Stanford leads LPGA Founders Cup

By Associated PressMarch 20, 2011, 5:54 am

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup

PHOENIX – Angela Stanford plays for keeps no matter the stakes.

“I play with the guys at Shady Oaks in the 1 o’clock and I’m out there trying to beat them – and they’re out there to enjoy the weekend,” the 33-year-old Texan said Saturday after opening a three-stroke lead in the play-for-free LPGA Founders Cup.

“It always matters to me.”

Instead of paying the players, the tournament honoring the 13 tour founders is donating $1 million to charity – half to The LPGA Foundation and its LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program and half to the top 10 finishers’ designated charities.

Stanford is playing for her own foundation.

“I don’t care if it’s for money,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s for money for my charity or for the LPGA Foundation. I don’t care what’s it’s for. If you tell me it’s official and I have a chance to compete to win something, I’m going to show up.”

Her foundation provides scholarships for children from families affected by cancer. The winner will receive $200,000 to donate.

“It would do wonders for my foundation,” said Stanford, a four-time winner in 10 full seasons on the tour. “We could help a lot of kids a lot faster than I thought we would. There’s a lot on the line in that respect.”

She shot her second straight 6-under 66, playing in the morning before the wind picked up a bit on the partly cloudy, 80-degree day at Desert Ridge.

“Surprised, to be perfectly honest,” Stanford said about her low score. “I didn’t feel quite right this morning. I had kind of a weird warmup session.”

Long-hitting Brittany Lincicome was second. She followed her opening 67 with a 68, holing an 8-foot par putt on No. 18 just before dark.

“I just putted lights out,” said Lincicome, Stanford’s U.S. Solheim Cup teammate. “My driver let me down today, but my putter saved me.”

The three-time tour winner was frustrated by the pace of play in the round that took about 5 1/2 hours to finish.

“I’ve never waited that much in my life,” she said. “We waited about 20 minutes on every tee shot.”

Mindy Kim was third at 8 under after a 67. She birdied the first five holes.

Cristie Kerr, also a U.S. Solheim Cup player, was another stroke back after a 68. She rallied to beat Stanford twice in 2006, overcoming a four-stroke deficit in the final round in Tennessee and an eight-stroke margin in the Canadian Women’s Open.

“Anything can happen on Sunday,” Kerr said. “It’s a different feel when you’re playing in the last group, especially with the lead, because you tighten up and try to protect it. And I can stick with my game plan. It depends on the pins and the conditions tomorrow, but sure anything five and in is doable.”

In 2006 at London Hunt in Ontario, Kerr closed with a 7-under 65, while Stanford bogeyed the final two holes – three-putting the last – for a 74. Stanford began that round with a four-stroke lead over Meena Lee.

“I learned a lot in those two losses. People say you learn more in a loss than a victory,” Stanford said. “Not that I played scared, but if there was pin tucked left, the first day you’re probably going at it. Well, if you have a five-, six- or seven-shot lead on the final day, you may go at the middle of the green. For me, I learned that when I did that, it wasn’t very successful.

“I learned that I have to keep hitting golf shots. You can’t just say, `I’m going to go out and make 18 pars and hope I win.’ I think I was still maturing as a player at the time and I didn’t know what it took to win.”

While many players struggled to adjust for their approach shots releasing on the firm greens, Stanford is right at home on the sun-baked layout. She grew up near Fort Worth, played at TCU and still lives in the area.

“Fortunately for me, I’ve always played release,” Stanford said. “I’m not one that spins the ball a whole lot. So, it doesn’t bother me if it releases 5 or 25 feet. I think for me that’s good because I expect it already. … I’ve seen it my whole life.”

Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, the winner three weeks ago in Singapore, shot a 67 in the afternoon to match Seon Hwa Lee (69) and Mina Harigae (70) at 6 under. Webb won the last Phoenix event in 2009 at Papago and also won in 1999 at Moon Valley.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng, the winner of the season-opening LPGA Thailand and three other worldwide events this year, had her second straight 73 to make the cut by a stroke at 2 over. No. 2 Jiyai Shin was 2 under after a 70.

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.”

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm