Tseng, 22, becomes youngest to win four majors

By Associated PressJune 26, 2011, 11:33 pm

ROCHESTER, N.Y.  – Yani Tseng left no doubt she's the best female player in the world, running away with the LPGA Championship by 10 strokes Sunday and, at 22, becoming the youngest to win four LPGA majors.

The top-ranked Tseng closed with a 6-under 66 to finish 19-under 269 at Locust Hill Country Club, matching the LPGA record low score at a major in winning $375,000 at the $2.5 million event. And her dominating performance came a year after Cristie Kerr shot the same score to win the tournament by a whopping 12 strokes.

Dottie Pepper (1999 Kraft Nabisco) and Karen Stupples (2004 Women's British Open) also finished at 19 under.

Tseng bettered Se Ri Pak, who was 24 when she won her fourth major. For the star from Taiwan, it was her eighth career LPGA Tour victory, second in a row and third of the season. She has three other victories this year, sweeping the Australian Open and Masters and winning in Taiwan.

Morgan Pressel (71) finished second. Kerr (69), Suzann Pettersen (67) and Paula Creamer (69) tied for third at 8 under.

'Yani's doing what I did last year. Obviously, it's hard to beat,' said Kerr, who rallied late with a birdie on No. 16 and an eagle on 17. 'I'm not surprised. Yani's a great player. She's in the prime of her career. She's found her stride at a young age.'

Wearing a smile for much of the day, Tseng raised her arms and tipped her hat as she was greeted by the gallery upon arriving at the 18th green.

In winning her second LPGA Championship, she moved into a tie for 15th among women with four majors, joining a group of six others, including Laura Davies and Meg Mallon.

By comparison, Annika Sorenstam was 24 when she won the first of her 10 majors - the 1995 U.S. Women's Open. Patty Berg was 23 when she won her fourth major in 1941, but before the LPGA was formed in 1950. Tseng's also ahead of Tiger Woods, who didn't win his fourth major until he was 24.

Men or women, Tseng's performance drew comparisons to Rory McIlroy, given that the up-and-coming Northern Irish star is also 22 and won last week's U.S. Open by eight strokes.

Tseng went wire-to-wire as the tournament leader after opening with rounds of 66, 70 and 67. In holding one-shot leads after each of the first two rounds, Tseng began running away from the field on Saturday in building a five-shot edge.

It's a lead she doubled by the time she made the turn Sunday.

The only hiccup for Tseng came during a what-else-can-go-wrong opening hole. She pulled her tee shot into the left rough, appearing to be bothered by the click of a shutter of a photographer standing behind her. Then Tseng had to wait five minutes to stew over her ball as Pressel sought a ruling from an official to move her ball because a sprinkler was affecting her stance just off the first green.

Tseng landed her second shot just outside the ropes in the gallery and, with the rattling noise of a freight train nearby, she settled for a bogey 5.

With that out of the way, Tseng proceeded to burn up the course, starting at No. 2, where she landed her approach shot to within two feet of the pin. That began a run of Tseng scoring birdies on five of her next seven holes. Tseng added three more birdies on the back nine, while bogeying 13.

She had a chance to get to 20 under, but missed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

Tseng finished with 27 birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey. She hit 38 of 56 fairways and 57 of 72 greens in regulation.

No one else was close. Tseng's playing partner, Cindy Lacrosse, unraveled. She was 5 over on Sunday to tumble into 14th.

Pettersen had the best round among those at the top of the leaderboard, getting to 9 under for the tournament before a bogey on No. 18.

Tseng's first LPGA Championship came during her rookie-of-the-year season in 2008, when the event was played at Bulle Rock in Maryland. She's won three of the past six majors after taking the Kraft Nabisco and Women's British Open last year.

Missing only a U.S. Open title victory, Tseng will have an opportunity to complete her career slam in two weeks at Colorado Springs, Colo.

Sarah Kemp shot even-par 72 in a round that featured her acing the 161-yard No. 5. It was the 14th hole in one in the Rochester tournament's 35-year history, and first since Soo-Yun Kang did it on No. 7 in 2008.

Stupples had the day's low round of 65, which vaulted her into a tie for 34th at 1-over 289 for the tournament.

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


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Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''