Thompson excited to return home to family, Florida

By Randall MellNovember 18, 2013, 12:16 am

Lexi Thompson couldn’t have set up her homecoming more dramatically.

That’s what the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Titleholders will feel like in Naples, Fla., next week. It’s a homecoming celebration for the South Floridian and her gifted golfing family.

With her victory Sunday at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Thompson returns to her Florida roots next week for the only LPGA event in her home state. She will make the 90-minute drive across Alligator Alley from her Coral Springs, Fla., home knowing she’s leading a sizeable parade of family and friends who will be following her there.

Holding off Stacy Lewis in a dramatic back-nine duel Sunday at Guadalajara Country Club in Mexico, Thompson made plans for a family get together in Naples even more special. The win was the third of Thompson’s LPGA career, her second in six weeks. It also will vault her into the top 10 in the Rolex world rankings for the first time, bumping her over Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr as the second-highest ranked American behind Lewis.

“It feels amazing,” Thompson said in her post-tournament news conference. “I’ve worked extremely hard these last few years, especially on my short game and my putting. So, to see it pay off this week, it means a lot.”

Thompson, 18, made a significant putting change before winning the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in early October, and the results are something that ought to concern the game’s best players. These last two victories are a reaffirmation of the promise Thompson showed qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open when she was 12 and then winning the LPGA’s Navistar Classic when she was 16.

Earlier this year, Lewis said Thompson would be a force if her putting ever caught up to her ball striking. Thompson is a bomber, the most consistent long-hitting driver on tour. She is also a strong iron player, ranking ninth on tour in greens in regulation. Her putting, at times, seemed all that was holding her back until she changed her setup in September. She moved her ball position outside her target line, further away from her. That simple change is making a huge difference.

Notably, Thompson beat Lewis with a putt at the last on Sunday in Mexico.

All tied at the 18th hole, Lewis and Thompson were both looking at 5-foot birdie putts. Thompson made hers first, and then Lewis lipped out, giving Thompson a one-shot triumph over the top-ranked American in the game.

“I’m really disappointed,” Lewis said. “I gave that one to her. I had that one in my hands, and just didn’t get it done.”

Thompson started Sunday with a two-shot lead on Lewis, but Lewis caught her on the back nine. With three consecutive birdies, Lewis took a one-shot lead with four holes to play.

“Stacy is an amazing player,” Thompson said. “I knew she could make a run at me anytime during that round. I knew I had to make birdies on top of her because she gets on a roll, and she doesn’t stop. She’s an amazing player and played great today.”

Lewis bogeyed the 17th to drop into a tie with Thompson.

The Thompson family was planning to come together for the CME Group Titleholders long before Lexi won on Sunday. In fact, Thompson set it up for her brother, Curtis, 20, to be on her bag as her caddie for the week in Naples. He’s a standout at LSU. Lexi's oldest brother, Nicholas, 30, also plans to make the trip with his wife and their six-week old baby, Nico. Nicholas plays on the PGA Tour.

Thompson’s parents, Scott and Judy, will also be in town with grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be a fun event. I have so much family coming to see me and support me. That means so much.”

Thompson would like nothing better than to turn a homecoming into another victory party.

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.