Park leads several big names through 54 at Birkdale

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 12, 2014, 4:30 pm

Moving Day lived up to its billing at the Ricoh Women's British Open, with players heading both up and down the leaderboard in Round 3. South Korea's Inbee Park finds herself in a familiar spot, out in front and in prime position to win her fifth career major. Here’s how things stand after three rounds at Royal Birkdale:

Leaderboard:  Park (-4), Suzann Pettersen (-3), Shanshan Feng (-3), Sun-Ju Ahn, (-3), Amelia Lewis (-2), Julieta Granada (-2), Charlie Hull (-1), Stacy Lewis (-1), five others tied at 1 under.

What it means: Park, the reigning Rolex Player of the Year, seems to have regained the form that saw her take the first three majors of 2013. She will, however, be trying to hold off several competant challengers with major pedigrees on Sunday, including Lewis, who overtook her as world No. 1 earlier this year and sits only three behind.

Round of the day: English teenage sensation Charley Hull started the day at 5 over and looked completely out of contention after bogeys on her first two holes. But the 18-year-old rallied from there, making nine birdies the rest of the way against only one bogey on 17, turning in the best we've seen at Royal Birkdale this week, a sizzling 6-under 66 to get under par for the tournament and only three behind Park.

Best of the rest: World No. 4 Suzann Pettersen's 4-under 68 moved her to within one of the lead as she looks for her third major championship. Pettersen turned a decent round into a great one with a strong finish, eagling the par-5 17th hole and following that with a closing birdie.

Biggest disappointment: This is a tie between the 36-hole leader and the player who could've been the 54-hole leader if not for a two-stroke penalty on 18. Unhearalded American Mo Martin started Moving Day with a three-stroke lead, but quickly coughed it up with bogeys on her first two holes. The 99th ranked player in the world eventually carded a 5-over 77 and sits three off the lead. South Korea's Sun-Ju Ahn got in the clubhouse at 5 under, good enough for the lead heading into Sunday, until her bunker shot on her final hole was reviewed. Ahn was eventually given a two-stroke penalty for building a stance in a pot bunker left of the 18th green, turning her 69 into a 71. Now she sits one behind her countrywoman, Park.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Can Park hold off a field that includes major winners Pettersen, Feng and Lewis, not to mention Hull? Only time will tell, but we should be in for some Sunday fireworks at Royal Birkdale.  

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Bubba holes birdie from bunker after caddie calls it

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 10:31 pm

Bubba Watson started the final round of the Genesis Open with the lead, but quickly squandered it with three bogeys on the front nine.

That didn't crush the two-time tournament champion's (or his caddie's) confidence though, as evidenced by his birdie on the par-3 14th hole, which he made from the greenside bunker.

Watson regained the final-round lead by finding the bottom of the cup with this splash-out from the sand, a shot his caddie, Ted Scott, apparently called before he hit it:

Hey, when you caddie for a guy who has two green jackets hanging in the closet at home, sometimes you just know.

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Watch: Daly makes an ace at the Chubb Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 9:01 pm

John Daly won't walk from the Chubb Classic with the trophy, but he certainly deserves recogition for his Sunday scorecard, which came complete with a hole-in-one.

Daly aced the 154-yard par-3 16th on the Talon Course at TwinEagles, when his ball carried the froont bunker and tracked right to the hole.

Two holes later, Daly signed for a final-round 67 that included four birdies, three bogeys and two eagles, which both in the span of four holes on the back nine.

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Gustafson shares stuttering success video

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 8:31 pm

Sophie Gustafson shared a breakthrough Sunday morning on YouTube.

Gustafson, a five-time LPGA winner and 16-time Ladies European Tour winner, shared her news in a 4-minute and 15-second video.

She did so without stuttering.

And that’s the nature of her breakthrough, something she is sharing in hopes that it will help others who stutter.

“I’m certainly not perfect, and the next time you see me, I am going to stutter, there is no question about that,” she says in the video. “But I am excited, because I am going in the right direction, and I believe I have found the solution that works for me.”

For someone who has struggled with stuttering all of her life, Gustafson has touched so many with her ability to communicate. She has entertained her legion of Twitter followers with her sense of humor. She also has written articles.

Back in 2011, Gustafson touched Golf Channel viewers when she opened up about her stuttering in an interview that was aired during the Solheim Cup. Her courage in sharing her challenges was recognized the following year, when the Golf Writers Association of American presented her its Ben Hogan Award, an honor bestowed to someone who has persevered through physical ailment. She also won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award that year.

Gustafson, 44, left the game as a player three years ago to become Beth Allen’s full-time caddie on the Ladies European Tour. She explains in the YouTube video that she is making her breakthrough with the help of Steve Gill, a team member with Tony Robbins’ life and business strategy group.

Gustafson said Gill led her to breathing, meditation and incantation exercises that have helped her since they began working together eight months ago.

“If you know anyone who stutters, tell them to breathe in and then speak,” Gustafson said. “I tried it the other way for 44 years, and it's just not working.” 

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J.Y. Ko wins her first start as an official LPGA member

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 4:09 pm

Make way for Jin Young Ko.

The South Koreans keep delivering one new star after another to the LPGA ranks, and they aren’t going to disappoint this year.

Ko made some history Sunday winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She became the first player in 67 years to win her LPGA debut as a tour member. Beverly Hanson (1951) is the only other player to do so.

Hyejin Choi, an 18-year-old who just turned pro, is yet another emerging South Korean star looking to crack the LPGA ranks. She finished second Sunday, three shots back after closing with a 67. She played on a sponsor exemption. She is already No. 11 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and likely to move up when the newest rankings are released. Had Choi won Sunday, she could have claimed LPGA membership for the rest of this season.

Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

Ko, 22, moved herself into early position to try to follow in Sung Hyun Park’s footsteps. Park won the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards last year. She joined Nancy Lopez as the only players to do so. Lopez did it in 1978. Park shared the Player of the Year honor with So Yeon Ryu.

Ko said winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award is a goal, but she didn’t come into the year setting her sights on Player of the Year.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” she said.

Ko finished at 14 under overall.

It was a good week for rookies. Australia’s Hannah Green (69) finished third.

Ko claimed LPGA membership this year based on her victory as a non-member at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea last fall. She’s already a star in South Korea, having won 10 times on the Korean LPGA Tour. She is No. 20 in the world and, like Choi, poised to move up when the newest world rankings are released.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko closed with an even par 72, finishing tied for 19th in her 2018 debut. She is in next week’s field at the Honda LPGA Thailand.