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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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”