Yi beats Pressel in playoff at Jamie Farr

By Associated PressJuly 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Jamie Farr Owens Corning ClassicSYLVANIA, Ohio ' The gallery was going wild. There was no question what had happened.
 
Eunjung Yi watched from the 17th tee and knew that Morgan Pressel, playing just ahead of her, had holed a lob wedge from 70 yards for eagle that had erased what had only a few holes earlier had been a six-shot lead.
 
Rather than let her mind wander or allow herself to be distracted by all of the people cheering for Pressel, Yi shut everything out.
 
I didnt think about her, she said. I thought about my golf.
 
Eunjung Yi
Eunjung Yi reacts to her playoff-winning putt at the Jamie Farr. (Getty Images)
Yi recovered to roll in a 10-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Pressel and capture her first LPGA title Sunday in what might be the final Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
 
Pressel, a runner-up for the second time in three years at the Farr, tipped her hat to the winner.
 
She won the tournament, Pressel said. She made a birdie on the playoff hole. I had my opportunities.
 
The 21-year-old Yi, the 2005 U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links winner, began the day with a four-shot lead. She birdied two of the first three holes to go up six shots. Yet she remained oblivious; she never looked at a leaderboard and didnt ask her caddie about her status.
 
I was just focusing on my golf, she said. I didnt see the scoreboards at all. I just hit the driver, the second shots ' I was very centered.
 
Pressel, chasing her third career victory, pulled even by holing that wedge shot on the par-5 17th hole.
 
Yi, from South Korea, finished at 18-under 266 to earn the $210,000 first prize ' more than she had earned in her previous 23 LPGA starts combined. She had missed the cut in four of her seven starts this year and her biggest previous check was just over $11,000 for a 26th-place tie at the Corona Championship.
 
Yi closed with an even-par 71 and Pressel had a 67. Michelle Wie had a career-best 64 to tie for third at 16 under, but lost a chance to put extra pressure on the leaders when she misfired while going for the par-5 18th in two and had to settle for a par.
 
On the playoff hole, the 18th, both Yi and Pressel were in the fairway inside 100 yards away in two. Pressels approach came up short to the back left pin location, ending up on the first cut of rough about 20 feet from the hole. Yi hit a lower, harder shot that stopped 10 feet away.
 
Pressels birdie putt held the line and almost fell as it scooted past on the left edge. She then tapped in for par.
 
After looking over her putt, Yi hit it firmly and ' before the ball even settled into the cup ' she raised both arms in victory.
 
When I hit it, I thought it was going in, she said.
 
The instant Yi left the green she picked up her cell phone and called her father back in Temecula, Calif., who was working at his restaurant, the Minong Korean Barbecue. When she first soared to the lead in the third round, she vowed that if she won the Farr then her father would serve free meals to everyone who came in.
 
Her father, Kuyng Su, was watching the tournament on TV. She let him know that he needed to be ready for a lot of giveaways.
 
Everything, for whoever comes ' all free, she said with a laugh.
 
Pressel trailed by four shots as she went to the 16th tee. But a Yi bogey and a Pressel birdie set the stage for the shot of the day.
 
At the 17th, Pressel was upset by her drive and stopped just short of slamming her driver into the turf. But she was able to chase a 3 wood into the fairway. From there, with 70 yards to the hole, she pulled out a lob wedge on the 513-yard, par-5 hole. The instant she made contact, her caddie, Barry Rock Cesarz, shouted, Go! Go! The ball, however, didnt need any help.
 
It cleared the bunker in the way of the back left pin placement, bounced twice and then rolled into the cup for the eagle that tied her for the lead. Pressel flashed a wide smile, turned to Cesarz and traded a high-five with him.
 
Sometimes you get a little lucky, she said.
 
As her score was posted on the large magnetic sign near the 18th green, the crowd went crazy.
 
Both then parred out to set up the drama that unfolded on the extra hole.
 
Yis playing partner, Song-Hee Kim, had a 25-foot birdie putt at the final hole that would have also put her in the playoff, but she missed it and then missed the comeback putt. Kim, who shot a 69, ended up tied for third with Wie and Seon Hwa Lee (67).
 
Wie made a back-nine rush ' birdieing holes 14, 15, 16 and 17 ' in her 64. But she needed to win the Farr to get into next weeks U.S. Womens Open at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem, Pa.
 
I feel like Im on the brink of playing extremely well but I still have a lot yet to learn, she said. I have a lot to improve. I want to just keep the same feeling as the last 10 holes that I played and keep moving forward from there.
 
The tournaments contract with its title sponsor, the LPGA and Highland Meadows Golf Club expired after the final round.
 
I certainly hope we can come back, said Pressel, who frequently visited her grandparents in nearby Detroit when she was young. It would be disappointing to not come back, with my family here and so close to where I spent so much time as a kid.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.