Lewis holds off Lexi's charge to win

By Associated PressApril 29, 2012, 10:30 pm

MOBILE, Ala. – Stacy Lewis sweated out a win that came down to the last pressurized putt in a day full of them.

Lexi Thompson, meanwhile, was at her poised best – not her worst – on a Sunday in Mobile.

Lewis outlasted the rising teenager to win the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic by one stroke for her second LPGA Tour title in a round that supplied a measure of vindication for both.

Lewis, five strokes ahead early in the day, reclaimed the edge with a birdie on No. 16, while the 17-year-old Thompson parred the final hole and had to wait.

Lewis parred out. Her week was so solid that her finishing 3-under 69 was her worst round en route to a 17-under 271 total on The Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove, part of the Robert Trent Jones Trail. The former Arkansas star also won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

''I'm getting more comfortable in this situation,'' said Lewis, who earned $187,500. ''I think that's a lot of it, and it's definitely been coming. I lost in a playoff in Australia, so I knew I was due.''

She has five top 10s in eight events this year, including a tie for second in the Women's Australian Open.

Thompson made her earn it, and found redemption from her final-round fall in Mobile a year ago. She didn't flinch under the pressure given a second shot, closing with rounds of 66 and 65, tying her career low in a bogey-free round.

''l wouldn't take last year's Sunday round back for anything, because I learned so much from that,'' said Thompson, whose closing 78 last season dropped her from a share of the lead to 19th. ''I knew what not to do and how to prepare for it. It was a really big learning experience for me.''

Thompson said she didn't check out the scores coming onto No. 18. ''I looked away,'' she said.

Here's what she missed: Lewis secured the win with a two-putt par from the edge of the green, which she said was pretty standard for the 402-yard par 5.

''I knew it was going to be a hard two-putt no matter where I hit it,'' she said. ''

Karine Icher of France closed with a 68 to finish third, two strokes back.

It ended up as a duel of two young Americans, though.

Thompson signaled that this one would be different from 2011 with a long chip-in for birdie on the par-3 second hole.

''That got me going a little bit, but just positive thoughts the whole day,'' she said.

Thompson was seeking her second straight Alabama win after becoming the youngest LPGA Tour winner in September at the Navistar LPGA Classic. She got her tour card a few weeks later.

Thompson signed autographs, while Lewis strolled toward the green and said she didn't ''see any of her 18th hole. I just saw that she had a tap-in to win.''

She exorcised one demon by making her second straight birdie on No. 14, where she made a double bogey a year earlier after her ball went into the water.

''I wasn't going to make that mistake again,'' Thompson said.

Lewis raised both arms after sinking her short clinching putt, more relieved than exuberant in the moment.

''It was just a really stressful day,'' she said. ''I'm glad I didn't have to play in a playoff, because I was exhausted. It was just total relief.''

Lewis spent her teen years in a back brace with scoliosis, then had surgery that corrected her spine with five screws and a steel rod.

She birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 17 each of the past two days, when she was a combined 9 under on the back nine.

Her approach shot on No. 15 hooked left and rolled downhill into the water. She took a drop and two-putted for bogey to lose the outright lead, but got the stroke back on the next hole.

''Probably the shot of the week for me was my chip shot on 16,'' Lewis said. ''You could probably put 10 balls there and maybe get four or five of them up and down. To hit the shot I did under the pressure was huge.''

Lewis birdied the first two holes to open a five-stroke lead over five players bunched at 11 under. She had nothing but pars and one bogey on those holes through three days.

Se Ri Pak had the previous low score in the tournament's first three years at 13 under in 2010.

Five players finished just one stroke off that pace: Azahara Munoz, U.S. Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu, Karrie Webb, Sun Young Yoo and Brittany Lincicome. Ryu moved to 13 under before a triple bogey on No. 15.

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Watch: Tiger's Saturday birdies at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 8:07 pm

Tiger Woods looks in complete control of his iron play at PGA National.

Four back to start the day, Woods parred his first seven holes before pouring in his first Saturday birdie via this flagged iron from 139 at the par-4 eighth:

Woods hit three more quality approaches at 9, 10 and 11 but couldn't get a putt to drop.

The lid finally came off the hole at No. 12 when he holed a key 17-footer for par to keep his scorecard clean.

One hole later, Woods added a second circle to that card, converting this 14-footer for a birdie-3 that moved him back into red figures at 1 under par for the week.

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O. Fisher, Pepperell share lead at Qatar Masters

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 5:13 pm

DOHA, Qatar - Oliver Fisher birdied his last four holes in the Qatar Masters third round to share the lead at Doha Golf Club on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under 65 for an overall 16-under 200. Eddie Pepperell (66) picked up shots on the 16th and 18th to catch his compatriot and the pair enjoy a two-shot lead over American Sean Crocker (67) in third.

David Horsey (65) was the biggest mover of the day with the Englishman improving 31 places for a share of fourth place at 12 under with, among others, Frenchman Gregory Havret and Italian Andrea Pavan.

Fisher, winner of the 2011 Czech Open, made some stunning putts on his way in. After an eight-footer on the par-4 15th, he then drove the green on the short par-4 16th for an easy birdie, before making a 12-footer on the 17th and a 15-footer on the 18th.

Like Pepperell, Fisher also had just one bogey to show on his card, also on the 12th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

''I gave myself some chances coming in and thankfully I made them,'' said Fisher, who has dropped to 369th in the world rankings.

''You can quite easily make a few bogeys without doing that much wrong here, so it's important to be patient and keep giving yourself chances.''

Pepperell, ranked 154th in the world after a strong finish to his 2017 season, has been a picture of consistency in the tournament. He was once again rock-solid throughout the day, except one bad hole - the par-4 12th. His approach shot came up short and landed in the rocks, the third ricocheted back off the rocks, and he duffed his fourth shot to stay in the waste area.

But just when a double bogey or worse looked imminent, Pepperell holed his fifth shot for what was a remarkable bogey. And he celebrated that escape with a 40-feet birdie putt on the 13th.

''I maybe lost a little feeling through the turn, but I bounced back nicely and I didn't let it bother me,'' said the 27-year-old Pepperell, who hit his third shot to within four feet on the par-5 18th to join Fisher on top.

The long-hitting Crocker is playing on invites on the European Tour. He made a third eagle in three days - on the par-4 16th for the second successive round.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 24, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Uihlein fires back at Jack in ongoing distance debate

By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2018, 4:32 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Wally Uihlein challenged Jack Nicklaus’ assault this week on the golf ball.

Uihlein, an industry force as president and CEO of Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet for almost 20 years, retired at year’s start but remains an adviser.

In an interview with ScoreGolf on Friday, Uihlein reacted to Nicklaus’ assertions that the ball is responsible for contributing to a lot of the troubles the game faces today, from slow play and sagging participation to the soaring cost to play.

Uihlein also took the USGA and The R&A to task.

The ball became a topic when Nicklaus met with reporters Tuesday at the Honda Classic and was asked about slow play. Nicklaus said the ball was “the biggest culprit” of that.

“It appears from the press conference that Mr. Nicklaus was blaming slow play on technology and the golf ball in particular,” Uihlein said. “I don’t think anyone in the world believes that the golf ball has contributed to the game’s pace of play issues.”

Nicklaus told reporters that USGA executive director Mike Davis pledged over dinner with him to address the distance the golf ball is flying and the problems Nicklaus believes the distance explosion is creating in the game.

“Mike Davis has not told us that he is close, and he has not asked us for help if and when he gets there,” Uihlein said.

ScoreGolf pointed out that the Vancouver Protocol of 2011 was created after a closed-door meeting among the USGA, The R&A and equipment manufacturers, with the intent to make any proposed changes to equipment rules or testing procedures more transparent and to allow participation in the process.

“There are no golf courses being closed due to the advent of evolving technology,” Uihlein said. “There is no talk from the PGA Tour and its players about technology making their commercial product less attractive. Quite the opposite, the PGA Tour revenues are at record levels. The PGA of America is not asking for a roll back of technology. The game’s everyday player is not advocating a roll back of technology.”

ScoreGolf said Uihlein questioned why the USGA and The R&A choose courses that “supposedly” can no longer challenge the game’s best players as preferred venues for the U.S. Open, The Open and other high-profile events.

“It seems to me at some point in time that the media should be asking about the conflict of interest between the ruling bodies while at the same time conducting major championships on venues that maybe both the athletes and the technology have outgrown,” he said. “Because it is the potential obsolescence of some of these championship venues which is really at the core of this discussion.”