Ryu pulls away to take Jaimie Farr Toledo Classic

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2012, 9:53 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio – Even though it had only been a little over a year since her victory in the U.S. Women's Open, So Yeon Ryu was already feeling the pressure to win again.

She lapped the field to end the drought Sunday.

Ryu rode a string of six straight birdies in the middle of her round to a 9-under 62 and a seven-stroke victory in the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.

''This is just my turning point,'' she said. ''I want to win again.''

Ryu began the day locked in a four-player logjam – all South Koreans – for first place. She took the lead by herself for the first time with an 8-foot birdie putt at the third hole and gradually stretched her advantage until pulling away with birdies on Nos. 9-14.

''On hole No. 9, I made a really long putt and my confidence level went up,'' she said.

Still, a good friend had provided a cautionary tale. Yeon Jae Son, competing for South Korea in rhythmic gymnastics at the London Olympics, was in line to medal heading into the final day of competition. But, she told Ryu by phone, she had gotten ahead of herself and ended up missing out on a trip to the podium.

Ryu took that to heart on the course.

''It made me nervous because I really wanted to win. ... She helped a lot,'' Ryu said about the message imparted by her friend. ''I didn't want to be thinking of winning. I was just thinking about my score.''

Ryu ended up at 20-under 264 thanks to the lowest final round by a Farr winner – by three strokes.

On the third hole, she hit her approach from the light rough to 8 feet over the flag and made the birdie putt to break free of the pack.

She added a 12-footer for birdie at the par-4 fifth to double her lead.

The lead could have grown even more; Ryu missed birdie putts of 8, 6 and 10 feet at Nos. 4, 6 and 7.

Then, after I.K. Kim, who shot a 71 and ended up tied for fifth with Jennie Lee (67) at 11 under, narrowed her lead to a shot, Ryu rolled in a 30-footer from the front of the green at the ninth hole.

From there she took control. None of her next five birdies were outside 6 feet as she dialed in her irons.

''My ball-striking was great,'' she said.

For good measure, she birdied the last hole – a kick-in from 2 feet – to cap her round.

Her 62 matched the fourth-best round in tournament history. Her 20-under total has been surpassed only by five-time Farr winner Se Ri Pak, considered the matriarch for a generation of young South Korean players on the LPGA Tour.

Ryu had picked up the game in the second grade as part of her school's extracurricular activities. She's also a gifted pianist.

Not a member of the LPGA Tour at the time, she beat fellow countrywoman Hee Kyung Seo – her playing partner Sunday – to win the 2011 Open in a three-hole playoff.

This season, Ryu has eight top 10s including a tie for second in Australia.

Angela Stanford made a long birdie putt on the final hole for 66 to finish second at 13-under 271.

As Ryu pulled away, she couldn't do much but watch.

''When I looked at the leaderboard on 14, she was at 16 under at that point,'' said Stanford, a native Texan. ''I thought, 'She's obviously having a great day.' When you see that somebody's running away with it, you continue to chase them but if I can't catch her I'd like to be second.''

South Koreans Inbee Park and Chella Choi each shot 69 and shared third place at 12 under.

The victory was worth $195,000 to Ryu, who is an LPGA rookie.

Ryu was overjoyed – and relieved by the victory.

''After winning a major tournament, everyone had really high expectations,'' she said. ''I had no wins after that, so some were disappointed for me. So I really wanted to win as soon as possible - and today I made it.''

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.