Thompson 14 shares lead on LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2009, 4:13 am

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PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Ninth-grader Alexis Thompson is trying to avoid getting to far ahead of herself in the Navistar LPGA Classic.

“I’m an amateur, and I’m just going to look at it and just be like, ‘Whatever,”’ said Thompson, tied for the second-round lead. “Because I just try to come into these and just play well. It’s just good competition for me. Best in the world.”

Attempting to become the youngest winner in LPGA history, the 14-year-old from Coral Springs, Fla., shot a 3-under 69 on Friday for a share of the lead with top-ranked Lorena Ochoa and three others.

“I mean, I can say I’m really mature for 14,” said Thompson, the sister of PGA Tour player Nicholas Thompson. “I would definitely say that. But, I mean, I don’t know. I just play golf every day. I mean, I’m young. That’s the only difference. I don’t know, I’m pretty good for a young player. … I’m 14 and I just love to play golf.”

Marlene Hagge won the 1952 Sarasota Open 14 days after her 18th birthday and took the Bakersfield Open two months later, but both were 18-hole events. Paula Creamer won the 2005 Sybase Classic at 18 years, 9 months to become the youngest winner of a full tournament.

Thompson won the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior and tied for 34th in July in the U.S. Women’s Open. She shot a 65 on Thursday.

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“I was a little nervous in the beginning,” Thompson said. “I don’t know why, but I was just playing it as a normal tournament. I mean, maybe just because I was at the top. I don’t know. But I’m just going to go out there on the weekend and just be relaxed and just play my game.”

Ochoa (68), Laura Davies (65), Yani Tseng (63) and Giulia Sergas (65) matched Thompson at 10-under 134 on The Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Capitol Hill complex.

“It’s lovely to see a young girl like that playing so well,” said Davies, a 20-time LPGA winner. “It’s good for all of us if she keeps that up.”

Ochoa, the defending champion who finished second last week behind Sophie Gustafson, is winless in 11 starts since the Corona Championship in April. She has two victories in 17 events this season after winning 21 times in the previous three years.

“I’m really happy with my round today,” Ochoa said. “It was a little bit of roller coaster. You know, few birdies and also a few bogeys. But I think what’s important at the end of the day is I’m in a good position for the weekend. I’m excited to be up there. … I’m going be ready to play good on the weekend.”

Tseng matched the tournament record with her 63. She birdied her final three holes and six of her final eight.

“I really didn’t think of the record,” Tseng said. “I just play one shot at a time. … I just played really good today and made a lot of putts.”

Gustafson was 9 under after a 65, and Michelle Wie (70) and first-round leader Janice Moodie (72) topped a group at 8 under.

“I hit solid shots out there, but I just didn’t get them as close to the holes as I wanted them to,” Wie said. “I left a lot of putts out. I felt like I should have made a lot more putts today. But, you know, putting in the afternoon is always more difficult than putting in the mornings because you have a lot more bumps in the way and stuff.

“But, you know, I’m pretty happy with the way I played. But like I said, there’s a lot more work to be done in the next couple days.”

Thompson bogeyed the 369-yard fourth hole, hitting a lob wedge from 36 yards to 15 feet and two-putting, but rebounded with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fifth.

“That fourth hole, that was a pretty stupid mistake,” Thompson said. “But I bounced back and I made birdie next hole. So that was good. That definitely turned it around.”

She also birdied the par-5 eighth – two-putting after hitting a hybrid from 202 yards to 8 feet – and added birdies on the par-4 ninth and par-5 17th.

“I just want to shoot under par the next two days,” Thompson said. “Maybe in the 60s would be nice, both days. I think I would be up there.”

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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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.


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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


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Green jacket tour

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Man of the people


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Growing family

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Departure from TaylorMade


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Squashed beef with Paddy

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Victory at Valderrama


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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