Thompson wins Dubai, makes history

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2011, 1:04 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Teenager Lexi Thompson has made history as the youngest winner on both the LPGA and Ladies European Tours.

The 16-year-old Thompson shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to win the Dubai Ladies Masters, becoming the youngest professional winner on that side of the Atlantic.

Thompson pulled away from Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa to win by four strokes for her second professional victory. In September, she became the youngest winner of an LPGA tournament at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama.

“It feels amazing,” Thompson said. “I’m just honored they invited me back and I’m just grateful to be here. I’ve been working on my game really hard and it has paid off.”

Thompson chipped in for a birdie on No. 9 to take a one-shot lead over Pace and extended her lead with four birdies on the back nine for a 15-under 273 total.

Pace (69) started strong with two birdies and an eagle on her first six holes, but shaky putting on the back nine ended her chances.

The 2010 European Tour money winner, Pace hit her approach shot on No. 12 over the green for her second bogey in five holes.

“Things could have been a little different,” Pace said. “I hit a bad club on 12, which cost me a shot, and that is where things changed around.”


Mell: Thompson a wake-up call for U.S. players


Sophie Gustafson of Sweden (71) was a shot behind Pace in third place followed by four players another shot back.

Michelle Wie (72) came into the final round five shots behind leader Thompson. She fell out of contention with two bogeys and a double-bogey on the front nine, finishing tied for 12th.

“It was pretty frustrating. I couldn’t get my putts going,” Wie said. “I just needed to play better on the front nine all week. Nothing really went. Nothing went in. At least, I finished birdie, birdie. I gotta work on a lot of things for next season.”

Thompson’s father Scott, who caddies for her, said he was most impressed how she handled the pressure when Pace made her run.

“She didn’t panic and kept playing her game, not worrying about what else anyone was doing,” he said.

Wie offered a congratulatory tweet and predicted she would be force to be reckoned with in the future. The 22-year-old Wie praised the support Thompson gets not only from her father but her entire entourage.

“I think she kind of has that mentality, just grip it and rip it,” said Wie, who also joined the LPGA Tour at 16 and has two wins. “She just goes out there and just kind of has fun, which is really nice to see. She’s a really talented player and I’m really impressed.”

Thompson is projected to move into the top 40 in the rankings. She credits her success with playing alongside her brothers, including PGA Tour member Nicholas.

The precocious Floridian qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at age 12 in 2007 at Pine Needles, tied for 10th at the tournament last year and was a runner-up by one shot last year at the Evian Masters, one of the richest events on the LPGA Tour schedule.

Her breakout moment came in September when she won the Navistar LPGA Classic by five strokes and was granted LPGA membership two weeks later.

The unfailingly polite, easy-going Thompson said she was looking forward to spending some time with friends and steadily improving next season.

“There’s not really any pressure,” she said. “I’m just playing the game and doing what I love. Playing every week in these tournaments is an honor for me, so I’m just coming out and relaxing and doing my best.”

Her father also tried to tamp down expectations, saying he just wanted to relish her second victory since she turned pro a year-and-a-half ago.

“The first one wasn’t a fluke. She has won again now. That is the great thing,” he said. “The first one people may say she is lucky for the week. But she won again, so it kind of validates it.”

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.