Ernst beats I.K. Kim in playoff for first LPGA title

By Associated PressSeptember 1, 2014, 1:55 am

PORTLAND, Ore. – Austin Ernst won the LPGA Tour's Portland Classic on Sunday with a par on the first hole of a playoff against South Korea's I.K. Kim.

It was the first professional victory for the 22-year-old Ernst, who shot a 5-under 67 in the final round to get to 14 under at Columbia Edgewater. Kim, the first- and second-round leader, carded a 68.

Kim missed an eight-foot par putt in the playoff that handed the win to the American.

A year ago as a rookie in Portland, Ernst shot a third-round 62 on the way to a ninth-place finish. In Ernst's mind, Columbia Edgewater was a likely place for her first career win.

''A lot of good memories coming into this year. I was very confident coming in, knowing I could make a lot of birdies,'' Ernst said. ''I knew that I didn't have to do anything special today because I had three really good rounds to start with. Coming down the stretch, I was very proud of how I handled everything.''

Ernst pulled into contention with a 5-under 31 on the front nine, highlighted by a chip-in eagle at the par-5 fifth. Kim made four birdies and no bogeys.

South Korean's So Yeon Ryu and Chella Choi tied for third at 12 under. Ryu, last week's Canadian Women's Open winner, shot 70, while Choi had a 68.



Ernst was in control after she converted a long birdie putt at the par-4 14th to get to 16 under and a two-stroke lead. But she stumbled down the stretch, missing the green at Nos. 17 and 18, resulting in bogeys.

That opened the door for Kim and Ryu, but only Kim capitalized. At the par-4 18th, Kim missed the green long with her second shot, but chipped to three feet and made the par putt to force a playoff. Ryu, at 14 under heading into 18, made double bogey after hitting her second shot from a fairway bunker into a greenside pond.

Ernst finished about 20 minutes before Kim and Ryu. First thing Ernst did, after signing her card, was call her father Mark.

''Those are probably two of the hardest holes on the course. When I talked to my dad, he said if you made those bogeys anywhere else in the round, no one would say anything different. So, really solid round,'' Ernst said.

In the playoff, Ernst rolled a 35-foot putt to within 18 inches. Kim missed the green with her second shot, chipped to within eight feet, and then missed the par putt.

Kim, a three-time LPGA winner, was bidding for her first victory since 2010. After playing the entire final round without a bogey, Kim made one during the playoff.

''I've been missing quite a few of those. I think it's just the speed of the green,'' Kim said. ''I played in a lot of playoffs, but I haven't won one yet. So it was in the back of my mind. But she deserves it.''

At 18, Ryu was in position to win the tournament outright or earn a spot in the playoff, but her tee shot landed in a bunker. It got worse when Ryu hit her approach into the water.

''These days I have been struggling with hitting fairway bunker shots. As you saw, my result was really bad,'' Ryu said. ''It feels great to be in contention again, and I saw a lot of positive things this week, so honestly, I'm disappointed with my finish, but still happy with my result.''

The three third-round leaders faded. South Korea's Mi Jung Hur shot 73 to finish at 10 under, while defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Spain's Carlota Ciganda were at 9 under after 74s.

France's Karine Icher shot the day's low round of 66 to join a group at 11 under that included Denmark's Line Vedel and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi and Eun Hee Ji. Choi shot a 68, while Vedel and Ji each had a 70.

Anna Nordqvist of Sweden was at 8 under after carding a 69. Juli Inkster, the 1999 champion, shot 72 to finish 6 under.

Gigi Stoll, a senior at Beaverton High School who won the Portland Classic Amateur Open to earn a berth in the field, shot her third 71 of the tournament to finish at 1 under.

South Korea's Jeong Jang and Hee Won Han played in their final LPGA event after announcing their retirement early last week. Jang was even par after a 72, while Han finished at 3 over following a 72.

Jang was a three-time runner-up at Portland during her career.

''Good to retire here. I'm never going to forget Portland,'' Jang said.

The LPGA Tour takes a one-week break before the season's fifth major, the Evian Championship in France from Sept. 11-14. Pettersen is the defending champion.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry