Illinois Women Bring Home Title
MIAMI. -- Illinois held on to its first-round lead during the final round to capture the team title at the Golden Panther Women's Championship, hosted by Florida International University at the par 71, 6,003-yard Doral Resort Silver Course in Miami.
Illinois shot a score of 324 to give the team a 36-hole total score of 633. The Illini finished 12 strokes better than North Carolina-Greensboro, who placed second with a score of 646. Georgia State placed third at 653, 20 strokes behind the victorious Illini. The win marks the first tournament title of the 2002-03 season for the Illini and the first for the program since it won the Illini Spring Classic last season.
Leading the way for Illoinois was senior Laurin Kanda, who captured runner-up honors at 13-over par. Kanda finished second in the 80-player field after carding rounds of 77 and 78 for a total score of 155. She just missed winning the individual title, finishing one stroke behind Florida International's Courtney Burdick, who captured medalist honors with a score of 154. Kanda's second-place finish ties her career-best as an Illini, dating back to her freshman season in the fall of 1999 when she tied for second at the Wolverine Invitational.
'As a team we're very excited to come away with the win,' Kanda said. 'We played really well yesterday and although our scores weren't as low today, we held on and won and it's really exciting to start the spring season by winning our first tournament.
'As for myself, it's hard not to be a little disappointed with missing first place by one stroke, because I can look back and think of how one shot or one putt here or there would have made the difference,' Kanda added. 'But runner-up is still a great honor and definitely gives me confidence heading into our upcoming tournaments.'
Three Illini golfers in all finished in the top 10 in the individual standings. Junior Michelle Carroll tied for fourth with a score of 15-over par 157. The fourth place performance by Carroll marks the highest finish of her collegiate career. Senior Renata Young placed seventh at 16-over par (158) to join Kanda and Carroll in the Top 10.
Illinois takes a two-week break and is next in action Feb. 24-25 at the Central District Challenge in Parrish, Fla.
Golden Panther Women's Championship Final Team Standings
1. Illinois 309-324=633
2. North Carolina-Greensboro 334-312=646
3. Georgia State 334-319=653
4. Florida Atlantic 337-319=656
T5. Middle Tennessee State 334-324=658
T5. Florida International 334-324=658
T7. Southwest Texas State 330-332=662
T7. Bethune-Cookman 331-331=662
T9. Barry 343-331=674
T9. Daytona Beach CC 345-329=674
11. Lynn 357-332=689
12. The Citadel 360-334=694
T13. Northwood 357-341=698
T13. Southern Illinois 353-345=698
15. Nova Southeastern 355-350=705
Illinois Individual Results
2. Laurin Kanda 77-78=155 +13
T4. Michelle Carroll 78-79=157 +15
7. Renata Young 76-82=158 +16
T16. Stephanie Cheney 78-85=163 +21
T40. Megan Godfrey (Ind.) 86-84=170 +28
T47. Marla Cox 83-91=174 +32
Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win
Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.
He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.
Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:
Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'
Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.
Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.
Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.
"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.
The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.
Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.
"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."
McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open
When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.
Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.
Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.
While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.
Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai
Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.
Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."
But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.
With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.
Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.
The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.
"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."