. Garcia was 21 when he got his first PGA Tour victory not far from Las Colinas Country Club at the 2001 Colonial, then got another victory three years later at the Byron Nelson Championship played only a few blocks away.

Choi, a seven-time LPGA winner, has played 35 consecutive holes without a bogey. The 25-year-old South Korean was tied briefly for the lead after birdies on three of her first four holes on Saturday, though the only par-saver she really needed, while hitting 17 of 18 greens, was a putt from about 20 feet after going into a greenside bunker at the 390-yard 15th.

''I had a great round today, but still, I feel like kind of a little left something,'' Choi said. ''You know, I missed a couple birdie putts out there.'' Jee Young Lee (67), Karine Icher (67), Christina Kim (67) and So Yeon Ryu (68) were tied for fifth at 6 under.

This is the first full-field LPGA event in North Texas since the 1991 U.S. Women's Open. The area hasn't been an annual tour stop since 1982.

When the initial cut was made at 3 over after the second round, 80 of 144 players made it. There was another cut after the third round, with 51 players advancing at 1 over or better. Haley Mills and Taylor Coleman, the Texas teenagers who made it into the field through a Monday qualifier for high school students, made it Saturday but didn't make the cut to play in the final round.

Brittany Lang, from nearby McKinney, was in shock after finishing her even-par third round at No. 9. That is when her boyfriend came onto the green, went to a knee and proposed marriage. Lang said yes.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.