Shin wins Texas Shootout for first LPGA title

By Associated PressMay 1, 2016, 11:57 pm

IRVING, Texas – Jenny Shin won the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour victory, pulling away for a two-stroke victory at Las Colinas.

Making her 133rd tour start, Shin closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 14-under 270. The 23-year-old South Korean player went to high school in Torrance, California, and won the 2006 U.S. Girls' Junior.

''Still in awe. Nothing has registered yet,'' Shin said. ''I wanted to talk to my mum, but I was on the verge of tears, so I hung up without really her answering the phone. I think it will hit me as soon as I talk to my mum.''

Third-round leader Gerina Piller, the area resident seeking her first tour victory, birdied the final hole for a 73 to tie for second with South Koreans Amy Yang and Mi Jung Hur.

''I was proud of the way I finished. I'll be back,'' Piller said after her fourth straight top-six finish.

Yang and Hur each shot 71.

Shin birdied three of the first five holes and added another on the par-5 10th. She closed with eight pars, the last an up-and-down save from right of the green on the par-5 18th.



''I actually didn't know I was in front of everybody, I thought Amy Yang was only one stroke behind, so I was really nervous on the last hole,'' Shin said.

Other players showered her with beer after the victory.

''It wasn't something I pictured, for sure,'' Shin said. ''I wanted something like champagne, but now I'm stinking of beer. Then they were like, 'Oh, you stink of beer.'' Then they shower you more with water. But it's still good. I'm so glad they stuck around and gave me a shower of beer.''

She's projected to jump from 38th to 24th in the world ranking.

''Nothing's easy, golf is not easy,'' Shin said. ''I worked my butt off out there. I didn't have my 'A' game this week, surprisingly, and to know that I won with kind of a semi-goodish game, it makes me very happy.''

Piller lives in Plano, about 20 miles from Las Colinas. The long-hitting U.S. Solheim Cup hero grew up in Roswell, New Mexico, and played at the University Texas-El Paso. A number of high school and college friends joined her family - led by her husband, PGA Tour player Martin Piller - in the gallery.

''The thing that makes it more special is I don't have to play good golf for them to continue to love me, so that's pretty cool,'' Piller said. ''No matter what I shoot, no matter what I do, they're behind me.''

Fifth-ranked Brooke Henderson closed with a 71 to tie for 19th at 3 under, ending the 18-year-old Canadian's string of top-10 finishes at eight.

Cheyenne Knight, a 19-year-old University of Alabama freshman from nearby Aledo, had a 72 to tie for 30th at 1 under. Karah Sanford, a 14-year-old high school freshman from San Diego, tied for 51st at 6 over after a 77.

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J.Y. Ko wins her first start as an official LPGA member

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 4:09 pm

Make way for Jin Young Ko.

The South Koreans keep delivering one new star after another to the LPGA ranks, and they aren’t going to disappoint this year.

Ko made some history Sunday winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She became the first player in 67 years to win her LPGA debut as a tour member. Beverly Hanson (1951) is the only other player to do so.

Hyejin Choi, an 18-year-old who just turned pro, is yet another emerging South Korean star looking to crack the LPGA ranks. She finished second Sunday, three shots back after closing with a 67. She played on a sponsor exemption. She is already No. 11 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and likely to move up when the newest rankings are released. Had Choi won Sunday, she could have claimed LPGA membership for the rest of this season.


Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


Ko, 22, moved herself into early position to try to follow in Sung Hyun Park’s footsteps. Park won the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards last year. She joined Nancy Lopez as the only players to do so. Lopez did it in 1978. Park shared the Player of the Year honor with So Yeon Ryu.

Ko said winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award is a goal, but she didn’t come into the year setting her sights on Player of the Year.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” she said.

Ko finished at 14 under overall.

It was a good week for rookies. Australia’s Hannah Green (69) finished third.

Ko claimed LPGA membership this year based on her victory as a non-member at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea last fall. She’s already a star in South Korea, having won 10 times on the Korean LPGA Tour. She is No. 20 in the world and, like Choi, poised to move up when the newest world rankings are released.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko closed with an even par 72, finishing tied for 19th in her 2018 debut. She is in next week’s field at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

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Luiten takes title at inaugural Oman Open

By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:25 pm

MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten of the Netherlands won the inaugural Oman Open on Sunday to break a title drought of nearly 17 months.

The 32-year-old Dutchman shot a 4-under 68 to finish on 16-under 272, two shots ahead of his friend, England's Chris Wood (69).

It was Luiten's sixth European Tour title and the first since the 2016 KLM Open.

Frenchman Julien Guerrier (71) virtually assured that he would not have to go to qualifying school for the 12th time with a third-place finish after a 13-under 275.

Luiten started with three birdies in his first four holes, but bogeys on the seventh and eighth set him back. On the back nine, he made three birdies, including a key one on the 16th, where he made a 30-foot putt.

''It feels great. I didn't know what to expect when I came here but to play a course like this which is in great condition - it's a great technical golf course as well - it was beyond my expectation and to hold the trophy is even better,'' said Luiten, who is expected to rise to No. 65 in the new rankings on Monday.

''I had a great start, that's what I was hoping for. I hit some nice ones in close and rolled in a couple of nice putts and that gets you in the right position, where you want to be.


Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


''Unfortunately, I had a couple of bogeys as well on the front nine, but I recovered from that with a couple of nice birdies on the back nine and it was a good battle with Woody.''

Playing one group ahead, England's Wood was right in the mix and tied with Luiten at 15-under when their fortunes went in opposite directions almost at the same time. On the 17th hole, Wood drove his tee shot into the hazard left and could do no more than chip his ball out for a bogey. Luiten, meanwhile, drained his 30-footer birdie putt on the 16th for a two-shot swing.

Recovering his form after a series of disappointments, Wood was let down by the loss and said: ''It's golf isn't it? You are never happy.

''I played poorly for six or eight months. Would have never thought I would have put myself into contention. And when you do, you feel gutted when you don't win. I am pretty down really, but in the grand scheme of things, when I reflect after a couple of days, I will think it is a big step in the right direction.''

Luiten's win also got him into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai, securing him a start at the WGC-Mexico Championship in two weeks.

Frenchman Alexander Levy (70), who was hoping to finish in the top five to push into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai and grab the WGC-Mexico spot himself, did manage a joint fourth place at 11 under, but Luiten's victory kept him 11th.

The European Tour next moves to Doha for the Qatar Masters starting on Thursday.

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J.Y. Ko wins Women's Australian Open by three

By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:10 pm

ADELAIDE, Australia - South Korea's Jin Young Ko shot a 3-under par 69 Sunday to clinch a 3-shot, start-to-finish win the Women's Australian Open.

Playing in her first tournament as a full LPGA member, Ko shot 65, 69, 71, 69 to lead after all four rounds and to finish with a total of 274, 14-under par at the Kooyonga Golf Club. She is the first player to win her first tournament as an LPGA member in the tour's 67-year history.

Ko started the day four shots clear of 21-year-old Hannah Green, who was bidding to become the first Australian to win her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014.

Green played solidly in the final group with Ko, shooting 69 and missing a birdie on the 18th which cost her a share of second place.

The stiffest challenge Sunday came from Ko's compatriot Hyejin Choi who closed within a shot at the turn, carding four birdies on her first nine holes. Ko began with birdies at the first and second holes, then stumbled with bogeys on the par-3 third and seventh holes.

But just as her lead came under threat, she found another gear, birdying the ninth hole to regain a two-shot lead. She then pulled away with birdies at the 13th and 17th in what seemed a nerveless finish, showing the experience gained as a 10-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour.


Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


She ended with a regulation par on the 18th to claim her second LPGA title after previously winning the co-sanctioned KEB-Hana Bank Championship.

Ko said she felt ''lots'' of nerves over the final round. Asked her reaction when she holed out on 18, she said ''relief.''

''I thought I could do it but I felt I had to play my game and enjoy the game,'' Ko said. ''My goal this week was firstly to make the cut and second to enjoy the game.

''But I won this week so I don't know what that might mean. My goal is Rookie of the Year.'' Asked by a reporter whether Player of the Year was a realistic option, Ko replied: ''No, not yet.''

Ko started the tournament ranked 20 but could be close to the top-10 by the start of the next LPGA tour stop in Thailand next weekend.

Choi was relentless in pursuit, the only player other than Ko to beat par in all four rounds. She shot 69, 71, 70, 67 on the par-72 layout, finishing at 277, 11 under par.

Green, in her rookie season, had rounds of 69, 74, 66, 69 to finish third at 10-under, one shot ahead of compatriot Katherine Kirk, who finished with a 7-under 65, the day's best round.

''I started off really well,'' Green said. ''My goal was to get into every major and I know that's quite hard being a rookie this year. So hopefully I've made enough money and keep making money to ensure I'm definitely in.''

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G-Mac has Ryder Cup on mind with Genesis in grasp

By Rex HoggardFebruary 18, 2018, 2:12 am

LOS ANGELES – Graeme McDowell is four years removed from his last start in a Ryder Cup and golf is more than seven months away from this year’s matches, but then it’s never too early to start daydreaming.

Following a third-round 70 that left him tied for third place and just two strokes off the lead at the Genesis Open, McDowell was asked if the matches are on his mind.

“I feel like I've got a lot of things to do between now and getting on that team,” he said. “Standing here right now it's probably not a realistic goal, but if I continue to play the way I'm playing for the next few months, it may start to become a realistic goal.”


Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


McDowell began his week at Riviera Country Club fresh off four consecutive missed cuts and has drifted to 219th in the Official World Golf Ranking. But his play this week has been encouraging and the Northern Irishman has always relished the opportunity to play for Europe.

“Deep down I know I'm good enough, but I've got to show, I've got to put some results on the board, I've got to take care of my business,” he said. “The greatest experience of my career bar none, and I would love to play another couple Ryder Cup matches before it's all said and done.”

McDowell does have a potential advantage this year having won the French Open twice at Le Golf National, site of this year’s matches.