S.Y. Kim outlasts Lewis at Blue Bay LPGA

By Associated PressNovember 1, 2015, 8:16 am

HAINAN ISLAND, China - Sei Young Kim made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the Blue Bay LPGA.

The 22-year-old South Korean player won for the third time in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, closing with a 2-under 70 at difficult Jian Lake Blue Bay for a 2-under 286 total.

''I was like really nervous on the last putt,'' Kim said. ''I can hear my heart pound.''

After high wind sent scores soaring the first three days, the players faced only a moderate breeze on a rainy afternoon along the South China Sea.

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis, fellow American Kim Kaufman and Taiwan's Candie Kung finished a stroke back. Kim holed her winning putt after playing partners Lewis and Kung missed birdie tries - Lewis from 20 feet and Kung from 10.

Lewis finished with a 70 for her sixth runner-up finish of the season and the 21st of her career. She won the last of her 11 LPGA Tour titles in June 2014.

''She is one of my favorite players, so I'm very honored to play with her,'' Kim said about Lewis. ''But I win, she still is my idol.''

Kung shot a 71. Kaufman, playing a group ahead, had a 69 for the best round of the day.

''It was so hard out there,'' Kung said. ''You can't worry about what other people are doing. We're just trying to hold the umbrella. 'Is it going to rain? Is it not going to rain?' ... It was busy out there.''



Kim won playoffs this year in the Bahamas and Hawaii in events also played in strong wind on seaside layouts.

''This year my target was just three wins, so I feel very fulfilled,'' Kim said. ''I also come through rookie of the year, so I would be very honored to win that.''

The five-time Korea LPGA winner earned $300,000 to move up a spot to fourth on the money list with $1,727,436 and is projected to jump from 11th to eighth in the world.

''The first goal is Olympic gold medal. Then my next goal is No. 1,'' Kim said.

Kim dropped into a four-way tie for the lead on the par-3 17th when she three-putted from about 120 feet on the massive beachside green. Kung hit to 2 1/2 feet and Lewis to 4 1/2 feet, but missed their putts to the right.

''I tried to cut a shot because the pin, there's no room behind, and I made a mistake,'' Kim said. ''I was very upset after that hole. ... After they missed, I got a new opportunity.''

Kim's best shot was on the par-4 10th when she holed a 40-foot flop from the rough to save par after hitting her approach long and left into the water.

''That chip happened to me, so I trust more that I can win,'' Kim said.

She pulled even with Lewis with a birdie on the par-4 13th. Kim's 3-wood drive took a big forward bounce off a cart path, leaving her a sand wedge approach that she hit to 6 feet. Lewis three-putted for bogey, missing a 5 1/2-footer.

Kim moved ahead on the par-5 14th when she made a 10-foot birdie putt and Lewis missed an 8-footer.

Kaufman had her best finish in her first two seasons on the tour. The 24-year-old former Texas Tech player from tiny Clark, South Dakota, birdied Nos. 9, 11, 14 and 15, then missed mid-range birdie tries on the final three holes.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko shot her second straight 70 to tie for eighth at 4 over. She had the best weekend total in the field after opening with rounds of 77 and 75.

''I'm happy that everything's over and I can relax and go back home,'' Ko said..

Ko won the LPGA Taiwan by nine strokes last week to regain the No. 1 spot from Inbee Park. The 18-year-old New Zealander has a tour-high five victories.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.