Ochoa holds off hard-charging Wie in Alabama

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2009, 2:44 am

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PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Lorena Ochoa successfully defended her Navistar LPGA Classic title, overcoming early troubles to shoot a 2-under 70 on Sunday for a four-stroke victory over Michelle Wie and Brittany Lang.

Ochoa finished at 18-under 270 on The Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Capitol Hill complex to snap an 11-start winless streak dating to the Corona Championship in late April. The top-ranked Mexican star has three victories this year and 27 overall on the LPGA.

“There are places where you feel comfortable and you feel a good vibe and you like the course,” Ochoa said. “This has been really good for me. I feel comfortable here. I have a lot of good memories.”

One more: Friends Shanti Granada from home and Marisa Baena, a Colombian LPGA player, chased her around the green spraying her with cans of beer afterward.

“It feels good,” said Ochoa, second behind Sophie Gustafson last week in California. “I have a lot of emotions because it hasn’t been easy. I’m ready to keep playing good ball and would love the chance to finish with a few more wins.”

Ochoa wiped out her three-stroke lead coming into the day with a bogey and double bogey in the first five holes, sending her drive into the trees for an unplayable ball on No. 5.

“I told myself, ‘Forget it, you have many holes to play and just be patient,”’ Ochoa said.

She erased any drama with a birdie on No. 17 for the third straight day. Ochoa two-putted from some 50 feet.

The conditions made for few low scores on the day.

“The wind picked up, the temperature was lower and the greens were a little harder,” Ochoa said. “They were really hard. It changed the golf course.”

Wie overcame a gimpy left ankle to close with a 66, while Lang had a 70 to keep pace with Ochoa. Yani Tseng (70) and Janice Moodie (71) were five strokes back.

Fourteen-year-old Alexis Thompson shot her second straight 74 to tie for 27th at 6 under. She opened with rounds of 65 and 69 to share the second-round lead.

Wie sprained her left ankle about a month and a half ago, reinjured it Thursday by stepping in a hole and tweaked it again Saturday.

She had five birdies on the final nine holes, and the ankle might have actually taken some of the pressure off her.

“I’m very proud of the way I grinded out there, especially on the back nine,” said Wie, who has finished second twice this year. “There were a lot of times where I felt like I had to stop and catch my breath and keep going.

“My ankle was the only thing I could think about – one step forward, another step forward. That was all I was thinking about on the back nine. Score wasn’t really a factor. I just wanted to finish.”

The 14-year-old Thompson, a ninth-grader from Florida, finished with a crowd-pleasing shot to set up a 6-inch tap-in on the final hole, pumping both fists in the air as the ball rolled toward the hole.

“That was a pretty good shot to end it on,” said Thompson, who was part of a five-way tie for the second-round lead. “That’s all I wanted. I thought it was in there. I reacted like it was in the hole. That would have been nice.”

Her caddie and father, Scott Thompson, said his daughter really wanted a strong finish. “She was like, ‘I’ve played so bad, let me hit one good shot for all these people,”’ he said.

Thompson was bombarded by autograph seekers, including plenty of girls about her age.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “I wish I would have finished better. I didn’t expect to do this bad. The first two days, it was pretty good. The last two days, it seemed like I hadn’t hit a ball in forever.”

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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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