Mirim Lee beats Inbee Park in playoff for Meijer title

By Associated PressAugust 11, 2014, 12:01 am

BELMONT, Mich. - Mirim Lee won the Meijer LPGA Classic on Sunday for her first LPGA victory, beating fellow South Korean player Inbee Park with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff.

''I (was) nervous 100 percent,'' Lee said. ''First time in playoff. Inbee Park is like a hero in Korea and all the young girls want to be her now in Korea.''

The long-hitting Lee drove into greenside bunker on the second extra hole - the short par-4 17th - and blasted out to 5 feet. After Park's 15-foot birdie try lipped out, Lee holed her putt for the victory.

They each parred the 18th to open the playoff. Park's approach shot hit the cup on the way past and she missed a 15-foot birdie try. Lee two-putted from 35 feet.

The 23-year-old Lee, an LPGA rookie, closed with a 2-under 69 to match Park at 14-under 270 at Blythefield Country Club. Park, a 10-time tour winner, finished with a 70.



Lee is projected to jump to 29th in the world ranking. She earned $225,000 to jump from 40th to eighth on the money list with $414,135. Her previous best was a second-place finish in Phoenix in March.

Norway's Suzann Pettersen was a stroke back after a 69.

Park said the win will give Lee great confidence.

''I think she was kind of, you know, thinking about whether she should come to the LPGA or whether she should stay in KLPGA,'' Park said. ''but I think this will definitely make her see she made a good decision.''

Park said in the end the new blade putter she put in the bag this week let her down in the last round.

''I felt I hit a good putt, but it just didn't go in,'' she said of the final birdie attempt. ''The putter just wasn't there. It was nice to shoot under par, but Mirim played well in the playoff holes.''

Pettersen, seeking her first win this year after 14 in her career, said she just didn't hit enough good shots or drives on the back nine in the final round.

''It's nice to get four solid rounds of competition in,'' she said. ''I've struggled this year, but it is coming. Disappointed to be one short, but it was nice to be back in contention straight after a three-week break.''

With three holes to play, Park, Pettersen and Lee were tied for the lead at 14 under, but Pettersen had tree and sand troubles and made a bogey at 16 to fall a shot behind.

Park and Lee each missed birdie chances at the 17th. On the 18th, Lee two-putted for par from 40 feet, and Park made a 6-foot par putt.

Pettersen, who was playing in the group in front of Park for the day, birdied the first two holes and eagled the par-5 fifth - hitting a 3-wood shot to 6 feet - to tie Park at 15 under.

Lee birdied the par-5 11th to pull within a shot of Park.

After 10 consecutive pars, Park three-putted the par-3 14th for a bogey. It happened about the same time Pettersen was punching a shot from the trees to 8 feet at 15 to set up a birdie and another tie.

Lee, trailing most of the day by a shot or two, then joined Park and Pettersen at 14 under with a 5-foot birdie putt at 15.

Japan's Haru Nomura was fourth at 10 under after a 68. Germany's Sandra Gal, the first-round leader, was another stroke back after a 66.

Top-ranked Stacy Lewis had her best round of the week with a 66 to tie for 11th at 6 under.

The tournament was the first LPGA event in Michigan since 2000 when the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing ended its nine-year run.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.