Henderson takes 5-shot lead in bid for first win

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2015, 12:32 am

PORTLAND, Ore. - Brooke Henderson gave herself some breathing room in her bid for a breakthrough victory.

The 17-year-old Canadian opened a five-stroke lead Saturday in the Cambia Portland Classic, shooting a 7-under 65 at Columbia Edgewater.

''To get a good round together and try and increase my lead, and definitely just hit good shots. I'm really happy to get it to [18 under], and hopefully tomorrow just improve on that just a little bit,'' Henderson said.

She's trying to join Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson as the only players to win an LPGA title before turning 18.

On a warm, calm day, Henderson made seven birdies in her bogey-free round. Henderson, who turns 18 in September, tied the tournament 54-hole record of 18-under 198 set by Yani Tseng in 2013. The five-stroke margin is the largest third-round LPGA lead this year.

Morgan Pressel was second after a 65.

Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ontario, also had the 54-hole lead in April in California in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. She closed with a 74 and ended up finishing third. She'll be banking on that experience Sunday.

''Saturday I wasn't feeling the nerves, and then Sunday I did. I'll just have to be aware of that tomorrow,'' Henderson said. ''It was interesting in San Francisco. I learned a lot about myself and my game, and I think I've come leaps and bounds from there early in the season.''



The Canadian won the Symetra Tour's Four Winds Invitational in June in Indiana, and tied for fifth in the Women's PGA Championship - the second of the LPGA's five majors.

A win Sunday would assure Henderson of finishing among the tour's top 40 on the money list, giving her an LPGA card for next season. Through nine LPGA tournaments, Henderson has made $466,818. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan denied Henderson's age petition last year, preventing her from playing Q-school. She earned a spot in the Portland Classic field in Monday qualifying.

Henderson is attempting to become the second Monday qualifier to win an LPGA tournament. The only player to accomplish the feat was Laurel Kean in the 2000 Rail Classic.

Had it not been for Henderson's older sister, Brittany, there's a chance none of this happens. Brittany received a sponsor exemption for the Portland Classic, and Brooke decided to take a chance on the Monday qualifier after running out of sponsor exemptions.

She was asked if she would have tried to qualify without Brittany in the field.'

''I don't know,'' Henderson said. ''I think it was a blessing in disguise that she's got the sponsor's invite and I came out here, because it is a long way to travel from home, and I'm not sure I would have made the trip.''

Henderson took a one-stroke lead over Masson into the day. After the two matched birdies at the par-4 first, Henderson increased her lead to two strokes with a birdie at the par-3 second. Masson closed within a stroke with a birdie at the par-5 fifth, and both players birdied the par-5 seventh.

Henderson pulled away on the back nine, starting with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th. Masson bogeyed the par-5 12th, giving Henderson a four-stroke lead. Even though Pressel birdied three of her final four holes, Henderson increased her lead to five strokes with birdies at the par-4 15th and par-3 16th.

On Sunday, Henderson will play alongside Pressel. The two played in Sunday's final group when Henderson had the 54-hole lead at Swinging Skirts.

''Brooke is a great player. I mean, to Monday qualify and obviously be playing this well, she knows what's at stake for her. She's a great girl, and she has a lot of potential, for sure,'' Pressel said.

Pressel, who made nine birdies during her second and third rounds, says she'll have to stomp on the gas again if she's to have a shot at catching Henderson.

''I'll take another nine birdies tomorrow,'' Pressel said. ''I need to just give myself a lot of opportunities and eliminate the sloppy mistakes that I've made the last few days.''

German players Sandra Gal (65) and Caroline Masson (70) were tied for third 12 under.

Jaye Marie Green had a 63 - the best round of the week - to move into a tie for ninth at 9 under. Ko was tied for 53rd after 2 under after a 72.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x