For Ko, Lewis, fortune and fortitude

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2014, 11:43 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko took home a fortune Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

Stacy Lewis was more than happy realizing the promise of a very special fortune cookie.

Ko, just 17, swept the big money prizes at Tiburon Golf Club, claiming the $1 million jackpot as winner of the season-long Race to the CME Globe and a $500,000 first-place check after winning the Tour Championship in a three-way playoff. Lewis swept the tour’s important awards, becoming the first American since Betsy King in 1993 to claim the Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy for low scoring and the official money title in the same season. 

Afterward, Lewis reached into her pocket, pulling out a fortune she dug out of a fortune cookie her father handed to her the night before, while they were watching her beloved Arkansas Razorbacks win.

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“I never really read into these things at all,” Lewis said. “But ...”

Lewis read the fortune: “Good news of a long awaited event will arrive soon.” She liked it so much she stuck it in her pocket before the final round Sunday.

“Pretty good omen,” Lewis said. “I thought that was pretty cool.”

Lewis claimed the Rolex Player of the Year Award for the second time in three seasons. She claimed the Vare Trophy for the second year in a row. She claimed the official money title for the first time.

“That's what I came here for,” Lewis said. “I went into the week wanting to win these three awards. The $1 million and all would've been nice, but I would take these three over $1 million any day.”

Lewis, 29, relished what the awards mean.

“The coolest part to me is I get to be on the trophies with some pretty amazing women, and be a part of history,” Lewis said. “I've said all along I don't play for the money. The money is nice, but that's not what I play for. I play to win tournaments and to play consistent golf. That's what these awards show, who plays the most consistent throughout the entire year.”

Ko made some big money, but she also made some history as well. She clinched youngest Rolex Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year before arriving this week. While the $1 million prize that comes with winning the Globe doesn’t count as official money, the $500,000 Tour Championship winner’s check does. It makes her the first rookie to win more than $2 million in a season.

“This is a pretty special week,” Ko said. “It’s a week I’ll never forget.”

Ko needed overtime to add to her remarkable resume, winning at the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff. She beat Carlota Ciganda with a par after Ciganda pulled her approach into a hazard and after Granada was eliminated when she missed a 5-foot putt for par at the second playoff hole.

Though Ko won’t turn 18 for another four months, she has now won five LPGA titles. It’s her third victory this season, equaling Lewis and Inbee Park for most this season.

At week’s start, Ko was staggered seeing $1 million stuffed into a glass cube. She thought the $16,603 she won in her professional debut here a year ago was a lot of money.

“When I saw that $1 million in the box, I was like, `Wow, I wonder who the winner of that will be?’” Ko said. “It's amazing. I've never seen that much cash in one place before.”

What’s she going to do with the $1.5 million total winnings? Ko says she would like to purchase an expensive purse that her mother has been eyeing, but she says she won’t be making any large purchase for herself.

Ko was thrilled at Sunday’s finish, Lewis relieved.

While winning the Globe and Tour Championship were nice frosting on a brilliant rookie year for Ko, Lewis desperately wanted to sweep those awards, prizes she seemed to have in hand until Park began pushing her hard the last couple months of the season. While Park was heating up at year’s end, Lewis was cooling off.

“I just feel like a ton of weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Lewis said.

Hall of Famer Beth Daniel followed Lewis around Sunday. She has been watching her from afar through this push at season’s end.

“I knew the last month her golf game wasn’t there,” Daniel said. “She gutted it out. I mean, it was a total gut-out. I told her when she walked off the 18th green here, that might have been the hardest round she’ll play her entire life.”

Meg Mallon, the four-time major championship winner, was there Sunday watching Lewis, too.

“It’s just a testament to her character that she kept fighting and didn’t give up,” Mallon said.

For Lewis and Ko, fortunes truly favored them.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.