Lee supplants Tiger wins US Amateur

By Associated PressAugust 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. AmateurPINEHURST, N.C. ' His whirlwind month complete, Danny Lee finally has a few days off. Now the carefree 18-year-old has time to reflect on his latest accomplishment: Outdoing Tiger Woods.
 
Lee became the U.S. Amateurs youngest champion Sunday, supplanting Woods by holding off Drew Kittleson 5 and 4.
 
One month to the day after his 18th birthday, Lee frittered away most of a 6-hole lead before regaining control with a string of birdies midway through his second trip around Pinehursts No. 2 Course. He capped his 11th consecutive day of competition by sinking a 30-foot birdie putt on the 14th, dropping his putter and thrusting his fists into the air in celebration.
 
I dont think I could play better than this, Lee said. Perfect golf.
 
Lee, who is six months and 29 days younger than Woods was when he won the first of his three Amateurs in 1994, joined 2005 U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell as New Zealanders to claim championships at Donald Ross-designed No. 2 and became the fourth foreign-born Amateur champion in six years.
 
The victory gives him exemptions into the U.S. and British opens, an invitation to the Masters and a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Amateur, as long as he remains an amateur.
 
Initially, Lee downplayed his new place in the record book. Yet when a USGA official told Lee that hes likely going to be paired with Woods for the first two rounds at next years U.S. Open, he was speechless.
 
Im going to beat him, Lee said, laughing.
 
Before that, hes headed back home to New Zealand next week, and hell spend roughly three weeks there finishing high school. Hes not sure when he will turn pro or if hell attend college.
 
Just get ready for the big major tournaments, Lee said. I want to be a professional golfer, but I want to be a student at college as well.
 
Kittleson, a Scottsdale, Ariz., native who plays for Florida State, made things interesting in the afternoon. He had birdies on the third and fourth holes before closing to 2-down on the par-4 seventh by chipping in from about 30 yards for eagle.
 
I felt like Tiger Woods for a second, Kittleson said.
 
Lee reasserted himself on the ninth, placing his tee shot about 8 feet from the hole and sinking his birdie putt. He regained his 4-up lead on the par-5 10th with a five-foot birdie putt that followed a behind-the-green chip that buzzed past the flagstick ' his fourth consecutive birdie.
 
For Lee, it was an exhausting finish to a hectic past few weeks that included 212 holes of competitive golf.
 
He won both medalist and match play titles at the Western Amateur and tied for 20th in his PGA TOUR debut at the Wyndham Championship across the state in Greensboro the day before he started at the Amateur.
 
After two rounds of stroke play, he began a seemingly unchallenged charge through the bracket to the finals. But unlike his previous five matches, this one was never easy.
 
Lee, who entered having trailed on only one hole since Wednesday, quickly went 2-down to Kittleson through five holes, before surging back into the lead midway through his morning trip around the course.
 
I wasnt really surprised ' I knew he was going to come back sometime, on some holes, Lee said. I was expecting that to happen, and since he made that chip-in, I was thinking, Ive got to play well and keep focused on my game, try to make birdies.
 
He squared the match with a par on the par-3 ninth, starting a successful string in which he won five of seven holes ' with birdies on four of them. He was up 5-up after one trip around the course, then increased his lead to 6-up with a par on the par-4 second.
 
Im usually that guy that would not be happy about anything going good for anybody else, Kittleson said, half-laughing. It was kind of fun to watch. I mean, he was making everything. What are you going to do? Hes pouring it in. We all have those days.
 
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  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

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    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


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    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”