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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    Frittelli fulfilled promise by making Match Play field

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:40 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dylan Frittelli attended the University of Texas and still maintains a residence in Austin, so in an odd way this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a home game for the South African who plays the European Tour.

    Frittelli actually attended the event last year as a spectator, when he watched the quarterfinal matches on Saturday afternoon, and made a promise to himself.

    “I told a lot of people, I was running into them. I said, ‘I'll be here next year, I'll be playing in this tournament,’” said Frittelli, who climbed to 45th in the world ranking after two victories last year in Europe. “People looked at me, you're 190 in the world, that's hard to get to 64. It was a goal I set myself.”

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    Frittelli’s next goal may be a little payback for a loss he suffered in college when he was a teammate of Jordan Spieth’s. Frittelli is making his first start at the Match Play and could face his old Longhorn stable mate this week depending on how the brackets work out and his play.

    “We had the UT inter-team championship. Coach switched it to match play my senior year, and Jordan beat me in the final at UT Golf Club. It was 3 and 2,” Frittelli said. “So I'm not too keen to face him again.

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    Match Play security tightens after Austin bombings

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:06 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – A fourth bombing this month in Austin injured two men Sunday night and authorities believe the attacks are the work of a serial bomber.

    The bombings have led to what appears to be stepped-up security at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

    “I was out here [Sunday]; typically that's the most relaxed day. But they had security officials on every corner of the clubhouse and on the exterior, as well,” said Dylan Frittelli, who lives in Austin and is playing the Match Play for the first time this week. “It was pretty tough to get through all the protocols. I'm sure they'll have stuff in place.”

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    The PGA Tour told The Associated Press on Monday that it doesn't comment on the specifics of its security measures, but that the safety of players and fans is its top priority. The circuit is also coordinating closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of players and fans.

    Despite the bombings, which have killed two people and injured two others, the Tour has not yet reached out to players to warn of any potential threat or advise the field about increased security.

    “It’s strange,” Paul Casey said. “Maybe they are going to, but they haven’t.”

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    Rosaforte Report: Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind and stroke

    By Tim RosaforteMarch 19, 2018, 8:00 pm

    With all the talk about rolling back the golf ball, it was the way Rory McIlroy rolled it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that was the story of the week and the power surge he needed going into the Masters.

    Just nine days earlier, a despondent McIlroy missed the cut at the Valspar Championship, averaging 29 putts per round in his 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort. At Bay Hill, McIlroy needed only 100 putts to win for the first time in the United States since the 2016 Tour Championship.

    The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week. What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks.

    The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.

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    As a professional courtesy, Faxon laid low, respecting McIlroy’s relationship with Kenyon, who also works with European stars Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. Knowing how McIlroy didn’t like the way Dave Stockton took credit after helping him win multiple majors, Faxon let McIlroy do the talking. Asked about their encounter during his Saturday news conference at Bay Hill, McIlroy called it “more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”

    “There was nothing I told him he had never heard before, nothing I told him that was a secret,” Faxon, who once went 327 consecutive holes on Tour without a three-putt, said on Monday. “I think (Rory) said it perfectly when he said it allowed him to be an athlete again. We try to break it down so well, it locks us up. If I was able to unlock what was stuck, he took it to the next level. The thing I learned, there can be no method of belief more important than the athlete’s true instinct.”

    Without going into too much detail, McIlroy explained that Faxon made him a little more “instinctive and reactive.” In other words, less “mechanical and technical.” It was the same takeaway that Gary Woodland had after picking Faxon’s brain before his win in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Sunday night, after leading the field in strokes gained-putting, McIlroy was more elaborative, explaining how Faxon “freed up my head more than my stroke,” confessing that he was complicating things a bit and was getting less athletic.

    “You look at so many guys out there, so many different ways to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “The objective is to get the ball in the hole and that’s it. I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

    All of this occurred after a conversation I had Sunday morning with swing instructor Pete Cowen, who praised Kenyon for the work he had done with his player, Henrik Stenson. Cowen attributed Henrik’s third-round lead at Bay Hill to the diligent work he put in with Kenyon over the last two months.

    “It’s confidence,” Cowen said. “(Stenson) needs a good result for confidence and then he’s off. If he putts well, he has a chance of winning every time he plays.”

    Cowen made the point that on the PGA Tour, a player needs 100-110 putts per week – or an average of 25-27 putts per round – to have a chance of winning. Those include what Cowen calls the “momentum putts,” that are especially vital in breaking hearts at this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Stenson, who is not playing this week in Austin, Texas, saw a lot of positives but admitted there wasn’t much he could do against McIlroy shooting 64 on Sunday in the final round on a tricky golf course.

    “It's starting to come along in the right direction for sure,” Stenson said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there this week, even though maybe the confidence is not as high as some of the shots were, so we'll keep on working on that and it's a good time of the year to start playing well.”

    Nobody knows that better than McIlroy, who is hoping to stay hot going for his third WGC and, eventually, the career Grand Slam at Augusta.

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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.