Ko, Park, Kerr all come up winners at Tour Champ.

By Associated PressNovember 22, 2015, 9:42 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Cristie Kerr was the player of the week. Lydia Ko was the Player of the Year. Inbee Park will be among the players of all-time.

And just as the LPGA intended, the season finale was brimming with drama until the very end.

Kerr won the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, taking command with a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th and finishing off her 18th career victory. But her $500,000 first prize almost seemed ancillary, given the stakes that Ko and Park were playing for this week.

Ko won the $1 million bonus for winning the Race to CME Globe, just as she did last year - this time adding Player of the Year honors to her resume as well. And Park clinched a trip to the LPGA Hall of Fame by winning the 2015 scoring title, the only step that remains between her and induction is completing her 10th season on tour next year, a prerequisite for eligibility.

''It's been a long season,'' Ko said. ''Up and down. Mostly ups.''

Kerr shot a 4-under 68 and finished at 17-under 271 for the week, one shot better than Gerina Piller of the U.S. and Ha Na Jang of South Korea. Lexi Thompson of the U.S. was fourth at 14 under. She and Paula Creamer doused Kerr moments after she tapped home a 2-footer to clinch the victory.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


France's Karine Icher was fifth at 13 under. Park was alone in sixth, good enough to beat Ko by three shots over the course of the entire season for the Vare Trophy and the 27th point she needed for her trip to the LPGA Hall.

''I said the Hall of Fame will be my last goal, but it really came early and I achieved pretty much everything I set so far in my career,'' Park said. ''There is plenty other goals to set.''

The pressure was obvious, all over the final back nine of the year.

Thompson had an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th, and never got it near the hole. Park missed a 2-footer for par on the 12th, then rallied with consecutive birdies. Stacy Lewis, one of three women who entered the week controlling their destiny in the $1 million race, gave her wedge a smack after needing two shots to escape a bunker at the 16th. Ko had a birdie try at 16 not long afterward, leaving it uncharacteristically short.

But in the end, Kerr, Park and Ko did enough to all come away with big prizes.

Kerr shot four rounds in the 60s, made a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 15 to tie for the lead, then the eagle at the 17th put her on top for good.

Park was second in the Globe chase, pocketing a $150,000 bonus. Thompson was third, taking home $100,000 in bonus money - though spent much of the afternoon in position to sweep both the $500,000 first prize and the $1 million bonus.

DIVOTS: Michelle Wie (67) tied for 32nd place at 285; the 2014 U.S. Women's Open champion ended a year in which she didn't have a top-10 finish. ... Sydnee Michaels shot 65, finishing tied for seventh and matching the best round of the week. ... Catriona Matthew aced the par-3 8th. ... The start of play was delayed an hour because of rain and another storm band crossed the course around 11 a.m., but the sun was out for the finish. ... Next season begins in the Bahamas on Jan. 28.

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.