A. Jutanugarn takes 3-shot lead in Canada; Ko 4 back

By Associated PressAugust 27, 2016, 3:17 am

PRIDDIS, Alberta - Ariya Jutanugarn had five birdies in a six-hole stretch and shot an 8-under 64 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead in the Canadian Pacific Women's Open.

A week after withdrawing from the Rio Olympics because of a left knee injury, the 20-year-old Thai star played 20 holes Friday at Priddis Greens. She bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 68 in the completion of the delayed first round, then made eight birdies in her bogey-free second round.

"I just had to rest and take care of my knee," Jutanugarn said. "After that, I feel like just play golf. It didn't feel like anything changed."

South Korea's In Gee Chun and Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow were tied for second. Chun closed birdie-eagle for a 67. Meadow had a 69. The former Alabama player had a seven-hole stretch when she made three straight birdies, three straight bogeys and a par.

"It's a rough little stretch there in the middle, and I just kind of had to pull myself together." Meadow said. "I definitely saved myself on the back nine with my short game. It wasn't pretty, but I got it done, and that's what golf's about."

Three-time champion Lydia Ko was four strokes back, and Canadian star Brooke Henderson was eight behind.

"I played pretty solid the last few days," Ko said. "Hoped for a few more putts to drop, but it's just really tough out there with some pins being tucked and on little slopes. ... There's still a lot of golf to be played."

In the event before the Olympics, Jutanugarn won the Women's British Open for her fourth victory of the year. She won three straight tournaments in May, and shares the tour victory lead with the top-ranked Ko with four.

The second-ranked Jutanugarn began the second round with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, ran off four straight on Nos. 17-2 and added birdies on Nos. 4 and 8 to get to 12 under. Hammering 2-iron and 3-wood off the tee, Jutanugarn hit all 14 fairways in the second round.

"I don't think it's like so good, my game," Jutanugarn said about the tree-lined course. "Because to me it's a little bit narrow and I can't hit my driver. But right now I feel more confident because I can hit my iron on the fairway and my 3-wood on the fairway."

She considered skipping the tournament to get another week off.

"But I feel like I'm OK," Jutanugarn said. "I wanted to see how I'm feeling. But after like Monday, it didn't hurt that much. Today, it's getting a lot better."

Ko shot a 69, making four straight birdies in the middle of the round.

She has won the event three of the last four years, the first two as an amateur. The 19-year-old New Zealander won in 2012 at Vancouver Golf Club at 15 years, 4 months to become the LPGA's youngest winner and fifth amateur champion. She successfully defended her title in 2013, winning by five strokes in Edmonton. Last year back at Vancouver as a pro, she beat Stacy Lewis in a playoff.

Ko was second in Rio, five strokes behind Inbee Park.

South Korea's Sei Young Kim (67), Hyo Joo Kim (67), Mi Jung Hur (69) and Chella Choi (71) matched Ko at 8 under.

Henderson dropped a stroke in the completion of a first-round 72 and had a double bogey on the par-3 eighth - her 17th - in a second-round 68. The 18-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario, beat Ko in a playoff in June in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship for her first major title, and successfully defended her Cambia Portland Classic title in early July.

"I had massive crowds today and it was so much fun to play in front of them," Henderson said. "I kind of felt their energy, and I got it to minus 6 at one point today and was feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, I had a couple of mistakes coming in."

Alena Sharp (70) and Maude-Aimee Leblanc (69) topped the Canadians at 6 under.

"It's always good to see the Canadian flag on the leaderboard no matter where we are, but definitely this week," Sharp said. "I know in the past we've done well as a group, the Canadians, so it's nice to see halfway through we've got some people up there. Hopefully we can continue it on the weekend."

Sharp shot 68-70, and Leblanc 69-69.

Canadian amateur Jaclyn Lee was 5 under after a 70. The Calgary player is a sophomore at Ohio State.

"These past two days have been really fun, incredible," Lee said. "Just a great experience. It's been a bonus on top of that to play well."

Lewis was 5 under after a 72. Coming off a tie for fourth in Rio, the 11-time tour champion is winless in 57 starts since June 2014. Michelle Wie made the cut on the number with rounds of 71 and 72.

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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