Lady Tigers Capture Cleveland Golf Classic
BATON ROUGE, La. -- A mental attitude shaped by head coach Karen Bahnsen helped make the final day of the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic a simple march down the fairway to the championship.
A couple of hours of rain? No problem. A slight delay in the start of the day? No problem. Worrying about giving up the lead? No problem whatsoever.
'It could have really affected it and we got so fortunate with the weather because it rained early on (in the round),' said Bahnsen. 'We're the type of team that we feel like we play good in bad weather. You could tell when it started out that it didn't phase them one bit. We practice a lot and we make sure that when there is bad weather we have the proper gear and we're prepared for it. That way we're prepared for it not only with our equipment, but mentally.'
LSU posted the best round of the day for the third consecutive day to make it a wire-to-wire finish as the 13th-ranked Lady Tigers posted a 15-over par score for 54 holes of 879. The win was LSU's third at the University Club in the 24-year spring tournament has been held on the Tigers' home course, but it was LSU's first in the event since 2001.
LSU's 879 ties for the fourth lowest 54 hole score in school history and the second lowest score LSU has shot this season. The Tigers posted a nine-over 873 in winning the opening Cougar Classic, sponsored by the College of Charleston in the fall.
The win was Coach's Karen Bahnsen's 28th team victory in her 21 years as the head coach of the Lady Tigers and it marked the first time since the 1996-97 season that LSU has won multiple tournaments during the season.
The Tigers final margin was 17 strokes ahead of 12th-ranked Tulane at 896 (302-297-297). The Green Wave was eight shots better than North Carolina State at 44-over 908 (303-301-304). Defending SEC champion Vanderbilt rounded out the top four at 50-over 914, one shot better than Mississippi State (915).
'I think the girls really handled themselves very well,' said Bahnsen of her team's focus. 'Again, they didn't focus on what they were trying to accomplish by winning. They stayed focused on playing the golf course and not trying to win. When you lose focus and start trying to win, that's when you do make mistakes. They did a good job of handling themselves mentally and emotionally, and they fought through it.'
Chris Brady of Vandy followed her second round 68 with a one-under 71 to finish at five-under par 211 for the 54-hole competition and a three-stroke win in the individual competition. Brady's 211 score ties for the second lowest ever shot in women's college tournament competition at the U-Club.
'Last year I played here at the SEC Championships and I came in fourth individually and (Vandy) won as a team. So, I hadn't won individually here. It's really exciting. I love the course and it's good to come back and win some more hardware,' Brady said.
Brady edged out freshman Rebecca Kuhn of Miami, who finished second at two-under par 214 (72-70-72). It was Kuhn's second consecutive top five finish, finishing fifth last week at South Carolina.
'With Rebecca playing as a freshman and coming in here and being able to handle herself in that position is really outstanding. She started off with a birdie on the first hole, and then she stumbled and had a couple of bogeys. She kind of got frustrated with herself, and then she was able to regroup and get her mind back on the right things. As a freshman to show that poise really says a lot. I think she's got a great future ahead of her. I'm just really proud of her,' said Bahnsen.
'It's hard being a freshman because you look at all of these people being so much older and maybe a little better than me. I'm just really proud of myself that I could accomplish this. This is my lowest score for three rounds ever, so I'm really proud of how I finished. I knew I was capable and it was just a matter of time before I was able to do this,' said Kuhn.
Alison Walshe of Tulane finished third at one-over 2317 and LSU senior Brooke Shelton had her third top 10 finish in the Cleveland Classic in four years, finishing in a tie for ninth at six-over 222.
There isn't much rest for the Lady Tigers as they will travel to Athens, Ga., for the Liz Murphey Intercollegiate which begins on Friday at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.
The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.
McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.
''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''
Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.
''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''
McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.
''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.
''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''
The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.
Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel
If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.
Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:
When in the Middle East... pic.twitter.com/lNv1Lh79E0— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 16, 2018
If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:
Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."
Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."
I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H
And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.
Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational
Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.
The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.
Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.
“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”
Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews
Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.
Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.