Inkster, Pettersen share lead in Mexico

By Associated PressNovember 10, 2011, 11:31 pm

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Hall of Fame inductee Juli Inkster shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 for a share of the first-round lead with Suzann Pettersen in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on Thursday.

The 51-year-old Inkster is trying to become the oldest winner in LPGA history. Beth Daniel was 46 when she won the 2003 Canadian Women’s Open.

“I love Lorena and I would love to win this tournament because Lorena’s name is attached to it,” Inkster said. “Everyone on tour feels the same way. You know Lorena is such a special person. Everyone on tour respects her and it would definitely be special to win this event. But I’ve got a long way to go.”

Meena Lee opened with a 68, and Catriona Matthew was another shot behind in the 36-player event. Michelle Wie, the 2009 winner, was three strokes back at 70 along with Se Ri Pak, Maria Hjorth, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Sophie Gustafson. Kim had a 72.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng was 34th after a 76.

Tseng is coming off victories in the LPGA’s Taiwan Championship and Ladies European Tour’s Suzhou Taihu Ladies in China. The Taiwanese star has seven LPGA wins this season, including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open, and four other worldwide wins. She tied for 18th in 2008 in the inaugural event in Guadalajara, tied for eighth in 2009 and was 27th last year.

Ochoa is expecting her first child next month. The 27-time LPGA winner retired last year.

Inkster won the last of her 31 LPGA titles in 2006.

“I just kind of played very consistent, hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, made a few putts,” Inkster said. “I chipped in one on No. 9 for birdie. It was kind of just a very laid back round. I don’t have too many, so it was nice. … I’m just not swinging hard at it, just trying to get it in the fairway.

“My grip strength seems to be a little weaker, but I laid off really the last three weeks. I’ve just played once and hit balls a couple times. Maybe that’s what I need to do, just have a little fresh outlook, maybe not expect so much.”

Pettersen had six birdies and a bogey on the Guadalajara Country Club course. The Norwegian star has won two LPGA events this year - the Sybase Match Play Championship in May in New Jersey and the Safeway Classic in August in Oregon - and also led Europe to victory in the Solheim Cup in September in Ireland.

“It’s been a very nice year,” Pettersen said. “You can never complain when you get wins. One win is great, two wins is fantastic. It kind of makes my season look average when Yani (Tseng) has won seven tournaments on the LPGA. She makes us all work harder. It’s easy to reflect back on what’s been when you get to this part of the year, but trying to really stay focused on this week and next week and then try to just sit down and evaluate after. But you kind of do it halfway in your head anyway. I’m looking forward to some time off, but I’m ready to finish strong this week and then hopefully next week, as well.”

Pettersen finished second last year, two strokes behind I.K. Kim.

“It’s a great start to this tournament,” Pettersen said. “It’s obviously a nice tournament. I love this course, and it’s nice to be here at Lorena’s home club and in front of her kind of home crowd.

“This is just a very old-fashioned golf course, tree-lined. We have to shape it a little bit off the tee. This year, the greens are a little bit firmer, so that makes the challenge a little bit harder coming into the greens, especially with a front pin. But I can see why you get to love the game if you grow up playing this course because this is the old-fashioned way.”

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."