Jutanugarn, 17, making case for LPGA waiver

By Randall MellMay 3, 2013, 3:19 pm

There’s more at stake than just a victory for 17-year-old phenom Ariya Jutanugarn at the Kingsmill Championship this week.

Also hanging in the balance is the possibility of LPGA membership and the reunion of her Thai family.

Jutanugarn jumped out to a hot start Thursday, seizing the first-round lead with a 7-under-par 64. If she wins, she will almost surely petition the LPGA again to seek a waiver of the tour’s rule requiring a member be at least 18. There’s a two-year LPGA membership she can claim with a victory, but only if she’s granted a waiver of the tour’s age restriction. Jutanugarn doesn’t turn 18 until Nov. 23. She petitioned the LPGA last summer for a waiver so that she could go to LPGA Q-School with her 18-year-old sister, Moriya. Ariya was still 16 when she petitioned and was denied.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is on record saying he wants to see a 16- or 17-year-old win before considering granting a waiver. Given what Jutanugarn is already proving, the commissioner would be hard pressed to deny a second petition for a waiver should Jutanugarn win this week.

With the waiver’s denial, the family was temporarily split this year. Moriya, co-winner of LPGA’s Q-School, travels the LPGA with her mother. Ariya, who won the Ladies European Tour Q-School last winterm, travels the LET with her father.

“It was a little bit sad, because normally we aren’t separate,” Moriya told Golfchannel.com

Moriya leads the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year point standings.

Ariya leads the LET’s Order of Merit, where she won earlier this year. She also leads that tour in scoring.

In just three LPGA starts this year on two sponsor invites and one Monday qualifying berth, Ariya has finished second, third and fourth. She has earned $328,643. If she were a tour member, she would be eighth on the LPGA money list.

If Ariya were an LPGA member, she would lead the LET and the LPGA in scoring. Through 13 rounds, Ariya’s LPGA scoring average is 68.61. Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis came into this week leading the LPGA in scoring with 69.5 scoring averages.

If Ariya doesn’t win, a good finish won't bolster her bid to avoid Q-School and win LPGA membership next year. According to LPGA rules, a non-member can earn membership for 2014 by earning the equivalent of top 40 money by the end of this season. However, a player must be 18 for the non-member winnings to count. Also, only money won in events without a cut counts. Because Ariya isn't 18, the money she wins this year doesn't count toward top-40 equivalency money. Ariya will be eligible for Q-School late this year.

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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”

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Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:11 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.

He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.

Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.

“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”

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McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:06 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.

McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.

“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.

Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.

“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”

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DeChambeau comes up short: 'Hat’s off to Rory'

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 12:48 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Amid a leaderboard chock full of big names and major winners, the person that came closest to catching Rory McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational turned out to by Bryson DeChambeau.

While Henrik Stenson faltered and Justin Rose stalled out, it was DeChambeau that gave chase to McIlroy coming down the stretch at Bay Hill. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 were followed by an eagle out of the rough on No. 16, which brought him to within one shot of the lead.

But as DeChambeau surveyed his birdie putt from the fringe on the penultimate hole, McIlroy put an effective end to the proceedings with a closing birdie of his own to polish off a round of 64. DeChambeau needed a hole-out eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff, and instead made bogey.

That bogey ultimately didn’t have an effect on the final standings, as DeChambeau finished alone in second place at 15 under, three shots behind McIlroy after shooting a 4-under 68.

“I thought 15 under for sure would win today,” DeChambeau said. “Rory obviously played some incredible golf. I don’t know what he did on the last nine, but it was deep. I know that.”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

DeChambeau will collect $961,000 for his performance this week in Orlando, just $47,000 less than he got for winning the John Deere Classic in July. While he would have preferred to take McIlroy’s spot in the winner’s circle, DeChambeau was pleased with his effort in Sunday’s final pairing as he sets his sights on a return to the Masters.

“For him to shoot 64 in the final round, that’s just, hat’s off to him, literally. I can’t do anything about that,” DeChambeau said. “I played some great golf, had some great up-and-downs, made a couple key putts coming down the stretch, and there’s not really much more I can do about it. My hat’s off to Rory, and he played fantastic.”