Doolan Wins LPGA Season-Opener

By Associated PressMarch 16, 2003, 5:00 pm
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Wendy Doolan sports a golf bag emblazoned with the slogan, ''Anything Is Possible.''
The 34-year-old Doolan, who waited tables and fixed poker machines in her native Australia while working her way into professional golf, proved it on Sunday.
Doolan shot a 5-under-par 65 in soggy conditions to win the LPGA Tour's season opener by three strokes.
''I hadn't felt it until the last six months, but I've tried to believe in that for quite a while,'' she said after capturing her second title, the Welch's-Fry's Championship.
Doolan won $120,000 -- nearly half of her 2002 earnings -- with her score of 21-under 259.
''I've seen the girls shoot 20-plus under par,'' she said. ''I never knew I was going to do it, but I did it today, and that's something that I feel really good about.''
Doolan held up under pressure. She ignored the leaderboard and responded to a discouraging bogey with a birdie on the next hole to blunt charges by Grace Park and Betsy King down the stretch.
On the 18th green, she asked her caddie if she needed a birdie to win. He shook his head, and she made a routine par.
King carded a 65 to tie third-round leader Lorie Kane (70) at 262.
''On 17, I had a 12- or 15-footer that I wimped on,'' King said. ''I haven't been up there for a little while, so my putting stroke today was not as fluid.''
Park, derailed by a double bogey on the 17th hole, settled for a 67 and a tie with Christina Kim (70) at 263.
Kim, trying to become the first rookie to win her LPGA debut since Beverly Hanson in 1951, also had late bogey problems.
Meg Mallon fired a 70 for sole possession of sixth, five shots off the lead.
Mallon had a 60 on Friday, the second-lowest round in LPGA play, to lead at the midpoint. But she was only 6-under in the other 54 holes of the tournament.
Doolan had a career-low 62 on Friday. And what has commonly happened during her career, another player grabbed the spotlight.
But Doolan, whose breakthrough victory came two years ago in Dayton, Ohio, in a five-hole playoff with Wendy Ward, was not to be denied this time.
She overcame two bogeys with a seven-birdie effort, starting on the first hole.
Doolan dipped to 20-under on No. 14, where her approach shot came up short of the green after a brief pause to put on a sweater during a rain squall. She chipped five feet past the flag and missed the comebacker.
Then she responded with a 12-foot, downhill birdie putt on the next hole and parred out while the competition faltered.
Kane seemed poised to make a run when she birdied the 16th hole. Instead, she gave Doolan the last bit of breathing room with a bogey on No. 17, falling three shots back.
Kane said it was never that close.
''My game plan was to birdie the last five holes,'' Kane said. ''I knew I had to make at least three or four to have a chance. And so, standing on 17, I was thinking I needed to make a 1.''
Park, who got within one stroke at 19-under on No. 15, took a disastrous double bogey-5 on the 137-yard 17th when her tee shot landed in a bunker and she three-putted from 12 feet after blasting out of the sand.
The race was tight at the start, as Kim made up her one-shot deficit on Kane with a birdie on the first hole.
By the fourth, though, Doolan got her third straight birdie and took the lead. She also birdied No. 6 to go 20-under and went up by two shots.
That lasted long enough for Kim to reach the sixth green, where she rolled in a birdie putt to reach 19-under.
Doolan gave back a shot with a bogey on No. 7, but Kim followed suit when her putt from the fringe to save par rolled three feet past the cup, and Doolan went two strokes ahead again with a seven-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole.
On the pivotal 12th hole, Doolan got her sixth birdie of the round and went up by three shots when Kim two-putted from 4 1/2 feet and bogeyed.
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Welch's Fry's Championship
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    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.

    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open

    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

    Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

    Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

    The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

    Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins

    By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

    Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.

    A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.

    The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.

    In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.

    In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

    “The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”

    The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.

    According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

    The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.

    A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.