Broch Larsen wins, Korda among Symetra grads

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2016, 1:45 pm

LONGWOOD, Fla. – It was a week 10 ladies who earned their 2017 LPGA tour card through the Symetra Tour will never forget. 

The final event of the season ended in a playoff between Ally McDonald and Nicole Broch Larsen, who hit her approach on the first playoff hole to 14 feet and made birdie to win the Symetra Tour Championship. 

“I was not really nervous hitting that shot and I’ve putted well today,” Broch Larsen said.

Broch Larsen, a Denmark native, earned $30,000 and moved from 69th to 20th place in the tour’s money list. In her four starts, she totaled $41,677.

With the win, Broch Larsen will be able to bypass the second stage of LPGA Q-School.

Broch Larsen spent time with seven-time LPGA winner Helen Alfredsson during the week, as the Swede shared advice with the 23-year-old.

“We’ve had a lot of good talks,” Broch Larsen said of Alfredsson. “It’s just been like all week, it’s been about hitting the shot I’m going to hit.”

The top four on the money list had already secured their LPGA cards for next season. That list included McDonald, who won the Heather Wilbur Spirit Award for perseverance and spirit, as voted on by her peers.

Two from outside of the top 10 played their way to an LPGA card; Belgium-native Laura Gonzalez Escallon shot a bogey-free 67 to finish third, which moved her from 11th to fifth on the final money list, and 18-year-old Nelly Korda, Jessica’s younger sister, shot a final-round 66 to get the job done.

“Just playing today was nerve-wrecking,” Nelly Korda said. “Just sitting around watching everyone come in is just-my heart rate is definitely high up there.”

Korda finished T-6 after shooting a 66 on Sunday. She credited help from her sister, a four-time LPGA winner, for helping her play well when it mattered the most.

“On the golf course I was just trying to stay calm,” Nelly said. “On the 13th hole I just started thinking about it and I just told myself I need to stop and just focus on the round.”

Also earning their cards were Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden, the Symetra Tour Player of the Year; Americans Jackie Stoelting, Dana Finkelstein and Marissa Steen; Wichanee Meechai and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong of Thailand; and Peiyun Chien of Chinese Taipei.

The top 15 outside of the final 10, excluding current LPGA members, get to bypass stage two of LPGA Q-School and advanced directly to the final stage.

Golf Channel's Chantel McCabe provided this story

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey six on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."