Lee wins Bahamas LPGA on shortened course

By Doug FergusonMay 26, 2013, 11:35 am

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – The golf course flooded, and then was closed for two days. The only way to hold the Bahamas LPGA Classic was to use 12 holes over three rounds. No one played the par-5 18th hole in competition until Sunday. It was a week like no other on the LPGA, especially for Ilhee Lee.

''This is the best day in my life,'' she said. ''I'm so happy right now.''

Lee made a clutch par putt on the second-to-last hole in a raging wind to keep a one-shot lead, and then she drilled a fairway metal out of light rough and onto the 18th green to set up a two-putt birdie. That gave her a 5-under 42 and her first professional win, by two shots over Irene Cho.

It was only fitting that she finished in a downpour.

Flooding earlier in the week left so much of the Ocean Club course under water that the tour's best option – especially with new sponsors Ohio-based Pure Silk and the Bahamas Tourism Ministry – was to shorten the course to 12 holes and play three rounds to reach the 36 holes required for an official event.

First-time winners usually get showered with beer. In the rain, Jennie Lee sprayed her with shaving cream.

While the entire week was wild, it was memorable in so many ways for the 24-year-old from South Korea. She loves to swim and loves to gamble, and Lee couldn't have been in a better spot to kill the time. She played the opening two rounds with her idol, Se Ri Pak.

Starting the final round three shots out of the lead, with the wind blowing as hard as it had all week, she was thinking even par would do her well.

She holed a 30-foot putt from off the green on her first hole. She chipped in from 60 feet on the next hole. And after running into trouble on the next hole, a par 5, she hit 5-iron into the hurting, left-to-right wind to 10 feet for a third straight birdie.

''After the third hole I was thinking, 'Maybe this is the day to win,''' she said.

Lee hit 9-iron to tap-in range on her eighth hole to take the outright lead, but she left a long birdie putt from the fringe some 5 feet short. With a one-shot lead, she couldn't afford a bogey, and Lee drilled the par putt right in the center and lightly pumped her fist leaving the green.

''The most important putt,'' she said.

The birdie on the 18th hole affected only the final margin. Lee finished on 11-under 126 and picked up $195,000, more than enough to offset the $45 she lost in four nights at the casino. Asked if she was going back to the casino Sunday night, Lee smiled and signaled two thumbs-up.

Cho, who teed off two hours before Lee, got into the mix by holing a 9-iron into the wind from 118 yards on the par-5 11th hole – the fifth hole of her round – and birdied three of the last five holes for a 7-under 40. The 7 under matched the low score of the week.

Anna Nordqvist had a 2-under 45 to finish alone in third. Cristie Kerr, coming off a win in Kingsmill two weeks ago, was in position for so much of the day and couldn't make a putt, the strength of her game. She even laid flat on her stomach to line up a 7-foot attempt on her ninth hole, only to see it bump off line. Kerr had to settle for a 46 and a five-way tie for fourth that included Paula Creamer (45) and Mika Miyazato (45).

The most sensible routing was a strange one. Every player started on No. 10 and then jumped from one side to the next. The course dried enough that the par-5 18th was used for the first time all week, and the fourth hole – which had been converted from a par 5 to a par 3 – was eliminated.

''They did the best they could,'' Kerr said. ''Today was brutal with the wind. I didn't putt well enough and I couldn't steady myself in the wind. I'm glad the week is over. It was weird playing the 18th hole for the first time all week. I haven't seen it since Monday. I hope we get to play the whole golf course next year.''

Cho's eagle from the 11th fairway was but a small part of her exciting round. Two holes later, her shot drifted onto the sandy beach and she figured she might as well try to play it.

''It was in the beach, and there was some water around it,'' Cho said. ''And I was like, 'Shoot, I'm going to pull out a little Bill Haas and just try to get this up and over.' I got it out perfect.''

She saved par, just like Haas did in a playoff at the Tour Championship in 2011 that led him to win the FedEx Cup.

As hard as the wind was blowing over the final hour, and as the sky began to darken, it looked as though Cho's score of a 9-under 128 might be enough to win. Lee was simply flawless.

''I can't believe it right now,'' Lee said. It feels amazing. Awesome.''

First-time winners typically get showered with beer. It was raining so hard that Jennie Lee sprayed her with shaving cream. The winner posed for photos with her sunglasses covered in white cream and a smile that stayed with her all day.

The perks kept right on coming after the trophy presentation. She was awarded a silver bracelet from Tiffany's, and all first-time winners get a Rolex watch.

Lee has come a long way since her rookie year in 2010, when she earned her card at Q-school and spoke ''zero English.'' She decided to stay in private housing to help learn the language. And after a short interview before the trophy presentation, she smiled and said, ''I think I did OK right now.''

''This week, I was very happy,'' she said about her weird week. ''I can play golf. I can swim. I can gamble. This is the best job in the world. I love golf.''


Getty Images

The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

A post shared by theCHIVE (@thechive) on

Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

A post shared by Under Armour Golf (@uagolf) on

The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

Getty Images

Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.


Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

Getty Images

Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)