Ko wins Marathon, tops $1M in earnings

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2014, 10:33 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) -- Now that she's officially a millionaire, Lydia Ko joked she'll have to keep a closer watch on where her paychecks go.

''I'll probably see that going into my mom's account,'' she said with a laugh, referring to the $210,000 she got for winning Sunday's Marathon Classic.

The 17-year-old broke free from a late tie with So Yeon Ryu, hitting a wedge to 4 feet for birdie on the 72nd hole to take the lead. Then she tried in vain - she's just 5-foot-5 - to see past the large gallery at 18 as Ryu missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff.

''I couldn't see it properly. I was behind some people,'' she said after her second LPGA Tour victory that matched the two Canadian Open titles she won as an amateur. ''But I kind of could tell what happened by the crowd's reaction.''

She became the youngest player to top $1 million in career earnings on the LPGA Tour. Ko is roughly 17 months younger than Lexi Thompson, previously the youngest. Ko has shown incredible consistency in her rookie year on tour, making the cut in all 15 tournaments she's entered. She has six top-10 finishes in addition to her wins, with five of those being top-fives.

Ryu had poured in a big-breaking, 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th to pull even.

But then Ko stuck her approach at the par-5 closing hole and calmly rolled in the birdie putt for a 6-under 65 that left her at 15-under 269.

Ryu hit a brilliant third shot to the green, but pushed her 6-footer at the 18th.

''Absolutely I'm disappointed I missed (that) birdie putt,'' she said. ''Sometimes if I get something lucky, then I get something that is unlucky. I just accept it and let it go.''



Ko was resilient, also shrugging aside a challenge from veteran Cristie Kerr, who pulled into a tie with her on the homeward nine.

Ko, who proudly bears the flag of her native New Zealand on her golf bag, started the final round in fifth place, three shots behind co-leaders Laura Diaz and Lee-Anne Pace.

While they foundered, she crept up the leaderboard with birdies at holes 3 and 4. She tied for the top spot with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 eighth, then took a solo lead for the first time after hitting her approach to 10 feet at the 10th.

Kerr, seeking her 17th career victory, rolled in a left-to-right breaker from 15 feet at the 13th to pull even. But her approach on the 399-yard, par-4 15th missed left and settled into heavy rough. She muscled the pitch shot onto the green, but it rolled 6 feet past and she lipped out the par putt.

Kerr, who shot a 67 to finish three shots back in third, failed to apply pressure when she could not birdie the closing two par-5s.

''I had a good/bad week,'' she said. ''I didn't play 17 and 18 well all week. If you're going to win here you have to take advantage of those holes.''

Ko hit a pitching wedge from 121 yards to 6 feet past the pin, then rolled in the downhill putt for a two-shot lead at the 16, but Ryu birdied four of six holes late in her round to tie.

Playing in the pairing immediately in front of Ryu, Ko hit three perfect shots on the closing par-5, which is bisected by a large, deep valley with a creek at the bottom. Her 72-yard chip shot nestled 4 feet away and she drilled it into the heart of the hole to regain the lead.

Ryu's third on the final hole ended up pin-high and 6 feet away. But she pushed the putt off the right edge, the large gallery groaning as the ball rolled past.

Ryu's 67 left her at 270. Kelly Tan (67), Katherine Kirk (68) and Pace (71) were at 273.

Diaz, who led almost from the start after birdieing her first five holes on Thursday, lapsed to a 75 and finished at 277.

Ko came into the round, which was delayed an hour by fog, vowing to shoot a 65. After she did it and collected the routine over-sized cardboard check, she pondered what she might do now that she's a millionaire.

''I may do one of those teenage things - like getting something electronic,'' she said with a grin.

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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

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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