Ko leads KPMG Women's PGA by 1 through 54

By Associated PressJune 11, 2016, 10:49 pm

SAMMAMISH, Wash. - When Lydia Ko won the last two major championships, she was the one lurking behind.

On Sunday at Sahalee, the top-ranked Ko will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

''I can't control what the other girls are doing,'' the 19-year-old Ko said. ''So (I'll) just try my best out there. We've still got a long 18 holes to go.''

Ko shot a 1-under 70 on Saturday to reach 2-under 211. She won the Evian Championship in September in France for her first major title and took the ANA Inspiration in April in California, giving her a chance to become the fifth player in tour history to win three straight majors.

''It's really cool to, obviously, have my name in those records among those amazing players. And I think that's the really cool thing about it,'' Ko said. ''But when I'm out there I'm not thinking so much about records and what could happen.''

Ko used her deft short-game to save shots on the 16th and 17th holes, but couldn't avoid dropping a stroke at the last when her third shot went to the back of the green and she missed a 15-foot par putt.


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Brittany Lincicome and Gerina Piller were tied for second. They each shot 71, with Lincicome also bogeying the 18th. Second round co-leaders Brooke Henderson and Mirim Lee each shot 73 to drop into the group at even par. Only three players were under par even as Sahalee played easier following overnight rain.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the winner of her last three tournaments, was in the group at even par. Jutanugarn got back into contention with a 68. Amy Yang also was even after the lowest round of the week, a 66. Yang went out in 32 and was 6 under for her round after a birdie at No. 15, before dropping a shot on the 16th.

Anna Nordqvist, the winner last week in New Jersey, and Chella Choi completed the group at even par. They each shot 69.

Ko missed a chance to create some separation late in her round. She moved to 3 under with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 15th, then showed off her delicate touch around - and on - the green coming in. Ko put herself in poor position off the tee on the 16th, but a flop shot out of the rough to 4 feet allowed her to save par. On the par-3 17th, Ko's tee shot found the green but in a position where a chip shot was the only way to get to the hole because of the fringe. The chip from green-to-green left her a 3-foot tap in.

But her second shot on the 18th caught a large tree fronting the left of the green and was unable to save par.

Lincicome, a two-time major champion, also dropped a shot at the final hole because of a three-putt. Along with Ko, Lincicome is the only other player in the field not to post a round over par in the tournament

''It's easier to come from behind than be the leader,'' Lincicome said. ''I feel like I'm in great shape.''

Piller is hoping she can finally make a breakthrough after three years of progressively getting closer to her first career victory. She has finished in the top 10 six times this year, including a second-place finish at home in Texas when she was overtaken on the final day.

She has risen to No. 16 in the world rankings and moving up one more spot before July 11 would earn her an automatic spot in the Olympics.

''I do feel like winning is definitely close,'' Piller said. ''I definitely feel that my game is good enough and it's just a matter of time when the pieces fit and it just comes together.''

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x