Nordqvist wins Tour Championship Ochoa Player of the Year

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2009, 4:17 am

LPGA Tour _new

RICHMOND, Texas – Anna Nordqvist won the LPGA Tour Championship on Monday and Lorena Ochoa finished second to earn her fourth consecutive Player of the Year award, by one point over Jiyai Shin.

The 22-year-old Nordqvist shot a final-round 65 to finish 13 under par. Ochoa was two strokes back and won the top player honor when Shin couldn’t chip in from the front of the 18th hole.

Shin led Ochoa by eight points (156-148) in the race entering the tournament. Once Ochoa secured second place, Shin had to finish no worse than seventh to win the Player of the Year award. Shin settled for a par on the last hole and finished tied for eighth at 6 under, giving Ochoa the award by a 160-159 score. Point totals are based on top-10 results.

Anna Nordqvist
Anna Nordqvist won for the second time in 2009. (Getty Images)
The 21-year-old South Korean fell short in her bid to win the Rookie and Player of the Year awards. Nancy Lopez remains the only player to sweep both titles, in 1978.

The good-natured Shin was still smiling after coming up short.

“I learned a lot from this year,” she said. “I need more focus, concentration, and everything. I really made my goals. I just missed Player of the Year, but I still had a good year.”

Ochoa also won her fourth straight Vare Trophy, honoring the season’s lowest scoring average. Ochoa and Shin were separated by decimal points in that race coming into the tournament.

Nordqvist, meanwhile, earned her second career victory and made it through the season without missing a cut in 15 starts. She also won the LPGA Championship this year.

Shin and Nordqvist played in the day’s final group, right behind Ochoa. The Houstonian Golf and Country Club was still soggy after more than an inch of weekend rain and players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls.

Nordqvist surged to the lead at 12 under with five consecutive birdies between Nos. 8-12. She bogeyed the 13th, then added birdies on 14 and 15 to settle the tournament and clear the way for Ochoa and Shin to decide their duel.

“I definitely tried to be aggressive,” Nordqvist said. “It was pretty tight up the leaderboard, so you were really going to have to shoot low in order to pull it off. I’m just very, very happy that I did.”

Shin seemed to take the inside track when Ochoa needed two shots to escape a greenside bunker on the par-3 17th hole. Ochoa sank a bogey putt as Shin and Nordqvist watched from the tee.

But Shin also hit a bunker on the 17th, blasted out short of the green and bogeyed.

Ochoa dropped her approach to the 18th hole about 16 feet away and studied the leaderboard as she walked to the green. She and caddie Greg Johnston talked about the situation before Ochoa curled in the putt, giving a modest fist pump after it fell.

Shin’s second shot to the 18th hole stopped a few feet off the green. Her chip missed the hole by inches and Ochoa patted her heart, embraced Johnston and held back tears near the scorers’ tent.

Na Yeon Choi (64) and second-round leader Kristy McPherson (70) finished 10 under, tied for third. A trio of players finished 7 under and Shin’s costly par dropped her into a four-way tie for eighth.

Choi surged up the leaderboard in the early afternoon with a 30 on the front nine. She holed a 175-yard shot from the ninth fairway and birdied the 10th hole to reach 10 under.

Shin struggled to make putts on the front nine and didn’t make her first birdie until No. 11. By then, Ochoa was within a shot of the lead. But Ochoa dropped shots at nos. 8 and 9, and Nordqvist to zip past her.

Ochoa got back on track with an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 15, setting up the dramatic finish.

The event was shortened to 54 holes after weekend rains forced long delays. The second round was completed Monday morning, the cut was made and the third round began immediately in sunny, calm conditions.

 

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

Getty Images

PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

Getty Images

Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm