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.”

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm