I.K. Kim hikes Portland lead to 3

By Associated PressAugust 30, 2014, 2:50 am

PORTLAND, Ore. - I.K. Kim increased her lead to three strokes Friday in the LPGA's Portland Classic, shooting a 5-under 67 to reach 12 under.

The South Korean player had seven birdies and two bogeys in her morning round in cloudy, calm conditions at Columbia Edgewater. She won the last of her three LPGA titles in 2010, and had a victory this summer in a Ladies European Tour event in England.

''I'm really pleased how I played the last two days,'' Kim said. ''There is a lot of scores out there, so I think it will be a good week for all of us.''

Kim's best LPGA finish this year is a tie for 13th in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April in California.

''I'm glad that I've been kind of going through all these things, and you know, it's nice to win one,'' Kim said.

Spain's Carlota Ciganda and South Korea's Mi Jung Hur shot 65 to join Laura Diaz at 9 under. Diaz had a 68.

Ciganda's long-time coach, Rogelio Echeverria, died three weeks after a brief bout with stomach cancer.

''Like a month ago I was practicing with him. I can't speak. He's the one who taught me everything. I'm here because of him. He means everything to me,'' Ciganda said. ''I'm just going to play for him, and I would love to win just for him.''

South Korea's So Yeon Ryu, the Canadian Women's Open winner Sunday in Ontario, was 8 under along with Mina Harigae, China's Xi Yu Lin and South Africa's Paula Reto. The fifth-ranked Ryu had a 66, Lin carded a 68, and Harigae and Reto shot 69.

Defending champion Suzann Pettersen was 6 under after a 67. She played her fnal nine holes in 5-under 41.

''I haven't played my best the last two days. Really happy to be able to shoot 5 under on the back nine,'' Pettersen said. ''I don't know if it's just the fourth (consecutive) week that I'm tired, but grinding it out. I'm finding solutions out there.''

The fourth-ranked Norwegian player, also the 2011 winner, is trying to tie Nancy Lopez's event record of three victories.

Juli Inkster and Sweden's Anna Nordqvist also were in the group at 6 under. The 54-year-old Inkster, making her 28th appearance in the event, followed her opening 68 with a 70. Nordqvist, a two-time winner this year, also shot 70.

South Korea's Jeong Jang was 3 under after a 71. The 34-year-old Jang, the 2005 Women's British Open champion, announced her retirement this week and said the event will be her last.

Hee-Won Han, also playing her final event, had a 71 to make the cut on the number at 1 over. The 34-year-old South Korean player won the 2004 event and has six LPGA victories.

Han and Jang are considered to be pioneers of the South Korean LPGA movement.

''My kids are growing up, and I thought it was perfect timing for retire. Be a mom,'' Han said.

Gigi Stoll, a senior at Beaverton High School who won the Portland Classic Amateur Open last week to earn a spot in the field, had a 74 to make the cut at 1 over.

Charley Hull, the 18-year-old English player who got into the event on a sponsor exemption, missed the cut by a stroke with rounds of 70 and 76.

Top-ranked Stacy Lewis, No. 2 Inbee Park and No. 3 Lydia Ko are skipping the tournament, giving them a two-week break before the Evian Championship in France.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.