Webb Wins Back-to-Back Aussie Titles
Webb, who came from seven strokes behind Saturday with a 10-under 62 to share the third-round lead with fellow Australian Michelle Ellis, again made clutch putts to follow last week's six-stroke win at the Australian Open with her sixth Australian Masters title.
Her four-round total of 19-under 269 came despite bogeys on 17 and 18 that made the win look closer than it was -- she led for most of the back nine by four strokes.
'The 62 yesterday obviously really set me up for today,' Webb said. 'I got off to a flyer today, then did what I had to do on the back nine, which was nothing special.'
Shin Ji-yai of South Korea was second after a 69, followed by Cristie Kerr of the United States another stroke back after a 68.
Kerr had all four rounds in the 60s and did not make a bogey in 72 holes at Royal Pines this week.
'That's a first for me,' Kerr said of her bogey-free performance. 'She (Webb) shot 10-under par to put herself ahead of the field yesterday and that's what you are going to have to do if you're going to win against this kind of quality field.'
Ahn Sun-ju of South Korea, who led after each of the first two rounds, birdied the last for a 70 and finished fourth. Taiwan's Tseng Ya-ni, a former amateur playing in only her second professional tournament, had a 66 to finish fifth.
Ellis finished tied for sixth after a 75. She moved out of contention when she double bogeyed the par-4 eighth after hitting her tee shot out of bounds.
Webb took a four-stroke lead on the ninth hole with a 20-foot eagle putt that all but finished off her pursuers, giving her a 6-under 31 total on the front nine.
She lost a stroke in unusual circumstances on the 10th hole after picking up her ball and cleaning it when she thought it was on the green. After she realized her mistake, she called over rules official Graham Nightingale and gave herself a one-stroke penalty.
It was Webb's first bogey in 33 holes.
That reduced her lead to three over Shin, and Webb made a four-footer for par on the next hole. However, Webb's lead went back to four moments later when Shin bogeyed after hitting her tee shot in the bunker on the par-3 11th.
Webb, who is scheduled to make her 2007 LPGA debut next week in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay in Kahuku, Hawaii, held at least a four-stroke lead through the remaining holes until she bogeyed the last two.
Brittany Lincicombe had a triple-bogey on the par-3 11th when she went into the water, and finished tied for 13th after a 73. Lincicombe made up for the triple with a birdie and eagle on the next two holes.
Fellow American Natalie Gulbis shot a 70 to finish at even-par 288 and tied for 53rd.
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Day (68) just one back at Australian Open
Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.
Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)
What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.
Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.
Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.
Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.
Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.