Sophie Gustafson leads CVSpharmacy LPGA Challenge

By Associated PressSeptember 26, 2009, 7:08 am

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DANVILLE, Calif. – Sophie Gustafson’s powerful swing gives her an advantage over most of her peers. It’s her putter that keeps bringing the Swede back to the pack.

Gustafson missed three eagle putts and struggled with her touch on the greens Friday, but managed a 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead at 10-under 134 after two rounds in the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge.

“The putting is not good,” Gustafson said. “It was pretty much the same as it was yesterday, but I’m playing good so that helps.”

Gustafson, who opened with a 65, was a stroke ahead of top-ranked Lorena Ochoa (67), Maria Hjorth (66) and Shanshan Feng (67).

Sixth on the tour in average driving distance this year, Gustafson played well off the tees but was bogged down by her putter for a second straight day.

Sporting a San Francisco Giants polo shirt and hat as part of her sponsorship from Major League Baseball, she drove the green on No. 6, a downhill 318-yard hole, but left her eagle attempt 3 feet short and settled for par.

Then on the par-5 ninth, Gustafson reached the green in two, but missed again on her eagle putt, taking a birdie to move to 10 under.

A bogey on No. 13 dropped Gustafson back into a three-way tie for the lead with Ochoa and Hjorth. Gustafson missed another eagle try on No. 17 after coming within two inches of the green with her drive. Her birdie broke the tie and left her with sole possession of the lead for the second straight round.

“On this course there are two par 4s that are reachable, and that’s not normal, so that’s an advantage for me,” Gustafson said. “I feel good about my shots. I’m going to go and work on my putting now.”

Jiyai Shin, who leads the player of the year and rookie of the year points races and also tops the money list, withdrew after five holes. The South Korean, who shot a 72 in the first round, was ill earlier this week and carried an umbrella with her on Friday when temperatures at Blackhawk were in the 90s. She pulled out after bogeying the second and fifth holes.

Sun Young Yoo had the day’s best round and matched the tournament record with a 64 to move within three shots of Gustafson at 7-under 137. Angela Stanford (70), Suzann Pettersen (68) and Joo Mi Kim (68) also were 7 under.

Paula Creamer and Vicky Hurst shot 67s to move into a tie for ninth at 6 under.

Cassie Cathrea, the 13-year-old qualifier who made a hole-in-one Thursday, had a 75 and finished at 5 over to miss the cut. Helen Alfredsson, the 2003 winner, started the day two shots behind the leader, but couldn’t keep up and had a 78 and also missed the cut.

Hjorth, seeking her first win since 2007, was 3 under after the first round but made three birdies and an eagle over her final five holes Thursday to pull within one shot of the lead.

“The greens are firming up a little bit ad I prefer when the greens are a little bit more firmer,” said Hjorth, who had seven birdies to help offset three bogeys. “When they are harder I can hit it a little more straight.”

Ochoa started her round on the back nine and had an eagle and two birdies in her first five holes to quickly move eight under par but she bogeyed No. 1 before closing with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9.

“I made two mistakes, especially on the par 5s,” Ochoa said. “But I can’t complain about a 5-under par so I just hope I can be in a good position for the weekend.”

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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
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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.