Piller leads suspended Volunteers of America Texas Shootout

By Associated PressApril 29, 2016, 11:50 pm

IRVING, Texas - Gerina Piller made herself right at home Friday in the LPGA Tour's Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, shooting a 6-under 65 to take the lead in the suspended second round.

The long-hitting U.S. Solheim Cup player lives in Plano, about 20 miles from Las Colinas Country Club. She birdied three of the final five holes in her bogey-free round to reach 10-under 132.

''I don't get to have my family out a lot, so having them out definitely takes my mind off of it because I just love spending time with them,'' Piller said. ''But it's hard to get in your tournament routine when you go back home and you might have laundry to do or dishes to put away, something that you don't normally do on the road. Tuesday trash day. So you've kind of got to remind yourself that it's a tournament and just stick to your routine.''

Play was suspended because of rain just after 4 p.m. and called for the day because of lightning a little after 6 p.m. None of the afternoon starters were unable to finish. The field will be cut to the low 70 and ties after the completion of the round Saturday morning, then trimmed again to the low 50 and ties after the third round.

Winless on the LPGA Tour, Piller tied for third last week in California in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic for her third straight top-six finish. She hit her approach to 2 feet on the par-5 18th to set up her final birdie.

''The course is actually in soft conditions so that always helps to get the ball to stop,'' Piller said. ''These greens are pretty tricky. So getting it close is definitely huge out here because the greens, some of them are pretty big, and some of the breaks you can get pretty fast putts going downhill down grain, and you can also get really slow putts going the opposite way. It definitely helps to be hitting it really well.''

She's married to Martin Piller, the PGA Tour player who tied for fourth last week in San Antonio in the Texas Open. They crossed paths early Monday at the airport.

''It's always fun to see him and just makes those times that we have together much sweeter,'' Piller said. ''We definitely don't take our time that we spend together for granted. I'll see him probably in two weeks, so it was nice to be able to see him for at least a couple hours.

South Korea's Eun-Hee Ji was a stroke back at 9 under after a 66.

''I feel pretty good with my swing,'' Ji said. ''That's why I made a lot of putts because so close to the pin. I just keep working on my swing.''

First-round leader Mi Jung Hur was 8 under with six holes left. The South Korean player lives in the area in McKinney.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn was 7 under after a 66, and South Korea's Amy Yang was 6 under with seven holes left.

Fifth-ranked Brooke Henderson topped the group at 5 under after a 68. The 18-year-old Canadian has eight straight top-10 finishes.

''It was a little bit softer after the rain last night and the greens were holding and you were able to be aggressive,'' Henderson said. ''I didn't really take advantage as much as I would have liked, but 3 under is a solid round. I'll have to be better on the weekend.''

Cheyenne Knight, a 19-year-old University of Alabama freshman from nearby Aledo, and South Korea's Sei Young Kim also were 5 under. Knight, one of four amateurs who earned spots in the field March 16, had four holes left. Kim had seven holes remaining.

Fourth-ranked Stacy Lewis was a stroke over the cut line at 2 over with seven holes left. The 2014 winner in her home-state event, Lewis is winless in 47 events.

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson was 4 over with eight holes to play.

Michelle Wie will miss the cut after following her opening 76 with a 72. Last week, she withdrew during the final round of the Swinging Skirts because of neck spasms. She's winless since the 2014 U.S. Women's Open and hasn't had a top-10 finish in 34 events.

Second-ranked Inbee Park, the 2013 and 2015 champion, is sidelined by a left thumb injury.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm