Oh grabs first win at LPGA State Farm Classic

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
State Farm Classic Logo 2007SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- When a red-eyed Michelle Wie left the clubhouse at Panther Creek Country Club on Saturday, it looked like she took all the drama the State Farm Classic had to offer with her.
 
The 18-year-old golfer, on the verge of playing her way onto the LPGA Tour and playing her best golf of the year, was disqualified for failure to sign her scorecard.
 
But Sunday afternoon, a pair of young golfers did their best to fill the gap.
 
Second-year pro Ji Young Oh of South Korea won her first tournament Sunday, sinking a 6-inch putt for par to win the State Farm Classic in a playoff over 19-year-old Taiwanese rookie Yani Tseng.
 
Tseng, the leader coming into Sunday, chipped her third shot over the green and into the rough, then pitched her ball to about 6 feet from the cup.
 
But the 20-year-old Ohs third shot, from just inside the rough, left her with the tap-in that gave her the win.
 
Oh, who spoke English with reporters for much of the tournament, resorted to an interpreter after the overtime because she said she was floored by the win.
 
I would love to do this interview in English, she said through the interpreter, but my mind is totally blank.
 
Tseng, who shot a 66 in each of the first three rounds before her even-par 72 on Sunday, said after her loss that her nerves got the best of her Sunday.
 
I really feel nervous, she said. Its my first time (to open a round) at the top of the leaderboard.
 
Tseng, who won the LPGA Championship for her first career victory, said three of her closest losses'as a pro and an amateur'have come to South Koreans.
 
I really dont like playing with Koreans, she joked.
 
Oh was among the steadiest golfers this week at Panther Creek Country Club.
 
She shot a 66 each of the first two rounds to stay quietly just behind the leaders. Then she shot a 69 Saturday to set herself up just behind Tseng.
 
Oh, like much of the field, struggled with heat and wind Sunday, bogeying three holes. But she still managed six birdies and, as Tseng melted on the playoff hole, Oh calmly chipped in close and tapped in the winner.
 
I wasnt all that nervous, she said. Starting this week, from the first day, Ive been playing pretty well.
 
Na Yeon Choi finished in third place at 17 under for the tournament after shooting a 4-under 68 Sunday.
 
On a day dominated by youth, Chinese LPGA rookie Shanshan Feng shot a 9-under 63'the second best round of the tournament along with Christina Kims first round'and finished the tournament at 16 under par, tied for fourth place with Stacy Prammanasudh and Hee-Won Han.
 
Wie was disqualified after she finished her round Saturday'a 5-under-par 67 that had her a stroke off the lead'for failing to sign her scorecard a day earlier.
 
Wie was chased down by a tournament volunteer after she left the course at the 9th hole without signing her card, something required by golfs rules. LPGA officials say they didnt learn about Wies miscue until after play started Saturday morning.
 
A win or high finish would have all but guaranteed her enough money to finish in the top 80 LPGA players this year, the cutoff for automatic inclusion in next years tour.
 
Wie, a part-time golfer and full-time student at Stanford, played at the State Farm on a sponsor exemption. The LPGA allows non-touring players six of those a year, and Wie has one left.
 
She has said she would play at the Canadian Womens Open next month.
 
Wie was playing what might have been the best golf of the tournament, and the best shes played this year.
 
Oh, though, said Wies absence didnt cheapen her win.
 
I didnt think about it much, Oh said. No one knows how well she would have played.
 
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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.