Creamer, A. Jutanugarn headline new Green Bay event

By Associated PressJuly 5, 2017, 11:40 pm

Plenty of pro football's greatest memories have been made in Green Bay, Wis.

This week, the LPGA hopes to forge a little history of its own when it conducts the first edition of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, a sovereign nation just down the road from storied Lambeau Field.

Host course for the inaugural event beginning Thursday is Thornberry Creek at Oneida, a Rick Jacobsen-designed course that will play at 6,624 yards and to a par of 72 for the 72-hole event. A field of 144 golfers will chase the $2 million total purse, with $300,000 going to the winner.

World No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand will headline the field along with 11 more major champions, including 2010 U.S. Women's Open champion Paula Creamer, four-time winner and top Canadian star Brooke Henderson, 19-time LPGA winner Cristie Kerr, 15-time LPGA winner and European Solheim Cup legend Suzann Pettersen and LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Karrie Webb.

Other top names in the field include 2015 U.S. Women's Open champion Ingee Chun of South Korea, England's Charley Hull and fan favorites Christina Kim and Cheyenne Woods.

Full-field scores from the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic

"I'm really excited to see Green Bay and test my game at Thornberry Creek," said Jutanugarn, who will be joined in the field by her sister, Moriya. "I have heard that Wisconsin has some serious golf fans and we look forward to competing in front of them."

The Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic will serve as the final test prior to the U.S. Women's Open, to be played next week in New Jersey. This year's tournament is the eighth in the LPGA Tour's busy 12-events-in-as-many-weeks stretch and is sandwiched in between two major championships.

This week's Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic marks the 18th tournament of what has been an exciting 2017 LPGA season that's seen 16 different tournament winners.

The inaugural Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, one of four new events on the LPGA Tour this season, will be held on the Oneida Reservation immediately across Interstate 41 from Green Bay. The course is owned by Oneida Nation, which has more than 17,000 tribal members worldwide, and managed by the Oneida Golf Enterprise Corporation.

Henderson is playing the best golf of her career and is likely to be in contention this week. In her last three starts, she hasn't finished outside the top 11 and she captured her fourth career LPGA victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic two weeks ago. Henderson followed that with a runner-up finish at last week's KPMG Women's PGA Championship, falling one shot short in her title defense at the major championship.

"It's really exciting to have a new event on the schedule and especially here in Wisconsin," Henderson said. "I haven't spent a ton of time here before, but I'm really happy to be back. My agent has been talking about this tournament almost all year, so I'm excited to finally be here and to get started."

The Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic field features 30 of this year's 37 LPGA Tour rookies, the most to tee it up at a tournament this season. This season features players from 33 countries, the most in Tour history, with 126 active international players.

Through 17 events of the 2017 season, American players have taken home four tournament titles: Brittany Lincicome (Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic), Kerr (LOTTE Championship), Lexi Thompson (Kingsmill Championship) and Danielle Kang (KPMG Women's PGA Championship).

During the 2016 season, Thompson and Brittany Lang were the only Americans to take home a tournament title. Americans have won at least five LPGA events in eight of the last 10 seasons, with the exception of 2016 (two) and 2011 (four). The last time Americans won back-to-back events on the LPGA Tour was in October 2015.

World No. 1 and two-time LPGA winner this season So Yeon Ryu of South Korea holds a narrow lead in the current Race to the CME Globe standings with 2,266 points. Top-ranked American and 2017 Kingsmill champion Thompson is close behind with 2,199 points, followed closely by reigning Race to the CME Globe winner Jutanugarn (2,177) and Henderson (1,653).

Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.