Park wins seventh major at Women's British Open

By Associated PressAugust 2, 2015, 5:11 pm

TURNBERRY, Scotland - As Inbee Park hunted down Jin-Young Ko in the final stretch of the Women's British Open, it quickly became clear which South Korean was the rookie and which was the player about to add another chapter in golf's record book.

The top-ranked Park picked up seven shots in her last 12 holes, pressured her 20-year-old protege so much she finally lost her nerve, and completed a 7-under 65 at Turnberry to capture the trophy she thought she may never win.

Park won by three shots on 12-under 276 for a seventh major title, becoming just the seventh female player to win four different majors - after Louise Suggs, Mickey Wright, Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam.

''I don't know what else to go for now,'' said Park, who has won six of the last 14 majors to cement her status as the best player of her generation.

How about ending the debate about clinching the so-called career Grand Slam?

The LPGA is calling Park's achievement just that. However, Park hasn't won the France-based Evian Championship since it was given the status of a fifth major in 2013. She did win the Evian in 2012.


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The Evian is staged next month, when Park can complete definitively what some are calling the ''Super Slam.''

''I feel like I've won all the majors in women's golf,'' Park said, attempting to put a stop to the discussion.

''Every major was very, very special to me. But to wrap it up with the British Open is just much more special ... This is definitely the golfer's most-wanted trophy.''

Ko is just at the start of her golfing journey.

Playing her first major, her first tournament outside Asia and with a temporary, locally born caddie giving her advice on every shot, Ko began the last round tied for the lead and pulled three shots clear of a bunched-up chasing pack containing Park after a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 10. She had already eagled the par-3 No. 7 with a 25-foot putt and rolled in a birdie of similar length at No. 8.

Her composure was stunning, considering the uncharted territory she was in. Ko had never played links golf before this week.

That was when Park made her move. She rolled in an eagle putt from 20 feet at No. 14 to close to within one shot, Ko missed a par putt on No. 13 soon after for her first bogey of the day, and Park then holed a 4-footer for birdie at No. 16 to take the lead for the first time this tournament.

No. 16 wound up being the deciding hole. Twenty minutes later, Ko's chances of reclaiming the lead virtually ended on that par 4 when she pushed her approach shot straight into a burn. She took her fur-lined puffy coat from her caddie and looked a beaten woman for the first time this week.

''I was a little over-thinking, and then I was a little bit nervous,'' Ko said.

Park's birdie putt on No. 18 lipped out, but it didn't matter. She watched on a monitor in the scoring hut as Ko - playing two groups behind - failed to make birdie on No. 17, ensuring there would be no final-hole tension.

''I really thought she was going to play really good until the end,'' Park said of her friend. ''I just got lucky.''

A turning point came on No. 12 when Park drove right, into thick rough. Park could barely see the ball when she approached it, but had a stroke of luck as it had settled on a drain. She was given a free drop and made par.

''That was a definite bogey there,'' Park said.

Park said she needed to produce her best display of putting in two years to overhaul Ko, who is the latest on a conveyor belt of talent coming from the South Korean tour.

Ko was bidding to become the third first-time major winner from South Korea in the last five majors, after Hyo-Joo Kim at the Evian last year and In-Gee Chun at the U.S. Women's Open last month.

''They are machines,'' American player Cristie Kerr said of South Korean golfers. ''They practice 10 hours a day.''

The 27-year-old Park is the second-youngest player to win the four traditional majors. Webb was 26 when she completed the haul in 2001.

Park passed $12 million in career earnings with the winner's check of $450,000.

The 18-year-old Lydia Ko was seeking to become the youngest major winner, beating the record of Morgan Pressel by seven months. She was three shots behind her namesake Ko, only to take two shots out of the greenside bunker at No. 12 and make a double-bogey.

She shot 69 and tied for third on 8 under with So Yeon Ryu (68).

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x