Prammanasudh Nabs Win
Playing in her third Futures Tour tournament this year, 2 hours from her home in Enid, Okla., the former University of Tulsa star took her three-shot lead into Sunday and walked away as the winner by four strokes with rounds of 69-69-69 for her first professional title at 9-under 207. Prammanasudh never trailed on Sunday and held as much as a six-shot lead after seven holes on the 6,260-yard, par-72 tract at Willowbend Golf Club.
Seol-An Jeon of Seoul, Korea and former LPGA Tour player Lisa Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England, tied for second at 211 (-5), both firing final-round scores of 69. Canadian Isabelle Beisiegel, now of Norman, Okla., finished fourth at 212 (-4).
'It's been a while since I won the 2002 WAC Championship my senior year at Tulsa and it feels especially good to win again so close to home,' said Prammanasudh, who was a four-time All-American while playing for Tulsa in the Western Athletic Conference. 'I know my capabilities and the way I can play. There's no reason why I can't win on this level.'
Prammanasudh, the daughter of a Thai father who works as a factory machinist and a mother who heads a department at K-Mart in Enid, grew up playing golf on the municipal level. As a junior, she couldn't afford to travel the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) junior circuit, so she played where she could locally and regionally and qualified for national events. But it was her work ethic and straight-A academics that caught the eye of longtime Tulsa coach Dale McNamara.
'When you fight and work for something like Stacy has, it's inevitable that she's going to succeed,' said her former coach, who is now retired. 'She's made the most of every opportunity she's had, much like another great Tulsa player - Nancy Lopez. She's just a very special player, a very special person.'
Prammanasudh (pronounced pro-mon-na-sude) missed her exempt LPGA status by one stroke in last year's LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. But instead of wallowing in what could have been, the non-exempt LPGA player turned her attention to what she now wants: a top-five position on the FUTURES Tour Money List that will reward her with automatic exempt LPGA Tour status for 2004. She took a step closer to achieving that goal this week by moving to the top of the Tour's money list at $14,891 after three events. Her win in the $70,000 Wichita tournament was worth $9,800.
'I couldn't catch her,' added Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, who started the day three shots off the lead in a tie for second with Beisiegel. Moon finished tied for fifth at 213 (-3) with Erika Wicoff of Hartford City, Ind.
Prammanasudh's 'Steady Betty' style of play and experience in wind was apparent when she one-putted the first six greens and birdied four of her first six holes, including her two opening holes. With a comfortable lead heading to the back nine, fianc Pete Upton, carrying her bag, advised her to play smart and let the field take the chances.
'I told her to hit to the middle of the greens,' said Upton, a former club professional. 'I could see that others were shooting at the pins and I told her we'd let them try to catch her.'
But catch her, they couldn't. And Prammanasudh's cruise control, with pars on her final 10 holes, 28 putts and 13 greens hit for the round, was good enough for her inaugural professional victory.
'She was all business out there,' said Upton. 'And she was solid all three days. If she made a mistake, she picked right back up on the next hole with a birdie. Stacy knows where she wants to go.'
She even knew that she wanted her last putt on the final hole in the cup as soon as possible. There was no experienced winner's formality in her final stroke - no marking of the ball to wait for the players in her pairing to putt out before dropping in her final putt and no raised arms or fist pumps in victory. Prammanasudh simply stroked the ball to the hole, picked it out of the cup and headed to the scorer's table.
No mugging for the cameras. No victory leaps into the lake. Just Stacy P., making her name one to remember in Wichita.
Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas
Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.
Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?
Memo to the golf gods:
If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?
Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?
It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.
With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.
It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.
We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.
We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.
Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.
Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line. Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.
We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors.
In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.
While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.
Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.
Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.
Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.
While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.
Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.
So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?
McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever
With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.
The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.
Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.
"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."
McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.
But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.
"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."
What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire
Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.
Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x