Park leads Manulife Financial Classic field by 2

By Associated PressJune 23, 2012, 11:19 pm

WATERLOO, Ontario – South Korea's Inbee Park shot a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.

The 2008 U.S. Women's Open champion had a 14-under 199 total at Grey Silo. She rebounded from a bogey on the par-3 17th with a birdie on the par-5 18th.

''I hit the ball very good today,'' Park said. ''I hit a lot of good iron shots, and I think I played the par 5s really good today. That helped me a lot. There was some more putts out there that I could have made, but I was really happy with the way I hit the ball today. Hopefully, tomorrow it will be a better putting day.''

Brittany Lang and Hee Kyung Seo shot a 67 to reach 12 under.

Lang parred the first 15 holes, then birdied Nos. 16 and 17 and made a 5-foot eagle putt in 18. The former Duke star is winless on the LPGA Tour.

''I hit some good putts and some good shots and I just couldn't get anything going,'' Lang said. ''But I stayed patient and positive and finally made the birdie on 16 and got some energy and hit a great shot into 17. That was a great and even that, it's tricky to read the greens out here. You can hit good putts and not make them, but I stayed positive and just hit two awesome shots on 18. I'm very happy with that finish.''

Anna Nordqvist was 10 under after a 67.

''I thought it was solid. I played really well yesterday afternoon, couldn't make a putt, shot 1 over, so I was a little bit disappointed after yesterday,'' Nordqvist said. ''So, I think it kind of got me a little, you know, a little momentum coming into today. It was solid. I hit a lot of greens, took advantage of the par 5s and I think that's the keys on this course.''

China's Shanshan Feng, coming off a major victory two weeks ago in the LPGA Championship, was 9 under along with Karin Sjodin, Nicole Hage and first-round leader Sandra Changkija. Feng had a 70, Sjodin shot 69, Hage 67 and Changkija 69. Stacy Lewis, a two-time winner this year, had a 69 to top the group at 8 under.

''This has been the nicest tournament I think I've ever played in,'' Hage said. ''This is my fifth year on tour and it's just been first class from just every little detail and the fans out here are just unbelievable. I played in seven Opens and these fans are awesome.''

Michelle Wie was even par after a 73.

Getty Images

Players winner to get 3-year exemption into PGA

By Rex HoggardFebruary 21, 2018, 8:01 pm

Although The Players isn’t golf’s fifth major, it received a boost in that direction this week.

The PGA of America has adjusted its criteria for eligibility into the PGA Championship, extending an exemption for the winner of The Players to three years.

According to an official with the PGA of America, the association felt the winner of The Players deserved more than a single-year exemption, which had been the case, and the move is consistent with how the PGA Tour’s annual flagship event is treated by the other majors.

Winners of The Players were already exempt for three years into the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

The change will begin with this year’s PGA Championship.

Getty Images

Thomas: Playing in front of Tiger even more chaotic

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:52 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas may be going from the frying pan to the fire of Tiger Woods’ pairings.

Translation: He’s going from being grouped with Woods last week in the first two rounds at the Genesis Open to being grouped directly in front of Woods this week at the Honda Classic.

“Which might be even worse than playing with him,” Thomas said Wednesday.

Typically, the pairing in front of Woods deals with a lot of gallery movement, with fans racing ahead to get in position to see Woods’ next shot.

Thomas was quoted after two rounds with Tiger at Riviera saying fans “got a little out of hand,” and saying it’s disappointing some golf fans today think it’s “so amusing to yell and all that stuff while we’re trying to hit shots.”

With 200,000 fans expected this week at the Honda Classic, and with the Goslings Bear Trap pavilion setting a party mood at the 16th green and 17th tee, that portion of the course figures to be quite lively at PGA National.


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Thomas was asked about that.

“I touched on this a little bit last week,” Thomas said. “I think it got blown out of proportion, was just taken out of context, and worded differently than how I said it or meant it.

“I love the fans. The fans are what I hope to have a lot of, what all of us hope to have a lot of. We want them cheering us on. But it's those certain fans that are choosing to yell at the wrong times, or just saying stuff that's completely inappropriate.”

Thomas said it’s more than ill-timed shouts. It’s the nature of some things being said.

“It's one thing if it's just you and I talking, but when you're around kids, when you're around women, when you're around families, or just around people in general, some of the stuff they are saying to us is just extremely inappropriate,” he said. “There’s really no place for it anywhere, especially on a golf course.

“I feel like golf is pretty well known as a classy sport, not that other sports aren't, but it has that reputation.”

Thomas said the nature of the 17th hole at PGA National’s Champion Course makes it a more difficult tee shot than the raucous 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Typically, players like to hear fans get into the action before or after they hit shots. Ill-timed bluster, however, makes a shot like the one at Honda’s 17th even tougher.

“That hole is hard enough,” Thomas said. “I don't need someone yelling in my ear on my backswing that I'm going to hit it in the water, to make it any harder. I hope it gets better, just for the sake of the game. That's not helping anything. That's not helping grow the game.”

Those who follow golf know an ill-timed shout in a player’s backswing is different than anything a fan says at a football, basketball or baseball game. An ill-timed comment in a backswing has a greater effect on the outcome of a competition.

“Just in terms of how much money we're playing for, how many points we're playing for ... this is our jobs out here, and you hate to somehow see something that a fan does, or something that they yell, influence something that affects [a player’s] job,” Thomas said.

Getty Images

Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.