Lewis edges Thompson for Navistar title

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2012, 9:29 pm

PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Stacy Lewis won the Navistar LPGA Classic on Sunday for her third LPGA Tour victory in five months, closing with a 3-under 69 to beat defending champion Lexi Thompson by two strokes.

Lewis parred the final two holes after a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 16 gave her the final cushion, and Thompson shot a 66 on The Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Capitol Hill complex.

''Lexi was within one when we got to the 16th green and that's the only time all day I knew what was going on,'' Lewis said. ''Making birdie on that hole was huge. It gave me that cushion.''

Lewis also won in Mobile in late April, edging Thompson by a stroke in that tournament. The former Arkansas star also won the Shoprite LPGA Classic in June.

The 17-year-old Thompson rebounded from a third-round 74. She won the event last year at 16 to become the youngest champion in LPGA Tour history, a mark broken last month by 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko in the Canadian Women's Open.

Lewis finished at 18 under, one shot shy of the tournament record set by Australia's Katherine Hull in 2010. Lewis reclaimed the No. 2 spot in the world rankings and earned $195,000 – but still stayed at a budget, $75-a-night hotel in Prattville like usual.

Now, she and Yani Tseng are tied for the lead in victories this year.

''It's unbelievable,'' Lewis said. ''Winning never gets easier. It might have looked easy out there but it was hard. Every shot was stressful and every hole on this course with one stroke you can make a double easily. ''

Her previous best at the Navistar was a tie for sixth last year, but she still likes competing in this state.

''I don't know what it is. I don't know if it's the Bermuda grass,'' Lewis said. ''It's kind of what I grew up with in Texas. I love playing these kind of courses where you have to hit good shots. If you don't hit good shots you're not rewarded. I like that.''

Lewis had a three-putt for bogey on No. 2, but birdied No. 5 and made a 15-footer for another on the ninth hole.

''That was kind of the key putt for me,'' she said.

Thompson made quite a run with birdies on holes 10-12. She set up fairly short putts on all three, making a 6-footer, a 1-footer and a 10-footer.

Thompson missed birdie putts on three of the final four holes, making one on No. 17 to close to within a stroke. Then she saw Lewis move to two strokes ahead when Thompson was on the final hole before enduring another near-miss with a chance to turn up the pressure on the leader.

''I just got some weird putts that broke differently than I thought,'' Thompson said. ''Just total misreads. That happens. You get a few goofy putts but I was happy with the shots I hit into those holes.''

Both players are starting to feel Alabama is sweet home these days. Thompson kept up her daily ritual with breakfast at the Waffle House - skipping the high-carbohydrate specialty - and handled the coin toss at a high school football game.

She high-fived two youth after her birdie on No. 17 gave her new life but once again couldn't overtake Lewis in Alabama.

''She's played amazing this year,'' Thompson said. ''Everybody knows how great a player she is. Once I saw her go into the lead into today, I knew I would have to put up a good round.''

Thompson opened with a career-best 63, tying the tournament record. She came out with a mind-set to erase thoughts of the rough Saturday.

''Pretty much just forget totally about (Saturday) and come into today blank-minded and just free swing,'' she said of her approach. ''I have nothing to lose, just go for birdies. I bogeyed the first hole and I just went for it from there.''

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

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.