Lexi catches fire and makes another major move

By Randall MellAugust 4, 2017, 4:02 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Lexi Thompson isn’t looking in the rearview mirror.

Yes, she says, the crushing blow she experienced losing the ANA Inspiration last spring made her even more determined to win a major championship, but she doesn’t like going back there in her head, for motivation or for anything else.

“It’s definitely made me more determined than ever, but I've been such a determined person in general, any time I tee it up out there to win,” Thompson said.

After a sluggish start Friday, Thompson caught fire on the back nine at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, making five consecutive birdies to shoot 4-under-par 68. She grabbed a share of the second-round lead with England’s Georgia Hall (67) through the morning wave.

After Thompson’s round, a British reporter followed up a question about how determined the controversial ANA Inspiration loss made her with a question about whether winning this week would bring redemption.

“I'm not too sure,” Thompson said. “I don't really have any comments about that tournament anymore. I'm just going to focus on one shot at a time on this weekend and see where it goes.”

Thompson doesn’t like going back to Rancho Mirage in her memory, doesn’t like the feelings it brings back. She has made that clear, but the strength shown if she bounces back to claim a major this year might rank as the top story in women’s golf in 2017, as one of the top stories in all of golf. The story includes all the emotions Thompson has felt watching her mother, Judy, go through treatment for uterine cancer in late spring and early summer.

Thompson made a statement about her golf, winning the Kingsmill Championship in May, a little more than a month after that controversial four-shot penalty cost her the ANA Inspiration.

Thompson was asked at Kingsmill what conscious plan she put in place to bounce back from the ANA.

“I went straight home, and I was golfing the next day, if not the day after,” she said. “I was so determined just to keep on working on my game, because I knew that [the ANA] was the best golf I have ever played. I just couldn’t let it get to me.”

And she added one more thing about rebounding after the year’s first major.

“I’m so over it,” she said. “It’s unfortunate what happened, but it’s time to move on.”


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In four her last nine starts, Thompson has a victory and four second-place finishes.

There was also some bounce back in Friday’s round.

After a couple front-nine bogeys and making the turn in 38, Thompson caught fire. She ran off five consecutive birdies beginning at the 10th hole.

A personal record run of birdies, perhaps?

“I would say that's probably it,” Thompson said. “No others kind of come to mind.

“Once you get on that kind of streak, you really don't think about it. I was just hitting it pretty well there, so I was just aiming at pins and going for it and made a few good putts.”

Though she has put herself in contention almost every time she has teed it up the last three months, Thompson hasn’t closed the deal in all of them.
After taking a four-shot lead coming home in the final round at the Manulife Classic, Thompson bogeyed four of the final seven holes before losing to Ariya Jutanugarn in a playoff.

Thompson had the lead again going into the final round of the Meijer Classic in her very next start, but Brooke Henderson overtook her to win.

Overall, Thompson has converted just one of her last five 36-hole leads and one of her last six 54-hole leads.

Still, Thompson has been consistently putting up the best scores in the women’s game this year. Her 68.94 scoring average leads the LPGA. Her 68 Friday was her sixth consecutive round in the 60s.

Notably, Thompson has some extra inspiration coming from her family. Her older brother, Nicholas, shot 63 to grab the first-round lead at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic.

Lexi grew up competing with older brothers Nicholas and Curtis in some spirited matches in Coral Springs, Fla., where they lived on the course at the TPC at Eagle Trace.

“Any time we can all get together at home in very competitive matches, it's pretty intense,” Thompson said.

Plus, Thompson is continuing to get some special help at Kingsbarns. Her caddie, Kevin McAlpine, is a former Scottish Amateur champion. He caddied for four summers at Kingsbarns.

“It's great to have that local knowledge,” Thompson said.

And the edge that gives.

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 GolfChannel.com 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.