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.'
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.
Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders
PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.
Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.
Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.
Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC
PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.
With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.
After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.
“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”
It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.
Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.
“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”
Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.
Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.
“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”
Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).
Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.
“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”
Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.
“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”
Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.