Lincicome outlasts Lewis in playoff to win ANA

By Nick MentaApril 6, 2015, 2:11 am

At the end of a wild final round, Brittany Lincicome made par on the third playoff hole to outlast Stacy Lewis and win the ANA Inspiration. Here’s what went down in the final round at Mission Hills:

Leaderboard:  Lincicome (-9), Lewis (-9), Morgan Pressel (-8)

What it means: The win is Lincicome’s second major victory and her second ANA Inspiration title. (She won the former Kraft Nabisco Championship back in 2009.) The win is also a bit of redemption for the 29-year-old, who coughed up a one-shot lead on the final hole at last year’s LPGA Championship before losing to Inbee Park in a playoff. Four back to start the day, Lincicome made the turn at 1 under and rattled off 10 straight pars, from Nos. 8 through 17, before closing with a dramatic eagle on the 72th hole to post 9 under and ultimately wind up in a playoff with Lewis. After dodging three bullets in the form of missed putts from Lewis, Lincicome tapped in for par on the third extra hole and finally ended the proceedings just before sunset.

Best of the rest: Three back to start the day, Lewis was 4 under through 12 and actually held a two-shot lead on the back nine before slipping up with bogeys on Nos. 13 and 15. She had three consecutive putts to win the tournament with a birdie on the 18th green - once in regulation and twice in the playoff – but couldn’t get any of them, including a lip-out, to fall. Then, on her fourth trip down 18, she found herself stuck in a divot in the middle of the fairway. Her third shot – from the divot – landed short of the green and she failed to get up and down from the apron, settling for a bogey and the loss. Separately, Pressel finished just one shot out of the playoff and nearly made an eagle of her own on 18, as her approach shot to the final green almost found the bottom of the cup. She tapped in for birdie to finish solo third at 8 under.

Round of the day: Four over through three rounds, Gerina Piller finished in red numbers after a 7-under 65, tying Sei Young Kim for the round of the week. Piller made eight birdies against a lone bogey to vault herself from a tie for 58th into a tie for 20th at 3 under for the championship.

Biggest disappointment: Kim started the day with a three-shot lead and played a roller-coaster final round opposite Lewis, carding five birdies, four bogeys and two double bogeys en route to a 3-over 75 and a three-way tie for fourth place. Kim was just one shot behind Lewis with two holes to play before a three-putt bogey on the par-3 17th largely ended her chances. A downhill eagle chip on the final green slid by and Kim finished two shots out of a playoff.

Shot of the day: Unquestionably, Lincicome’s second shot on the 18th in regulation. Her 5-iron approach landed in the middle of the green and ran all the way to back collar before circling the edge of the green and funneling back down to the hole, leading to an eagle, a playoff and eventually a win.

Quote of the day: “[I’m] super emotional. We played that hole so many times, and the first time it felt fairly easy because I thought I was so far out of this tournament that I never had a chance. So hitting the 5-iron on the green that time was easy, and now I’m standing here shaking like a leaf still. I’m still shaking.” - Lincicome

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.