Kerr helps LPGA win Three-Tour Challenge
Cristie Kerr shot 4-under 32 on the back nine to lead the LPGA team to a win Tuesday in the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge. It is the LPGA’s fifth win in the made-for-TV event that pits three-person teams from the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and LPGA. The PGA Tour leads with seven wins and the Champions Tour has six.
The LPGA team of Kerr, Suzann Pettersen and Natalie Gulbis had a combined score of 6 under on the final nine holes to beat the PGA Tour team of Stewart Cink, Fred Couples and Bubba Watson by two strokes and win $300,000. Combined with their $100,000 purse from the opening nine, the women won the overall title by $70,000 over the PGA Tour.
The Champions Tour team of Nick Price, Fred Funk and Jay Haas finished third with $270,000 after earning $200,000 by winning the front nine with a team score of 9 under. The women struggled to a third-place finish at 4 over on the front nine, while the PGA came in second at 3 under.
Playing with Couples and Nick Price, Kerr came to the 18th tee with the LPGA leading by two strokes. She left her approach shot nearly 30 feet away with a large ridge between her and the hole, but hit a strong lag to 4 feet and sank the par putt.
“I knew I had to two-putt that,” Kerr said. “I didn’t want to give them any room.”
Kerr hit long birdie putts of 45 feet at the par-4 10th and 20 feet at the par-4 13th, helping her to the low individual score of the back nine. Pettersen also performed very well on the final nine, sticking her 75-yard approach within 4 feet and making birdie at the par-4 15th before hitting a tricky 12-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th and another short birdie putt at the 17th.
“I had struggled with the speed on the greens all day,” Pettersen said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to make sure you get the job done.”
Pettersen had a 3-under 33 on the back nine after firing 1-over 37 on the front. Gulbis shot 1-over 37 on both the front and back nines. The victory was the third in 3-Tour play for Kerr, the second for Gulbis and the first for Pettersen.
Watson led the PGA Tour team with a 3-under 33 on the front nine, then shot 1-under 35 on the back. Couples paced the team on the back at 3-under 33 after shooting even-par 36 on the front. Cink shot par on both sides.
The low player on the front nine was Haas, who played steady golf throughout the day, with a 4-under 32. He shot 2-under 34 on the back and didn’t record a bogey in his round. Price shot 3-under 33 on the front nine before struggling to a 2-over 38 on the back. Funk went out in 1-under 35 and came in with a 1-over 37.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
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."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18