Park wins her second North Texas Shootout

By Associated PressMay 4, 2015, 1:15 am

IRVING, Texas – Inbee Park loves coming to Texas. For the second time in three years, she's leaving the Lone Star State with a trophy.

Two years after winning the LPGA's inaugural North Texas Shootout, Park closed with a bogey-free 6-under 65 on Sunday to win it again, this time by three strokes over Cristie Kerr and Hee Young Park.

''I don't know how I did it, but I did it twice,'' Inbee Park said. ''I love this golf course. ... It seems like it really suits my eye.''

Park, ranked No. 2 in the world, never surrendered the lead after consecutive birdies at the second and third holes at Las Colinas Country Club, finishing at 15-under 269 for her second victory this year and 14th on the tour. This is the fourth season in a row the 26-year-old South Korean player has multiple victories.

Kerr had three consecutive birdies to finish her round of 66. Hee Young Park also had a 66, birdieing the final two holes after her only bogey at No. 16.

''Can't complain,'' the 37-year-old Kerr said. ''I was great mentally. ... I thought I had to shoot at least 5 or 6 under to have a chance, and I did that.''

Lydia Ko, coming off a win last week in California, will maintain the No. 1 ranking even after a closing 71 to tie for 41st at even par. The 18-year-old from New Zealand is donating her $6,241 check to Nepal earthquake relief.

''I didn't know if I was even going to be able to make the cut or even make a donation,'' said Ko, who was just on the line to make the primary cut Friday and secondary cut Saturday. ''Luckily, I was able to play all four days. ... The last three days was a lot of grinding, but I'm happy that I can contribute.''

Lexi Thompson, who shared the third-round lead with Park, closed with a 69 to tie for fourth with Maria McBride (65) at 11 under.

A stroke behind Park midway through the round, Thompson was set to get even again after her approach to about 5 feet at the 415-yard ninth hole. But before making that birdie putt, Park curled in a much longer putt there to get to 12 under.

''That really got me going into the momentum, and that definitely gave me a lot of confidence on the greens,'' Park said. ''I thought maybe today is not the day for me on the putting because it didn't want to go in on the front nine.''

Park was four strokes ahead of Thompson after a 10-foot birdie putt at the 390-yard 15th hole to get to 14 under. Thompson hit her approach through that green and made a bogey.

Park, the HSBC Women's Champions winner in March in Singapore, pushed her career total to nearly $10.8 million with the $195,000 first-prize check.

Angela Stanford, who lives in nearby Fort Worth and attended TCU, was at 10 under after a 69. That was a stroke ahead of a trio of defending champion Stacy Lewis (67), Juli Inkster (67) and Karrie Webb (70).

It was the first top-10 finish since 2011 for Inkster, the 54-year-old Solheim Cup captain and 31-time tour winner.

McBride made only $49,315 in her 32 previous starts since 2012, when the Swede had her last top-10 finish. The tie for fourth will net her $61,259 after a round with two eagles, and just missing a third on the final hole.

Brooke Henderson, the 17-year-old Canadian who nearly made a playoff last week in San Francisco and was the second-round leader in Texas, opened Sunday with a birdie to get to 9 under and match the leaders who had not yet teed off.

But Henderson was out of contention after a three-hole stretch that started with a bogey at the par-5 third hole, where her approach settled in a concrete culvert under a city street between holes. She double bogeyed the par-3 fourth after her tee shot went in the water, then had another bogey at the fifth hole.

Henderson's 73 left her in a tie for 13th at 6-under 278.

The LPGA has denied Henderson a membership waiver to its minimum age requirement of 18. To make the field in Texas, she took an overnight flight after finishing the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic and then had to endure a qualifying round stretched over two days because of weather before a playoff.

''It has been a long week,'' she said. ''I'm excited to sort of go and relax a little bit while I caddie for my sister in South Carolina. But it's been a lot of fun and I wouldn't change it for the world.''

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.