Thompson back in action at LPGA ShopRite

By Associated PressMay 4, 2011, 3:59 am

LPGA Tour _newNEWARK, N.J. – Days after missing a chance to become the youngest winner in LPGA history, Alexis Thompson sounded like your ordinary teenager.

She giggled between questions, and she called having a share of the lead entering the final round of the Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala., a great experience.

And like most 16-year-olds, she was well past shooting a waterlogged, final-round 6-over-par 78 that dropped her from the top of the leaderboard into a tie for 19th in a span of four, frustrating hours.

That’s golf. One day your swing is flawless and then next, well …

Thompson was in Galloway Township, N.J., Tuesday for media day of the ShopRite LPGA Classic, where she received a sponsor’s exemption for next month’s 54-hole event on the Bay Course at Seaview, just outside of Atlantic City.

Thompson made her professional debut as a 15-year-old at this tournament last year and missed the cut by four strokes.

“There was a lot going on that week, from going from the Curtis Cup straight to here,” said Thompson, who says she prefers to be called ‘Lexi.’ “The excitement of being a pro, it was huge. This time, it will be a lot more calm.”

This past weekend was anything but calm for Thompson. She shot a 5-under 67 in the third round Saturday to take a share of the Avnet lead with Song-Hee Kim. Along the way, she put herself on the doorstep of LPGA history.

Paula Creamer is the youngest winner of a multi-round LPGA event, winning the 2005 Sybase Classic at 18 years, 9 months, 17 days.

Thompson would have shattered that mark had she won Sunday, being 16 years, 2 months, 21 days. However, her round started and ended with bogeys and her ball found the water on two holes on the back nine in a disastrous round.

“It was just an off day, off golf, I guess,” Thompson said in a telephone interview. “That’s what happened. I really don’t know what happened to my game. Instead of taking a lot of stuff out of it, I took it as one bad day, and everybody has it.”

Thompson said she wouldn’t trade the experience. Having a share of the lead was great and playing with Kim in the final group was a thrill. Things just didn’t go the way she wanted in the tournament that was won by Maria Hjorth.

“I was a little frustrated,” Thompson said. “I am not going to say that I had good dreams (the night after). But it was all right. I have to keep reminding myself, it’s just a game and people have those days.”

Thompson is too young to play full-time on the LPGA tour, so her playing opportunities are limited. She can get six sponsor’s exemptions annually and she can qualify for both the U.S. Women’s Open and the British Women’s Open. The Florida native can also try to qualify for tournaments in Monday qualifiers.

Thompson had petitioned the LPGA for 12 exemptions this year, but commissioner Mike Whan denied it.

Since turning professional in June, Thompson has earned $351,187 with her best finish being a tie for second in the Evian Masters in France, an event she calls the highlight of her career.

Thompson made a nice par-saver on the final hole to retain a share of the lead, but Jiyai Shin of South Korea birdied it to take the title.

Thompson has no regrets about her decision to turn pro, even if it means playing in fewer tournaments than she would like.

“Everything is a thrill,” said the home-schooled teenager who uses her father, Scott, to caddie. “I am not traveling as much as I used to and I am playing one or two times a month. I used to play a bunch as an amateur, so when I go to every event I am really fired up and excited to play.”

Looking forward, she says she needs to improve her consistency.

“I have improved a lot in my putting and overall my attitude on the course,” she said. “It is definitely getting better. I’m really close, if I keep working on it.”

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.