Hamilton Edges Love for Honda Win

By Sports NetworkMarch 14, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Todd Hamilton, a 38-year-old PGA Tour rookie, birdied the final two holes Sunday to win the Honda Classic by one stroke over Davis Love III. Hamilton finished the event at 12-under-par 276 for his maiden win.
'This is a dream come true. It's very satisfying,' said Hamilton, who became the eighth player to earn his first tour win at this event. 'There are probably a lot of other golfers who deserve it talent-wise to win this, but I can guarantee you that there is no one that'll appreciate it more than me.'
Love, who briefly took the lead with a birdie at the par-5 17th, closed the event with a 3-under 69. He ends at minus-11 and in second place for the second straight year at this event.
Brian Bateman used a Sunday-best 4-under 68 to move into third at 10-under-par 278. He held a share of the lead before Love and Hamilton finished with their late birdies.
Hamilton, a four-time winner on the Japan PGA Tour last season, three-putted for bogey at the par-4 13th to fall into a share of first with Bateman, who in the clubhouse, and Love.
Love, playing three groups ahead of Hamilton, the overnight leader, two-putted for par at the 16th. Love, an 18-time winner on the PGA Tour, then knocked his second shot just off the green at the par-5 17th.
From the collection area next to the green, Love putted his third within three feet of the cup. He kicked that in for birdie to get to minus-11 and a one- shot lead.
Love missed the green, again right, at the last and pitched his third to four feet. He tapped in for his par to finish at minus-11.
Hamilton, meanwhile, two-putted for par on the 14th and got up-and-down for par at the very next hole. The University of Oklahoma graduate again two-putted for par at No. 16 on the Sunrise Course at Country Club of Mirasol.
His 6-iron to the 17th came up short and right of the green. Hamilton, like Love, chose to putt through the collection area. He knocked his third to nine feet and then calmly rolled that in for birdie to join Love at minus-11.
Hamilton found the fairway off the 18th tee. Standing 164 yards from the cup, he dropped his second within three feet of the hole and sank that short birdie putt for the win.
'I was just trying to hit it on the front third of the green at the last and at least give myself a chance,' said Hamilton, who earned $900,000 for the win. 'I had a pretty good yardage and hit an 8-iron in there. I had a good feeling from birdieing No. 18 Saturday, so I just tried to picture that shot and luckily I pulled it off.'
Things did not start well for Hamilton. He bogeyed the second and fifth to fall back to 12-under and dropped another shot at the par-4 ninth.
'I played really well the first three days, then kind of struggled today for a long time, but low and behold I found a couple of birdies at the end,' Hamilton said. 'It's a crazy game. I thought I hit a lot of good shots early, and ended up making bogeys. I hit a lot of goofy shots in the middle and made pars. I don't know how I did it, but I found two birdies at the end.'
Love climbed into position with back-to-back birdies from the fifth. After a bogey at the eighth, Love returned to minus-10 with a birdie at the ninth. He parred seven straight holes before birdieing the 17th.
'I knew I had to make birdies, but just wasn't hitting it close enough to make them,' said Love, who tied for second place last year behind Justin Leonard. 'I was disappointed with my drive (on No. 18). I kind of flared it out there. I miss that green to the right it seems like every time.'
Bateman birdied the second and third. He then bogeyed the fourth and double- bogeyed the fifth but responded with a birdie at the seventh. On the back side, Bateman birdied four of six holes from the 12th to leap to 10 under.
'I had no idea where I stood,' Bateman admitted afterwards. 'I got off to a good start and made a couple of birdies and had a hiccup in the middle of my round. I made a good birdie on No. 7 and played the back nine pretty strong.'
Kevin Na, the youngest player on the PGA Tour, closed with a 3-under 69. He finished the event tied for fourth place at 9-under-par 279 with Woody Austin (70), Fredrik Jacobson (73) and Robert Allenby (70).
Brad Faxon ended one stroke further back at minus-8 after closing with a 2-under 70. Leonard, the 2003 champion, closed with a 1-under 71 to end the tournament at 4-under-par 284 in a tie for 25th.
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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

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    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''