Gustafson Rides Career Best to the Top in Subaru

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 19, 2001, 5:00 pm
The winds were up Friday in Naples, Fla., and so too were the scores - with one notable exception. Sophie Gustafson fired a career best 8-under-par 64 to leapfrog overnight leader Mi Hyun Kim for the top spot entering weekend play at the Subaru Memorial of Naples.
The long hitting Swede carded six birdies and one eagle to move from four back as the day began into a two-shot lead at 12-under-par. Kim, who shot 64 on Thursday to grab the first-round lead, posted a 2-under-par 70 to move to 10-under for the tournament. The South Korean's lone mistake came on the first hole, her 10th of the day, where she three-putted for a double bogey.
Brandie Burton, who finished fifth at last week's YourLife Vitamins LPGA Classic, is in solo third place at 8-under following a second-round 69.
Six players are tie for fourth place at 7-under - Dottie Pepper (69), Meg Mallon (69), Pat Hurst (69), Heather Bowie (70), Jean Bartholomew (70) and Laura Diaz (70).
Karrie Webb (70), Beth Daniel (70) and defending champion Nancy Scranton (69) are among a group six off the pace, tied for 10th place.
With the breeze blowing in round two, only 42 players broke par at The Club at The Strand - down from 85 in the first round.
Gustafson began her second round with a pair of pars and then proceeded to torch the front nine. A two-time winner on Tour a year ago, the 27-year-old birdied the third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth holes. Only one of those birdies required a conversion of more than 10 feet.
At the par-5 11th, Gustafson took advantage of her length, hitting the green in two with an eight-iron. She then rolled in the 12-foot eagle putt to move to 11-under for the tournament. Her final birdie came courtesy of a 30-foot bomb at the par-4 13th.
Gustafson is coming off a banner season, in which she won the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez and the Weetabix Women's British Open. She also earned two-and-a-half points for the victorious European Solheim Cup Team.
Ranking sixth on Tour in driving distance in 2000, averaging 257 yards a pop, Gustafson says she welcomes the brisk conditions.
'It felt pretty comfortable for me. I like playing in the wind. It's more fun,' Gustafson said.
Kim was having fun on Friday until she made the turn. Three-under for her round and leading the tournament, Kim was forced to take a penalty stroke when her second to the par-5 1st hit a tree and landed in the marsh. Following a drop, she reached the green on her fourth shot, but three-putted for a double-bogey 7.
Thursday, putting proved to be Kim's best ally. Friday, it was her foe.
'I missed three short putts today, so I need to practice putting after this interview,' Kim told the media following her round.
'Last year, the greens were in better condition. This year, the greens have a lot of brown in them, so I think the ball will go fast, but I hit it and the ball goes slow.'
Despite her frustrations on the greens, as well as with the windy weather, the 5'1' Kim recorded four birdies to offset the double bogey. Her second-round 70 has the three-time LPGA winner at 10-under-par, just two back of Gustafson.
'I want to follow the lead instead of being the leader. We have two more days to go,' said Kim.
The cutline fell at even-par 144. Seventy players made the cut including 17-year-old LPGA rookie Catherine Cartwright, who has carded rounds of 70-73.
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Subaru Memorial of Naples!
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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm