Ko grabs share of Coates lead before play suspended

By Randall MellFebruary 4, 2016, 9:10 pm

OCALA, Fla. – Lydia Ko didn’t take long to get back atop a leaderboard in her 2016 debut.

The Rolex world No. 1 used some stellar ball striking Thursday to move into a tie for the lead in the second round of the Coates Golf Championship, but her work isn’t done. Ko was lining up a 15-foot birdie putt for a chance to take sole possession of the lead at her 18th hole of the day when horns blew suspending play at 12:45 p.m. due to bad weather. Heavy rains ended up postponing play for the day.

Ko has a bogey free round of four birdies going at Golden Ocala, pulling her into a tie for the lead with Ha Na Jang at 7 under overall. Play was suspended before Jang could start the second round.

“I hit the ball really well today,” Ko said. “I struggled a little bit with my driver yesterday, but today I hit all the fairways. So, I was super happy with that.”

Ko hit 8 of 14 fairways in a bogey-free opening round of 69. She spent time on the range after the round working on her driver with her swing coach, David Leadbetter. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday. She hit a number of shots tight into flagsticks but missed short birdie chances at the ninth and 10th holes.

“I left a few putts out there where I did have good looks at birdies, but what can you do?” Ko said. “I’ve just got to be patient out there.”

Ko has waited a year for another chance at Golden Ocala. Last year, she took a one-shot lead to the 71st hole but shanked a shot in the woods there, made double bogey and ended up tying for second. She enjoyed a nice consolation prize, though. She earned enough Rolex Women’s World Ranking points to rise to No. 1, making her the youngest man or woman to rise to No. 1 in professional golf.

After her history-making year last season, Ko would relish a good start to this year. She has a pair of important title defenses coming up the next two weeks. She’s flying to her New Zealand homeland next week to defend her title at the New Zealand Women’s Open. After that, she’s off to defend again at the Women’s Australian Open. Ko became the youngest Rolex Player of the Year winner and youngest LPGA money title winner last year.

Hitting every fairway Thursday was especially meaningful to Ko. She said earlier in the week the thing she most wanted to improve upon was her driving accuracy.

“I think one of my big goals going into this year is trying to hit a few more fairways than last year,” Ko said. “We’ve been working on trying to get a little more consistent with the driver.” 

Ko hit 74 percent of the fairways she looked at on tour last year, which ranked 43rd. She hit 79 percent the year before, ranking 19th.

“Just really pleased that my driver’s going well,” Ko said of Thursday’s play.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.