Lexi battle back pain, leads in Meijer title defense

By Associated PressJune 17, 2016, 11:37 pm

BELMONT, Mich. – Defending champion Lexi Thompson fought through back pain Friday to take the second-round lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic.

''It just came on last weekend and it was really bad today,'' Thompson said. ''I'm not really one to complain about pain because I just fight through it, but yeah, it's hurting. I'm going to go and get a rubdown and see if it goes away.''

The 21-year-old Thompson shot a 4-under 67, rebounding from bogeys on 15 and 16 with birdies on the final two holes to reach 10-under 132 at Blythefield.

''It was definitely important to come back from the two bogeys,'' Thompson said. ''I just hit a few errant drives there toward the end and made bogeys, but I played 17 and 18 well.''

Canada's Alena Sharp bogeyed her final hole to drop into a tie for second at 9 under with South Korean players In Gee Chun, So Yeon Ryu and Q Baek. They all shot 67.

''We just finished major tournament last week and the golf course was quite narrow and a really, really tough golf course,'' Ryu said about the KPMG Women's PGA last week outside Seattle. ''We really had to deal with all the trees. After last week, this golf course feels more wide open, I feel more comfortable, felt like be able to play more aggressive.''


Meijer LPGA Classic: Full-field scores


Thompson won the Honda LPGA Thailand in February for her seventh LPGA title. The long-hitting Florida player, ranked fourth in the world, also won a Japan LPGA event last month. The back pain could be a major concern heading into the busy summer schedule and golf's return to the Olympics.

''I just try not to pay attention to it,'' Thompson said. ''It was hurting just getting into posture for my golf shot, so it is what it is. Took a few ibuprofens and waited for it to kick in. I didn't really want to pay attention to how bad it was hurting because then it brings more attention to it and it becomes a mind game. I just tried not to focus on it and I just tried to stick to what I did yesterday.''

The 35-year-old Sharp is winless on the LPGA, with six top-10 finishes in 11 seasons.

''I'm going to just keep playing my game, hit fairways and go at pins when I can,'' Sharp said. ''My putting has been really good the last two tournaments, so I'm kind of relying on it.''

Amy Yang (67) was 8 under along with Sei Young Kim (69), Minjee Lee (67), Haru Nomura (67), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (68), Amelia Lewis (68) and Carlota Ciganda (69).

Top-ranked Lydia Ko and No. 2 Brooke Henderson, coming off a playoff victory over Ko in the KPMG Women's PGA, were together at 7 under after matching rounds of 68.

Ko birdied three of her last five holes. The 19-year-old New Zealander won the Kia Classic and major ANA Inspiration in consecutive weeks this year in Southern California. She has 12 LPGA victories.

''I'm happy with the way I played,'' Ko said. ''I was pretty consistent and I just got to keep playing like this. My ball striking wasn't as good as yesterday, so hopefully it can get better progressively on the weekend.''

Henderson played her final nine holes in 4 under. The 18-year-old Canadian, up to No. 2 in the world, has 10 top-10 finishes this season. She also won last year in Portland, Oregon.

''It was much warmer out today, a beautiful day,'' Henderson said. ''I started out not as well as I would have liked, 1 over for the front nine, but I made a lot of birdies on the back and go 4 under, so overall it was a pretty steady day. I know I have some work to do on the weekend, but I'm looking forward to it.''

Ariya Jutanugarn, third last week after winning her previous three starts, was 5 under after a 69. Older sister Moriya also was 5 under after a 68.

Laura Davies, the 52-year-old World Golf Hall of Fame member who shot a 65 on Thursday to share the lead, had a 73 to drop to 4 under. She won the last of her 20 LPGA titles in 2001.

Michelle Wie made the cut by a stroke at 1 under, following her opening 71 with a 70. She's winless since the 2014 U.S. Women's Open and hasn't had a top-10 finish in 37 events.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.