Thompson makes Kraft Nabisco her first major

By Associated PressApril 7, 2014, 1:30 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Lexi Thompson left Michelle Wie behind Sunday - off the tee and on the leaderboard in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The 19-year-old Thompson beat Wie into Poppie's Pond, too, capping the breakthrough major victory with the traditional victory leap into the water near the 18th green. ''It's just a dream come true,'' Thompson said.

Thompson closed with a bogey-free 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory. She birdied four of the first nine holes to open a five-stroke lead and parred the final nine.

''This is what I've worked so hard for,'' Thompson said. ''This was one of my goals coming into the year, to win a major. I've always seen myself winning a Kraft Nabisco. It's such a huge honor with all the history behind the tournament.''

Wie was second, birdieing the final hole for a 71. She used her driver only four times, choosing to hit fairway-metal stingers on the other 10 driving holes - leaving her as much as 60 yards behind Thompson. When both hit 3-woods, Thompson also had the advantage.

''I stuck with my game plan and I think it was the right play,'' Wie said. ''Who knows? In hindsight you would do something here or do something there, make a putt there. That's the way golf is. I just couldn't get anything going today.''


Kraft Nabisco Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Thompson became the second-youngest major winner in LPGA Tour history at 19 years, 1 month, 27 days. Morgan Pressel set the record in her 2007 victory at Mission Hills at 18 years, 10 months, 9 days.

Thompson finished at 14-under 274 for her fourth LPGA Tour victory. She opened with a 73, shot a tournament-best 64 on Friday and had a 69 on Saturday to tie for the lead with Wie at 10 under. The 6-foot Florida player had only one bogey - when she missed a 3-footer on the par-5 18th Saturday - in her last 55 holes.

''You have to hit it in the fairway and, if you miss it, just miss it small,'' Thompson said. ''I think just staying into it mentally. When I had a bad hole, I'd just fight right back. Or if I hit a bad shot, just know that I can get it up-and-down or get it on the green.''

Thompson won the 2011 Navistar LPGA in Alabama at 16 to become the youngest winner in tour history, a mark broken by Lydia Ko in the 2012 Canadian Women's Open. Last year, Thompson won the LPGA Malaysia and Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

The 24-year-old Wie made her 12th start in the event. She was ninth in 2003 at age 13, fourth the following year and tied for third at 16 in 2006. She also was sixth in 2011.

''I thought I played OK,'' Wie said. ''I think it just got to a point where I just tried to force it. I think I needed to really come back with a lot of birdies and I think it got to a point where I just tried too hard. But I'm just proud of myself for how the week went.''

Wie has two tour victories, winning the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational and 2010 Canadian Women's Open. She has been in the top 16 in all six of her starts this season.

Thompson hammered a drive 40 yards past Wie's 3-wood on the par-4 opening hole and took the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt. Wie pulled even with a birdie on the par-5 second, chipping to 1 1/2 feet after leaving her second shot just short of the green.

Wie bogeyed the par-4 third, missing from 6 feet after a short chip.

Thompson birdied Nos. 4 and 5. She hit a 3-wood 30 yards past Wie's 3-wood and made a 12-foot putt on the par-4 fourth, and holed a 5-footer on the par-3 fifth.

Thompson picked up another stroke on the par-3 eighth when Wie missed a 2-foot par putt, and pushed her lead to five with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth.

Wie birdied the first two holes where she used her driver, hitting it past Thompson on the par-5 second and 11th. Wie also hit driver on the par-4 13th, setting up a wedge that she hit to 4 feet. But she left the birdie putt short to remain four strokes back.

She cut it to three on No. 14, holing a 12-footer, but dropped a stroke on the 17th.

''Lexi played amazing today,'' Wie said. ''She played probably the best I've ever seen her play. She hit the ball so well. She made everything. It was just hard to catch up to her all day today. I'm really happy for her. I'm really proud of her.''

Stacy Lewis, the 2011 winner, had a 67 to finish third at 7 under.

DIVOTS: Minjee Lee, the 17-year-old Australian who tops the amateur ranking and is 110th overall, was the low amateur. She shot a 72 to tie for 24th at even par. Lee won the Australian professional tour's Victorian Open in February. ... Inbee Park, the 2013 champion, had a 75 to tie for 38th at 4 over.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.