Sorenstams Squad Falls Short in Lexus Cup

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2006, 5:00 pm
SINGAPORE -- South Korea's Seon Hwa Lee held off ADT Championship winner Julieta Granada 2 and 1 in rainy conditions Sunday to give Asia a 12 1/2 -11 1/2 victory over Annika Sorenstam's International team in the Lexus Cup.
Ahead 7-5 after winning four of the six best-ball matches Saturday, Asia took 5 1/2 of 12 points Sunday in singles play on Tanah Merah's Garden Course. Last year, the International team won the inaugural event 16-8.
The 20-year-old Lee, the ShopRite LPGA Classic winner in June, took a 2-up lead with a birdie on 16, hitting a 90-yard shot within inches, then matched Granada's par on 17 to end the event. Granada conceded after Lee hit her 30-foot birdie putt close.
'It was a very difficult putt. There were a lot of people watching me,' Lee said through a translator. 'I didn't want to make a mistake.'
One of nine South Korean players in Asia's lineup, Lee won all three of her matches in the LPGA Tour-sanctioned event.
'I'm so happy. Seon Hwa, what a finish!' said playing captain Grace Park, another South Korean. 'I was shaking so much. I've never been so nervous.'
South Korea's Young Kim, Jee Young Lee and Hee-Won Han and Japan's Sakura Yokomine also won in the closing session that was delayed twice because of lightning.
'I'm obviously very excited and very happy for my team and for Asia,' Park said. 'I'm just in awe. ... We wanted to get revenge and we wanted the Cup. Everybody came to this event thinking we were going to win and we did it.'
South Korea's Meena Lee also earned a crucial half-point against Angela Stanford.
'Look at the play of the Korean players on the LPGA. They're playing very, very well,' Sorenstam said. 'This year, they might have had little bit of a different attitude, I think, in the competition than last year. They came out very, very strong. At the end of the first day, it was 3-3.'
Kim beat Carin Koch 3 and 2 to finish 3-0. Jee Young Lee routed Morgan Pressel 5 and 4, Han edged Nikki Campbell 3 and 2, and Yokomine beat Laura Davies 4 and 3.
'I played very well, but I was a little bit nervous,' Jee Young Lee said through a translator. 'You can lose one hole, but make it up on another hole. Even if you make a mistake, the other player can make a worse mistake and you can still win the hole.'
Sorenstam won the opening match, beating fellow captain Park 4 and 3 to finish the three-day competition 3-0.
'It came down to the last few matches and pretty much one match to turn it all around,' Sorenstam said. 'It was very exciting. ... I'm very proud of the team. It's been a great week.'

If Granada had rallied to halve with Lee and square the matches at 12 points, the top-ranked Sorenstam would have faced the 99th-ranked Park in a sudden-death playoff to determine the winner.
'I enjoy playing Grace,' Sorenstam said. 'She's a great player and also a great person. It was fun to go out with her first and kind of set the pace as well. I think conditions were quite tough today, with all the rain, but she fought really hard.'
Natalie Gulbis, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Sherri Steinhauer and Stacy Prammanasudh also earned full points for the International team.
Gulbis routed Joo Mi Kim 5 and 4, Creamer won the 18th to edge Candie Kung 1-up, Lincicome beat Se Ri Pak 4 and 2, Steinhauer defeated Jennifer Rosales 4 and 3, and Prammanasudh topped Shi Hyun Ahn 4 and 3.
Creamer won when Kung missed a 7-foot par putt on 18.
'It was a roller-coaster ride out there,' Creamer said. 'It was unfortunate she missed that putt. ... I'm glad I won.'
The lightning stopped play for about an hour early in the matches, then forced a two-hour delay as the last matches were just getting started.
'You don't think it's hard, but I only played 2 1/2 holes,' Gulbis said. 'I had to take a little bit of extra club because I hadn't warmed up. And I felt a little bit off on a couple of the putts. What I need to do in those couple of hours is grab something to eat, spend some time getting stretched out, and go over the pin sheet.'
Yokomine was Asia's lone Japanese player.
'In the beginning, I felt lonely as I can't speak English or Korean, but the team members are so kind and I really appreciated that,' she said through as translator. 'I tried to communicate with gestures and I hoped that everyone could understand me. After three days I felt that I was a true member of the team.'
The Asian players earned $50,000 each, while the losers got $30,000.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Park collapses; leaderboard chaos at CME

By Nick MentaNovember 18, 2017, 8:47 pm

Sung-Hyun Park started the day with a three-shot lead and slowly gave it all back over the course of a 3-over 75, leaving the CME Group Tour Championship and a host of season-long prizes up for grabs in Naples. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the LPGA finale, where Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn, Suzann Pettersen and Kim Kaufman share the lead.

Leaderboard: Kaufman (-10), Wie (-10), Jutanugarn (-10), Pettersen (-10), Stacy Lewis (-9), Karine Icher (-9), Austin Ernst (-9), Lexi Thompson (-9), Jessica Korda (-9), Pernilla Lindberg (-9)

What it means: It wasn’t the Saturday she wanted, but Park, who already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year Award, is still in position for the sweep of all sweeps. With a victory Sunday, she would claim the CME Group Tour Championship, the Race to CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and the money title, as she ascends to No. 1 in the Rolex world ranking. Meanwhile, Thompson, too, could take the $1 million and Player of the Year. As those two battle for season-long prizes, a host of other notable names – Wie, Jutanugarn, Pettersen, Korda, Lewis and Charley Hull (-8) – will fight for the Tour Championship.

Round of the day: Kaufman made four birdies on each side in a bogey-free 8 under-par 64. A lesser-known name on a stacked leaderboard, she seeks her first LPGA victory.

Best of the rest: Amy Yang will start the final round two behind after a 7-under 65. The three-time LPGA Tour winner could pick up her second title of the season after taking the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

Biggest disappointment: On a day that featured plenty of low scores from plenty of big names, Lydia Ko dropped 11 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd with a Saturday 72. The former world No. 1 needed two birdies in her last five holes to fight her way back to even par. Winless this season, she’ll start Sunday four back, at 6 under.

Shot of the day: I.K. Kim aced the par-3 12th from 171 yards when her ball landed on the front of the green and tracked all the way to the hole.

Kim, oddly enough, signed her name to a scorecard that featured a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was all part of a 1-under 71.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.