Seon Hwa Lee Wins Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJuly 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newROGERS, Ark. -- After a weekend of optimal scoring conditions, Seon Hwa Lee made one birdie on the back nine in the final round.
 
That was enough.
 
Lee birdied the final hole for a one-stroke victory over Jane Park and Meena Lee on Sunday in the LPGA Tours NW Arkansas Championship. Seon Hwa Lee closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 15-under 201.
 
Meena Lee (70) led by a stroke before coming up short of the green on the par-3 17th. Her chip was long, and she missed a par putt from about 10 feet.
 
Seon Hwa Lee, playing in the group just ahead, hit her approach on No. 18 within 3 feet, setting up a birdie that she thought might put her in a playoff.
 
When I was on the green, I saw the scoreboard. She was 15 under and through 16th hole, Seon Hwa Lee said. I didnt know she made bogey on 17.
 
Meena Lee had a chance to tie on 18, but missed a 15-foot birdie putt.
 
The weather was a factor for much of the weekend, delaying play Friday and Saturday. Players took advantage of a course softened by rain. Angela Park shot a 62 in the second round Saturday, equaling the lowest round on the LPGA Tour this year.
 
Jane Park matched that performance Sunday. Her 62 pulled her into a five-way tie for first at 14 under, although the other four players all had at least nine holes to play, and she didnt expect her score to hold up.
 
Scoring conditions are absolutely pristine out there right now, Jane Park said after coming off the course. Theres a lot of birdie holes out there.
 
Sunday was a clear day, however, and the temperature reached around 90 degrees. The conditions appeared to wear players down as the afternoon progressed. Jane Park ended up keeping the clubhouse lead until Seon Hwa Lee finished.
 
It was a really tough day, Seon Hwa Lee said. The weather was really hard.
 
Kristy McPherson (70) finished in a four-way tie for fourth at 13 under. She led at 15 under when her approach on the 14th landed short in a bunker. Her next shot went past the opposite edge of the green, and she fell a stroke behind with a double bogey.
 
Karen Stupples (66), Ai Miyazato (68) and Angela Park (70) joined McPherson at 13 under. U.S. Womens Open champion Inbee Park (70) finished at 11 under.
 
Seon Hwa Lee birdied the first hole, then holed out a 45-yard wedge on No. 7 for an eagle. Her pitch landed short of the pin before rolling downhill at a gentle speed and falling in.
 
I tried to shoot a 30-yard shot, she said. When I hit it, I thought it was perfect and the ball landed just perfect.
 
She made 10 consecutive pars after that but remained in contention.
 
Seon Hwa Lees 35 on the back equaled her worst nine-hole score of the tournament, and she didnt putt all that well toward the end. On No. 16, she missed a birdie putt from around 5 feet'a stroke that could have come back to haunt her.
 
I hit pretty close to the pin, but I didnt make birdies, she said. I had a lot of good chances.
 
On No. 18, she hit a pitching wedge from 98 yards to the elevated green. The ball landed past the hole but spun back to give her an easy putt.
 
Meena Lee missed a trickier putt on 17 to give Seon Hwa Lee an opportunity.
 
A little bit downhill, little bit tough for me, Meena Lee said. It was a good putt, but little bit past.
 
Seon Hwa Lee and Meena Lee are both from South Korea. Seon Hwa Lee, 22, won the Ginn Tribute last month. She won the Womens World Match Play last year.
 
About half the field, Seon Hwa Lee included, had to arrive early at Pinnacle Country Club to finish the second round Sunday. Rain pushed back the start of the tournament about five hours Friday, and bad weather also caused a shorter delay Saturday.
 
Last year, the event was shortened to 18 holes because of heavy rain. Stacy Lewis was the leader, but didnt get credit for an official victory.
 
Lewis, a former star at the nearby University of Arkansas, shot a 75 Sunday on the 6,238-yard course to finish at 3 under.
 
The tournament was sponsored by P&G Beauty and presented by John Q. Hammons.
 
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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

    Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

    Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

    Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

    It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

    Goodbye and good riddance.

    The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

    “What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.

    Amen.

    The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

    Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.



    Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

    But at what cost?

    The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

    The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

    We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

    In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

    We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

    Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

    We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

    “What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

    Amen again.

    We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

    Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

    There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

    This is good governance.

    And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

    This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

    We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

    Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

    Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

    Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

    David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

    “Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

    Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

    “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

    Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

    The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

    Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

    Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

    1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

    2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

    While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”