Hull Wins ALPG Championship in Australia
The powerful 22-year-old carded rounds of 69, 69 and 70 in her own back yard to post 8 under par in the breezy conditions on the Sunshine Coast to finish three shots clear of Frenchwomen Gwladys Nocera (72) and Karine Icher (70) and Lynnette Brooky of New Zealand (68).
A shot further back were Lora Fairclough from England (70) Iben Tinning from Denmark (69), Cecilia Ekelundh from Sweden (72) and Sara Beautell from Spain, who had the best of the day 5-under 67.
Anne-Marie Knight, who led after each round and forged a one shot lead heading into the final round, was disappointed with a final round 76 and finished at 3 under par alongside compatriots Sarah-Jane Kenyon and Nadina Taylor and Englands Kirsty S. Taylor.
Hull, who won twice on the U.S. Futures Tour and now plays on the LPGA Tour, has a promising career ahead of her. Already she has posted five top 20s on the LPGA Tour in her rookie season last year and begins this season with a huge confidence boost after winning the first prize in a strong field ahead of next weeks ANZ Ladies Masters down the coast at Royal Pines.
Her 70 consisted of birdies at the second, seventh and 15th with her only dropped shot coming at the difficult fifth hole. But Hull sensed it might be her day when she saved par at the ninth hole after smothering her approach shot out of the thick rough.
I really scrambled well today, said Hull, who plans on playing a whopping 29 events on the LPGA Tour this season.
I wasnt as consistent as the last two days, but my short game was the key today and made up for it. The greens were much firmer and faster than the last two days, so it was tricky out there.
I holed a six foot par putt on the ninth and that was a clutch putt which got me into a good attitude for the back nine and I played the back nine well this week.
Its a very special victory for me. I dont know how many Australian events Ive played in and Ive never won yet and after coming second last week, that was bitter-sweet, but this week, its very sweet, especially in front of my family and friends who came out to support me.
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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.
Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.
As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.
Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.
This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.
The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.