Shin wins second Women's British Open in five years

By Associated PressSeptember 16, 2012, 7:51 pm

HOYLAKE, England – Jiyai Shin avoided mistakes in miserable weather conditions Sunday to cruise to a record nine-stroke victory in the Women's British Open.

In the 36-hole finish Sunday in the wind-delayed tournament, Shin took a three-shot lead into the final round after shooting a 1-under 71 in the morning. She stayed calm while strong wind and heavy showers sent scores soaring at Royal Liverpool in the afternoon, closing with a 73 to finish at 9-under 279.

''It was a long, very, very tough day out there,'' Shin said. ''But I kept my focus and concentrated on every shot, and when I made the winning putt, it was great.

The 24-year-old South Korean player won the major championship for the second time in five years and also won for the second time in seven days on the LPGA Tour. Last Monday morning in Virginia, she finished off Paula Creamer on the ninth hole of a playoff in the Kingsmill Championship.

''When I won at Sunningdale, it was a totally different kind of course, but I finally think I've got the right tempo with my swing for links golf,'' Shin said.

The 10-time LPGA Tour winner entered the day with a five-stroke lead after shooting a 64 – the lowest competitive round ever at Hoylake – on Saturday. She broke the record for margin of victory of five set by Karen Stupples in 2004 at Sunningdale.

''My goal was 1-under par every single day. So my goal was 4 under. I think it was enough score,'' Shin said. ''So, I'm really surprised even from yesterday and then also today, I hit even par with 36 holes with this weather, so I'm really surprised and inspired by myself. Because really tough course here, so when I finished it today, I'm just like, 'Wow, I can play good score any, any other course, I'm pretty sure of that.''

Shin completed an Asian sweep of the four majors. South Korea's Sun Young Yoo won the Kraft Nabisco, China's Shanshan Feng took the LPGA Championship, and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi won the U.S. Women's Open. Asian players have won nine of the last 12 majors.

Shin missed the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open after having surgery on her left wrist.

''I think so many Asia players are playing at the moment on the LPGA Tour, so it makes a lot of chance to win,'' Shin said. ''Especially, I don't know I don't know how can I say, I didn't play last two major tournaments, but I played in Nabisco and here. Well, I work so hard, I guess that's why I get this trophy, but, I don't know, I know all the other players doing their best and they work hard, too. So it makes it just happen.''

Shin is 2-for-2 working with new caddie Florian Rodriguez.

''I'm happy with my new work with my new caddie because he make me feel relaxed,'' Shin said. ''Actually, he's one year younger than me, but he like tried to be relaxed on the golf course and I really appreciate my caddie.''

South Korea's Inbee Park was second, shooting 72-76.

Creamer shot 72-72 to finish third at 1 over.

''I feel very close,'' said Creamer, winless since 2010. ''I hit the ball great. I cannot take away from my ball striking. That was definitely not the issue. It was my putting for sure. And a little bit speed related in some aspects, I'm going to take a couple weeks off and try and refresh. But I have to continue moving forward with everything that I'm doing because like I said, I feel really good about where I'm at. It's just a couple things here and there.''

Japan's Mika Miyazato was fourth at 2 over after rounds of 72 and 77. Australia's Karrie Webb, a three-time winner in the event, pulled within three shots with a 68 in the morning, but finished with an 82 to tie for fifth with South Korea's Se Yeon Ryu – 12 shots back. Ryu shot 71-76.

Play was abandoned Friday because of high wind, forcing the 36-hole finale Sunday. Play was suspended for a few minutes during the fourth round as the rain and wind pelted the course, but organizers decided to play on.

''It was like we were standing under a shower,'' Creamer said. ''That's the best way I can describe it. It was hard, my goodness gracious. I've always said Solheim in Sweden was one of the toughest conditions I've ever played in. I think this tops that, for sure.''

Shin opened her final round with a triple bogey, but she came back with birdies at the sixth and seventh before dropping another stroke at the eighth. She picked up three more birdies on the way along with two bogeys, staying in control of her game while Webb faded.

Park struggled in the final round and reached the turn at 4 over, then dropped two more strokes on the back nine before making birdies on the 16th and 18th to take finish second.

Creamer and American teenager Lexi Thompson were the only two players to shoot par in the afternoon, although Thompson was already out of contention and finished in a tie for 17th. She shot 76-72.

Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old amateur coming off a victory three weeks ago in the Canadian Women's Open, also tied for 17th at 9 over - shooting 76-78.

''I got leading amateur and that's what I wanted after yesterday,'' Ko said. ''I guess I have to be happy about that, and this is my first experience at the British Open and I did much better than the U.S. Open. So, I can't say it was a bad day. I had lots of fun playing.''

The South Korean-born New Zealander, the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, won the New South Wales Open in Australia in January and took the U.S. Women's Amateur last month.

Yani Tseng, the 2010 and 2011 winner, shot 76-79 to tie for 26th at 11 over.

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Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

“Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.

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One & Done: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 5:55 pm

Beginning in 2018, Golf Channel is offering a "One & Done" fantasy game alternative. Choose a golfer and add the salary they earn at the event to your season-long total - but know that once chosen, a player cannot be used again for the rest of the year.

Log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to start your own league and make picks for this week's event.

Here are some players to consider for One & Done picks this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Hudson Swafford returns as the defending champion:

Zach Johnson. The two-time major champ has missed the cut here three years in a row. So why include him in One & Done consideration? Because the three years before that (2012-14) included three top-25s highlighted by a third-place finish, and his T-14 at the Sony Open last week was his fifth straight top-25 dating back to September.

Bud Cauley. Cauley has yet to win on Tour, but that could very well change this year - even this week. Cauley ended up only two shots behind Swafford last year and tied for 14th the year prior, as four of his five career appearances have netted at least a top-40 finish. He opened the new season with a T-7 in Napa and closed out the fall with a T-8 at Sea Island.

Adam Hadwin. Swafford left last year with the trophy, but it looked for much of the weekend like it would be Hadwin's tournament as he finished second despite shooting a 59 in the third round. Hadwin was also T-6 at this event in 2016 and now with a win under his belt last March he returns with some unfinished business.

Charles Howell III. If you didn't use him last week at the Sony Open, this could be another good spot for the veteran who has four top-15 finishes over the last seven years at this event, highlighted by a playoff loss in 2013. His T-32 finish last week in Honolulu, while not spectacular, did include four sub-70 scores.

David Lingmerth. Lingmerth was in that 2013 playoff with Howell (eventually won by Brian Gay), and he also lost here in overtimei to Jason Dufner in 2016. The Swede also cracked the top 25 here in 2015 and is making his first start since his wife, Megan, gave birth to the couple's first child in December. Beware the sleep-deprived golfer.

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DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.