U.S. eliminated from International Crown by Korea

By Associated PressJuly 27, 2014, 12:14 am

OWINGS MILLS, Md. - The top-seeded United States left the inaugural International Crown without a trophy and with no shortage of reasons for its surprisingly early exit.

Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu both birdied the first playoff hole Saturday as South Korea eliminated the Americans and earned a wild-card berth in the final round of the star-crossed event.

The Koreans will join Spain, Thailand, Japan and Sweden on Sunday in a duel for title.

And the United States? Well, none of the four players expressed any desire to stick around to see who wins it all.

''Who would we root for if not ourselves?'' Cristie Kerr said.

''I think we're still kind of just realizing we're not playing,'' teammate Paula Creamer said.

In the wake of their stunning defeat, the Americans questioned the format of a tournament, lamented their poor start Thursday and agonized over a shot on the extra hole that went from near-perfect to disastrous.

''Just have to take this as a learning experience,'' Kerr said.

After Kerr and Lexi Thompson beat sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, 3 and 2, Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum and Onnarin Sattayabanphot edged the team of Creamer and Stacy Lewis, 1 up, to leave the U.S. in third place in Pool A.

South Korea, the third-place finisher in Pool B, called upon Park and Ryu to face Kerr and Thompson in a wild-card playoff on the par-5 16th hole.

Thompson's second shot hit the fringe of the green, sat for an instant and then rolled back down a hill. She attempted an uphill putt, which barely made it to the top of the hill.

Thompson subsequently missed a 10-footer, and the other three players made birdies. According to the unique wild-card format, that eliminated the U.S.

If Thompson's approach stuck on the fringe, the U.S. probably would have been celebrating. Instead ...

''We're not going to let her think about that,'' Lewis said.

''She hit two great golf shots there and did exactly as she was supposed to do,'' Lewis added.

Spain won Pool A with seven points, earning the tiebreaker over Thailand, which also had seven points. The U.S. had six points and Taiwan finished with four.

Japan split with South Korea on Saturday to emerge atop Pool B with eight points, and Sweden swept Australia to finish with seven points. South Korea had six points and the Aussies had three.

''It's just crazy to think that we're two points out of the lead and we're not able to play (Sunday),'' Lewis said. ''That's the most disappointing part about the format.''

Points accumulated over the first three days carry over to Sunday's final round, when each country plays one singles match against every other country. The team with the most points wins the Crown.

The U.S. won't be playing in part because it lost both its matches to Taiwan on Thursday. Those turned out to be Taiwan's only wins of the tournament.

''It ended up being the thing that kind of bit us in the butt,'' Kerr said. ''It wasn't yesterday or today. We all played our hearts out.''

As did the team from South Korea.

''Normally if I lose a playoff, everything is just for me and I can handle everything,'' Ryu said. ''But this time I have to think about Inbee, I.K. and Na Yeon and all Korean fans and all Korean people.”


International Crown: Articles, videos and photos


Spain eliminated Taiwan with a pair of contrasting victories. Carlota Ciganda sank a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 13 to seal a 6-and-5 win with teammate Azahara Munoz. The duo beat Yani Tseng and Phoebe Yao, who lost five of the first six holes and could not recover.

In the other match, Spain's Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari lost the first two holes and were 2 down after 11 holes before rallying for a 1-up win over Candie Kung and Teresa Lu.

It was a feel-good afternoon for the Spaniards, who lost twice Friday to the U.S. team.

''We learned from it,'' Munoz said. ''We talked about it this morning and we said that from the beginning, no matter what, we're going to keep our heads up and just give it our best.''

The Japanese team of Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine beat I.K. Kim and Na Yeon Choi, 3 and 2, and Park and Ryu bested Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato, 4 and 3.

Yokomine made two eagles on the back nine to provide Japan with the win.

Sweden sent Australia packing with a lopsided sweep. Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist cruised past Minjee Lee and Karrie Webb, 4 and 3, and Pernilla Lindberg and Makaela Parmlid beat Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright, 7 and 5.

Australia won only one match over three days, fewest of any country.

Getty Images

Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


Getty Images

Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

Getty Images

Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.