Miyazato wins fifth title of season at Safeway reclaims No 1 ranking

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2010, 4:37 am
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PORTLAND, Ore. – Ai Miyazato was in uncharacteristic territory to start the final round of the LPGA Safeway Classic.

She was nervous.

While Miyazato normally appears composed, the jitters were evident when the Japanese star bogeyed the par-4 second hole on the Ghost Creek Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. Then she bogeyed the par-4 seventh.

It wasn’t until a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole that she steadied herself – and cruised to her fifth victory of the year. Miyazato, who also led after the first two rounds, closed with an even-par 72 to finish at 11 under.

“Today was a really tough day,” she said. “I was really nervous on the front nine. But after nine holes I made a birdie and it gave me a good kick.”

Ai Miyazato
Ai Miyazato reacts to her fifth LPGA win of the season. (Getty Images)

With the win, Miyazato reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings, swiping that status from Cristie Kerr, who finished two strokes back along with Na Yeon Choi.

Kerr chased Miyazato throughout the final round until hitting into the water on the par-4 18th. The American finished with a 70, while Choi shot a 71.

Miyazato, ranked No. 1 for a week in June and again for a week in July, is among five players who have been jockeying for the top ranking, including Kerr, Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen and Yani Tseng. The spot came up for grabs when Lorena Ochoa retired earlier this season.

“My goal at the start of this year was to become Player of the Year. So I’m aiming for that,” she said. “Everybody is so close at the top, so I don’t really know what is going to happen. But it’s a good motivator for me.

The Safeway Classic, in its second year at Pumpkin Ridge about a 20-minute drive west of Portland, was marred Saturday when veteran Juli Inkster, in strong position to contend in the final round, was disqualified.

The 50-year-old Hall of Famer used a weighted training aid on her club to stay loose while waiting for 30 minutes to make the turn at the 10th hole. That broke rule 14-3, which meant disqualification.

Miyazato and Kim, playing in the final pairing of the day, battled on the back nine holes after Kim pulled even with Miyazato with a jaw-dropping chip from under a tree to birdie the par-3 11th. But Kim dropped two shots with bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes.

In the pairing in front of them, Kerr missed a chance to pull even with Miyazato by misjudging a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17. Her chances slipped away with the shot into the water on the final hole.

“I just said to myself, `How could you do that?”’ she said.

Kerr has won twice on the tour this season, at the LPGA Championship and the State Farm Classic. She won the Safeway Classic in 2008 when it was at Columbia Edgewater Country Club near Portland International Airport.

“I’m not going to be far off as far as points, so this was an important week for me to finish up there even if I didn’t win,” she said.

Pettersen (69) and Song-Hee Kim (72) finished at 8 under.

Tseng, who the Women’s British Open on Aug. 1 for her second major victory of the season and third in three years, finished 2 over.

M.J. Hur, the defending champion, was 4 over and did not make the cut. The Safeway Classic is her first and only title to date. Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Christina Kim were among those who also missed the cut.

Inkster was in a three-way tie for second at 8 under with Kim and Choi after two rounds. But that was erased when she used the “doughnut” training aid to practice her swing before making the backed-up turn, and the image flashed on television.

LPGA Director of Tournament Competitions Sue Witters said a viewer watching the broadcast brought the violation to the attention of tournament officials via email. By that time, Inkster was almost done with her round.

“I had a 30-minute wait and I needed to loosen up,” Inkster said in a statement. “It had no effect on my game whatsoever, but it is what it is. I’m very disappointed.”

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

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

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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