Karlsson Stumbles Wins Wales Open
The Swede ended the tournament at 16-under-par 260. That was good enough for the tournament record. Miguel Angel Jimenez had set the old mark of 262 just last year.
Karlsson only needed to shoot even par in the final round to tie the European Tour record for lowest 72-hole score (258), but a balky putter was his undoing in the final round. He carded 32 putts in his final round
'It's nice, very nice, but it was a tough day today,' Karlsson admitted. 'There was a little bit more wind and it was not easy.'
He had established a tour record for lowest 54-hole score with a three-round total of 189. That total also bettered the tournament's 54-hole record by eight strokes.
Paul Broadhurst used a one-under 68, that included a birdie at the last, to end alone in second place at 13-under-par 263. Jose-Filipe Lima's 64 tied for the low round of the day. The five-under score moved him into third place at minus-12.
Eight-time Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie took fourth place at 11- under-par 265 after a final-round 67. Johan Skold and Phillip Archer were one stroke further back at minus-10 at the Roman Road Course at Celtic Manor Resort.
Karlsson ran in a 25-footer for birdie on the third, his fourth in four days on the par-five. However, three-putt bogeys on four and six dropped Karlsson to 17-under.
The 36-year-old two-putted for par on the next three holes. Karlsson left himself 30 feet for birdie at the 10th, but instead three-putted for the third time for bogey.
Karlsson knocked his second shot over the green on 12 and was unable to get up and down for par. That bogey dropped him to 15-under, three strokes clear of Lima. Karlsson began to rebound with an eight-foot birdie putt on 13.
'After 12 holes, I wasn't worried at all. I was just trying to do my own thing,' Karlsson said. 'Obviously, I was struggling with the putter. You get a little bit tentative when you're leading and you don't get the ball to the hole, which leads to three-putting. I loosened up a little when I birdied the 13th.'
He rolled in a seven-footer for birdie on 15, then got up and down for birdie from over the 16th green to get back to minus-18 overall and even par for his round.
Karlsson came up short of the green at 17 and pitched to eight feet. He missed that putt and also tripped to a bogey at the last, but held on for his sixth tour win.
'I did the same thing last time I won,' said Karlsson of his last win at the 2002 European Masters. 'I was leading by six with a couple holes to go and finished bogey-bogey. So I definitely have things to learn.'
With the win, Karlsson moves into the top-10 on the Ryder Cup points list. The last time he was this close, he finished 11th on the points list in 1999 and was passed over for a spot by then captain Mark James.
'It's a long time in the future, but it would a fantastic bonus if it happens,' Karlsson said of the possibility of making the Ryder Cup team. 'There are so many good players that have a shot at the team and there is a long way to go yet. It was heart-breaking not to make the '99 team, but I had to grow from there. I did win later on that year which was fantastic.'
Broadhurst entered the round at 12-under, but bogeys on three, five and 10 dropped him back to minus-nine. He recovered with birdies on 11 and 14. The Englishman birdied 16 and 18, both for the fourth day in a row, to claim second place.
Lima carded four birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. Three more birdies on the back nine got him within three at 12-under, but he could only par the final two holes.
Bradley Dredge matched Lima's 64 in the final round. That helped Dredge climb into a share of seventh place at nine-under-par 267. He was joined there by Henrik Nystrom, Gary Orr, Marcel Siem, Lee Slattery, Graeme Storm and Simon Dyson. Jyoti Randhawa and Anthony Wall were one shot further back at minus- eight.
Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME
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.
“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
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.
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
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 also one shot off 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 and Shanshan Feng 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
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.
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
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.''
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.''