Se Ri Pak plans to retire after 2016 season

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2016, 12:55 am

PHOENIX – Se Ri Pak picked a fitting setting to announce her retirement in the United States.

After finishing Thursday’s opening round of the JTBC Founders Cup, Pak, 38, told Golf Channel in the live telecast that she plans to retire at season’s end.

“Basically, 2016 is my final season, full time,” Pak said. “I’m going to retire. It’s pretty hard to make the decision.”

The Founders Cup was created six years ago to honor the pioneers of the women’s game, and Pak qualifies as the pioneer of South Korean golf, as the spark who ignited the popularity of the game among a generation of girls there who would grow up to dominate the world’s stage.

Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi and the wave of South Korean stars who followed Pak were called “Se Ri’s kids.”

Pak won 25 LPGA titles, five of them major championships. As an LPGA rookie in 1998, she won the most important championship in her sport, the U.S. Women’s Open.

She also won the LPGA Championship as her first major that year, but it was her playoff victory against Jenny Chuasiriporn at the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run that captured the imagination of South Koreans.

“That’s why we’re here,” Na Yeon Choi said. “We grew up watching her. She was always on TV.”

When Pak beat Chuasiriporn, she was one of just three South Koreans playing the LPGA. There were 45 South Koreans playing the tour when Pak was inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame in 2007.

Today, five of the top 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are South Koreans, as are seven of the top 12 and 16 of the top 32. South Korean born players have won the last four major championships, 11 of the last 17.

“Se Ri inspired so many young players,” Park said. “Seeing her play was a thrill.”

Pak shot a 3-under 69 Thursday in her first LPGA start in nine months. She has struggled with a left shoulder injury the last couple years and has struggled to be as competitive as she would like. Pak made just eight starts last year, missing the cut or withdrawing in the last five. She stepped away from the tour in June and didn’t return until teeing it up this week.

“It’s been hard to see her hurt, to see her feeling some stress after rounds,” Choi said. “You wish she could play like she did before ... I wish she will stay healthy now and is happy.”

At 29, Pak became the youngest woman to meet all the criteria required to enter the LPGA Hall of Fame. She was just 26 when she met the 27-point standard used to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame, but Pak wasn’t eligible for induction until she met the tour’s 10-years-of-service requirement. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory, two points if it’s a major and one point for winning the Rolex Player of the Year Award or Vare Trophy for low scoring average.

Park will surpass Pak as the youngest player to meet all of the LPGA Hall of Fame criteria required for induction this year. Park met the point standard for qualifying by winning the Vare Trophy last year. She will meet the 10-year membership requirement with her 10th start this year. Park turns 28 in July.

“What Se Ri did for women’s golf will always be huge for us,” Park said.

Getty Images

Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

Getty Images

Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.


Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

That forced him to think differently for the back nine and he was rewarded with three birdies.

''It was quite funny really,'' Southgate said. ''We birdied the ninth and I walked off and said to my caddie Gary ... 'We've just shot level par, so let's just pretend that we've made nine solid pars and that we haven't holed a putt and haven't made a birdie. Let's just start again on the 10th'.''

The 32-year-old Guerrier started his round with a monster 48-foot birdie putt and had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

Getty Images

J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

Australian golfer Hannah Green moved into second place after the round of the day, a 66.

Green, 21, is seeking to become the first Australian to claim her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Webb, who is playing a part-time schedule in 2018, missed the cut Friday by one stroke.

Green birdied her first three holes on Saturday and then added two more on the eighth and ninth. Two more birdies followed on the back nine with her only dropped shot a bogey on the 17th.


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


"I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

"It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut, but I know she has got different plans."

South Korea's Hyejin Choi (70), was tied for third, five strokes behind. Australia's top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee was tied for fifth after a 69, six off the lead.

Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot a 71 and was eight strokes behind.

"It's always nice to be able to start the season on a good note, and I've obviously got tomorrow," Lydia Ko said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to finish off on a high note."

Getty Images

Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

They were at 7-under 135.

Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue. He had three holes remaining in his second round. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole for a 68 and was one shot behind at 136.

Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.


Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

''All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence,'' McDowell said.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.