Crosby Wins Womens Senior Event
Her frustration at the Hy-Vee Classic was over.
Crosby, twice a runner-up in the Women's Senior Golf Tour event, shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the tournament by five strokes. She finished at 9-under 144 for 36 holes at the Hyperion Field Club, setting records for the best round and best total score in the 5-year-old tournament.
'I really kind of had a good feeling coming here this year,' said Crosby, who earned $75,000 for her victory. 'I didn't know I was going to win necessarily, but I just had that feeling when I came out today. I was like, you know, might as well swing.'
She swung so well that she ran away from the field after starting the day in a four-way tie for the lead. After a shaky start -- she saved par after hitting her first tee shot into a bunker -- Crosby had an eagle and three birdies in the next five holes and capped her round by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on 18.
'You want to finish strong,' Crosby said. 'Even when you have a lead, you want that last birdie putt to go in. That was just awesome. I'll always remember it.'
Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez, playing in the tournament for the first time, and defending champion Marilyn Lovander tied for second at 140.
Lopez closed with a 68 and was the only other player under 70 for the final round. Lovander, who trailed Crosby by only two strokes at one point, had her second straight 70.
Jan Stephenson (71), Jane Crafter (70) and Cindy Rarick (70) finished at 141.
Crosby, 46, tied for second in the 2001 Hy-Vee Classic after holding a share of the lead with two holes to play and lost in a playoff the following year. But she gave herself plenty of room for error this year and didn't need it, playing a bogey-free final round.
She began pulling away with an eagle on No. 2, hitting a 4-wood to eight feet and sinking the putt. After a par on the third hole, she birdied the next three and just like that, she was 8 under and daring someone to catch her.
No one did.
'The putter's been feeling really, really good and that's kind of unusual for me,' Crosby said. 'That lets me be very comfortable here on the greens.
'I have struggled with my putting for about six years and just this year, it's starting to come back.'
Lovander made a brief run at Crosby, dropping to 6 under with a birdie on 10. But Crosby never faltered, running off 11 straight pars before her birdie on 18, and Lovander made bogey on 15 and 16 to fall out of contention.
'I saw the leaderboard on No. 12 and it looked like Marilyn Lovander was at 8 under also,' Crosby said. 'I thought that for awhile until I saw her individual leaderboard going down No. 14 and I was like, `Oh, good.' Because I was behind a tree at that point, so it made me feel a little better.'
Lopez attracted a large gallery, just as she did on the LPGA Tour, and delighted her fans with a strong closing round. She just missed a 25-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have left her alone in second.
'I had a good time,' said Lopez, who plays little competitive golf these days. 'It was fun. I hit some good shots, made some good putts. It was a fun day.'
It was even more fun for Crosby, who was savoring her victory Sunday night before returning home to Jackson, Mich., on Monday.
'I always stay on Sunday night -- in case I win,' Crosby said. 'I finally did.'
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.