Park comes back to top Lincicome in LPGA playoff

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2014, 1:15 am

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Inbee Park’s putter trumped Brittany Lincicome’s driver.

The old adage that you drive for show and putt for dough was powerfully on display Sunday during the final staging of the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

With Lincicome overpowering Monroe Golf Club with her driver all week, Park successfully defended her title stealing the final scenes with the smallest club in the bag. Park won the way she always wins. She won making more clutch putts than everyone else.

Two shots down with two holes to play, Park ultimately prevailed in a sudden-death playoff, defeating Lincicome with a par on the first extra hole. It’s the fifth major championship title of her career, her fourth over the last two seasons.

“It definitely feels like a big honor, to actually put my name on the trophy twice, and obviously to defend my title,” Park said.

Park, 26, won her first LPGA Championship in a playoff last year. She beat Catriona Matthew at Locust Hill. She lost in a playoff last week, beaten by Mirim Lee at the Meijer Classic.

“It’s almost like I’m getting used to being in playoffs,” Park said. “I’ve been in a lot of playoffs. I felt more comfortable.”

This farewell event, the last to be staged in the Rochester area after a 38-year run here, was bound to end in tears, but they were harder to wipe away for Lincicome, who seemed to have this championship in hand coming down the stretch. She gave the golf-loving fans here more golf than they expected, and more drama and bonus action than she would have liked.

“I just need to learn how to control the nerves a little bit more,” Lincicome said. “I was really, really nervous coming down the stretch, especially the 18th hole and then the playoff.”

Wegmans LPGA Championship: Articles, videos and photos

Sitting back in the 18th fairway at the end of regulation, Lincicome watched Park coolly hole a 12-foot putt to save par. Park wouldn’t go away on the back nine. She holed an 18-foot birdie at the 17th to pull within a shot.

In the end, Lincicome, 28, confessed nerves were a large factor in her bid to win her sixth LPGA title, her second major. She’s been winless for the last three years.

Needing a par at the 72nd hole to win, Lincicome slightly tugged a 6-iron just off the left side of the green, on the fringe, leaving herself a birdie putt of 30 feet. She made a poor stroke there, sending a groan through the bleachers when she left the putt 8 feet short, setting up her closing bogey.

“I was shaking like a leaf,” Lincicome said. “It’s hard to do anything when you’re shaking.”

It probably didn’t help that Lincicome had a long wait before she got to make that first putt at the 18th at the end of regulation. She had to wait for Suzann Pettersen to sort out a drop in the rough by the grandstand before she could play.

“It did take forever, but I think it was actually giving me time to kind of calm down,” Lincicome said. “I had my caddie go get me water, and I took a couple of sips, took some extra practice strokes. It was more just the lie. It was up against the collar of some thick rough. Most times, with those putts, you either blow it by, or you leave it way short. Unfortunately, I left it short.”

All week long, Lincicome shrunk the course, launching towering drives at every turn to take control of this event. In the end, her short game betrayed her.

The playoff came down to that.

Both Lincicome and Park missed the 18th green on the first extra hole. Park chipped out of some deep rough to 3 feet. Lincicome ran her chip 6 feet past the hole.

After Lincicome’s putt for par grazed the left edge of the cup, Park was a sure thing from 3 feet.

“Today, overall, I just felt so comfortable,” Park said. “I felt like it was just the third round, almost. I just felt no nerves.”

Park said her nerves kicked in before the playoff began, but she settled herself quickly.

“I flashed back to how I won last year in a playoff,” Park said.

Lincicome was nearly flawless with her driver Sunday, hitting every fairway she looked at with it. Her short game, though, was also an issue early on the back nine.

Three shots up at the 12th tee, one of the par 5s she had dominated all week, Lincicome hit her second shot into the grassy face above a front, greenside bunker. She barely popped her ball up over the face, leaving herself in light rough at green’s edge. She chunked a chip out of it, setting up a bogey. She was 12 under on the par 5s all week, and that was her only bogey at a par 5.

For Park, it was sweet winning another major after losing a two-shot lead on the back nine at the Ricoh Women’s British Open last month. It was sweet following up her terrific run in the majors last year with her first major championship title this year.

“I think this year was always going to be a tough year, after having such a great year last year, and trying to match that this year, and match the expectations I had last year,” Park said. “I feel like, so far this season, I've really handled myself well in this position. It feels like I've played some good golf.”

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Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

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Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.

Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic

''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

That forced him to think differently for the back nine and he was rewarded with three birdies.

''It was quite funny really,'' Southgate said. ''We birdied the ninth and I walked off and said to my caddie Gary ... 'We've just shot level par, so let's just pretend that we've made nine solid pars and that we haven't holed a putt and haven't made a birdie. Let's just start again on the 10th'.''

The 32-year-old Guerrier started his round with a monster 48-foot birdie putt and had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

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J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

Australian golfer Hannah Green moved into second place after the round of the day, a 66.

Green, 21, is seeking to become the first Australian to claim her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Webb, who is playing a part-time schedule in 2018, missed the cut Friday by one stroke.

Green birdied her first three holes on Saturday and then added two more on the eighth and ninth. Two more birdies followed on the back nine with her only dropped shot a bogey on the 17th.

Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

"I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

"It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut, but I know she has got different plans."

South Korea's Hyejin Choi (70), was tied for third, five strokes behind. Australia's top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee was tied for fifth after a 69, six off the lead.

Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot a 71 and was eight strokes behind.

"It's always nice to be able to start the season on a good note, and I've obviously got tomorrow," Lydia Ko said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to finish off on a high note."

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Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

They were at 7-under 135.

Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue. He had three holes remaining in his second round. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole for a 68 and was one shot behind at 136.

Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.

Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos

Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

''All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence,'' McDowell said.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.