Bae Wins Futures Tour Title In a New Hampshire

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
Futures TourCONCORD, N.H. -- For those who have watched second-year player Kyeong Bae compete, there is no mistaking whose voice she hears most often. Bae's father, Chan Soo Bae -- a former professional soccer player for Spain's Real Madrid -- doubles as the player's caddie and van driver, as well as her biggest cheerleader and most outspoken critic.
Remarkably, young Bae has the calm ability to hear it all and remain largely unaffected by her demonstrative dad. But on Sunday morning, it was the quiet voice of her mother that pulled her daughter aside before the final round and delivered three words: Just trust yourself.
When the $65,000 Laconia Savings Bank Futures Golf Classic ended with a nail-biting finish, Kyeong Bae, 20, waved for her mother to join her in the trophy photo. Mi Ja Kim, a former world-class table tennis player, politely bowed, waved off her daughter, then finally dashed to the green for the photo. The family portrait was snapped and Kyeong Bae's second season win was complete.
'It was fantastic,' said Bae of Seoul, Korea, who fired a three-under-par final round of 69 to win by one shot at 209 (-7). 'My mom arrived [in the United States] four days ago and she gave me really great important thoughts for today.'
For most of the round, however, it was not Bae who led the charge at the 6,283-yard Beaver Meadow Golf Course. Compatriot Bo Mi Suh, also of Seoul, entered today's final round with a two-shot lead, which she maintained for most of her front nine. But Suh spent the day wrestling with her approach shots, carding a final-round 74 (+2) with only one birdie and three bogeys -- the last an untimely blunder that cost Suh the tournament.
Throughout the afternoon, players had moved in and out of the shared lead alongside Suh, who scrambled for pars and gambled for birdies on her back nine. By the time Suh reached her 14th hole, Bae, Kristy McPherson of Conway, S.C., and top-ranked Seon-Hwa Lee of Chonan, Korea all were deadlocked with Suh at seven under par. Lee bogeyed the 15th hole to fall out of the lead, then Bae later bogeyed the same hole to leave only Suh and McPherson tied at the top.
But bogeys on 16 and 17 knocked McPherson out of the lead, handing Suh the lead alone once again. McPherson drained a 12-foot birdie on the 18th, but it was little consolation for missed par putts from two feet and eight feet on two of her last three holes.
'Those three holes -- 16, 17 and 18 -- are good holes, but of course I'm disappointed to take two bogeys in that stretch,' said McPherson, who shot a final-round 69 to tie for second at 210 (-6). 'I guess if you miss a two-footer, you can bogey any of them.'
After Lee's birdie attempt on the 18th hole spun out of the cup, ending her last chance to join the leaders, the only player standing between Suh and her first Futures Tour win was Bae. And as expected, the quietly tenacious Bae birdied the 16th hole from 27 feet to once again draw even with Suh for the lead at seven under.
'My direction on my iron shots was not good all day today, but I still thought I could win,' said Suh, 24, now in her fourth Futures Tour season.
Suh patiently plodded along, then watched as Bae gave back a shot with a bogey on the 17th hole when she misread her three-foot par putt and dropped to six-under par for the tournament.
'That made me mad,' said Bae. 'I had no choice but to be aggressive on the last hole.'
Suh held a one-stroke lead when their final group arrived at the par-four 18th tee. But when Suh's drive sailed into the right trees, Bae saw her opening. She knew if she made birdie on the final hole, she could force a playoff. What she didn't anticipate was that Suh might not be able to scramble, as she had all day, on this last hole.
Suh had played a similar punch shot out of the woods earlier in the round on the 10th hole to save par, so she felt confident standing over her second shot. But when her punched 7-iron landed 85 yards short of the hole, Suh knew she had to hit her sand wedge close. She knocked her shot to three feet and marked her ball to wait for Bae's putt.
Seeing Suh's trouble in the right trees, Bae steered her drive down the left side of the fairway on 18 and hit her approach shot to within 27 feet of the hole -- the same distance she'd had two holes earlier with her birdie putt on No. 16.
'I told myself to just try to make a good stroke on 18 like I had done on 16 -- to not be greedy, but to just make a good stroke,' said Bae.
And good stroke it was, rolling uphill on a double-breaking line and falling into the hole for birdie. Now, Suh had to make her three-footer for par to join Bae in a sudden-death playoff. But Suh's par putt stayed left of the hole, giving Bae the win with the two-shot swing.
'She's a good player, but I was surprised that she made that putt [on the 18th hole],' said Suh, who settled into a tie for second with McPherson and Lee at 210 (-6). 'I felt more pressure to make mine.'
And with her winner's check for $9,100, the Lakeland, Florida-based Bae moved into the No. 2 position on the season money list behind Lee.
All it took were a few quiet words of encouragement from her mom earlier in the day. That, and a little trust in herself when she needed it most.
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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”