Park wins LPGA Titleholders; Creamer second

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2011, 10:18 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – If the players in hot pursuit of Hee Young Park were waiting for her to stumble, she wasn’t about to oblige.

Winless in her four LPGA seasons, Park broke through Sunday at the CME Group Titleholders, winning in her 106th start on the tour.

She did it holding off some of the biggest names in women’s golf and holding on through some of the most difficult holes in the women’s game.

At one point on the back nine at Grand Cypress Resort, the top 13 players on the leaderboard all had LPGA victories on their resumes, except for Park.

The posse of a dozen champions chasing Park had accounted for 86 LPGA titles, 14 of them major championships.

Paula Creamer, Sandra Gal, Na Yeon Choi, world No. 1 Yani Tseng and No. 2 Suzann Pettersen were all breathing down Park’s neck at day’s start.

It only made winning that much more meaningful in the LPGA’s season-ending event.

“It’s a dream come true,” Park said.

With a 2-under-par 70, Park closed nearly mistake free, claiming the $500,000 first-place check, the second largest in women’s golf, topped only by the U.S. Women’s Open top prize.

At 9-under 279, Park finished two shots ahead of Gal (72) and Creamer (70) and three ahead of Choi (70) and Pettersen (72).

“That’s awesome playing, especially in these conditions, when there are a lot of top players, battling, trying to get up there,” Creamer said.

Tseng closed with a 74 to finish seven back.

Park, 24, is just the third South Korean to win this year, an off year for that national powerhouse. Park acknowledged she felt some pressure to join her fellow countrywomen as an LPGA winner.

Nicknamed “Rocket” for her ability to make birdies in bursts, Park’s ascent in the United States wasn’t as rapid as expected. She was the Korean LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2005. She won six times in Korea, and she was so highly regarded there that her fellow tour pro voted her swing the best on tour. She grew up playing against Jiyai Shin and Na Yeon Choi and much was expected of her when she qualified for the American tour before the 2008 season.

Asked if she felt any pressure to win, Park nodded: “Yes, from my sponsors.”

Creamer found out Saturday why they call Park “Rocket.” 

“I played with Hee Young yesterday, and at the end, I was like, `Wow, where did all those birdies come from,’” Creamer said. “She deserves this.”

Park started the day tied for the lead with Gal and briefly stumbled at the fourth hole, making bogey and allowing Gal to go ahead by a shot. Park answered strongly with one of her rocket blasts, making three birdies over the next four holes to take control of the championship. She finished off the victory with 10 consecutive pars.

“I still cannot believe it,” Park said.

She has the entire off season to let the victory sink in.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.