Matthew Goes Wire-to-Wire for First Victory

By Sports NetworkFebruary 17, 2001, 5:00 pm
Scotland's Catriona Matthew shot a final-round 72 Saturday to capture the LPGA Hawaiian Ladies Open by three strokes over Annika Sorenstam. Matthew, who posted a total of six-under-par 210 for the 54-hole event, led from start to finish in winning her first title since joining the LPGA Tour in 1995.
Matthew comments on her Hawaiian Open win.
'It's a dream come true. It's amazing,' said Matthew, who collected the first-place check for $112,500. 'I think it hasn't sunk in yet. Ever since I've been out here, I'm trying to win every week. It feels great at last to manage to do it.'
Nancy Scranton, who was tied for the lead with Matthew early on the back nine, was within a stroke with two holes to play but double- bogeyed the 17th hole to fall out of contention. She went on to bogey the last for a two-over 74 and a share of third place at minus-two.
Sorenstam, who also was the runner-up at last week's Takefuji Classic, closed with a two-under 70 to finish alone in second at three-under 213. The 23-time winner pulled to within two strokes of the lead on the front nine Saturday but was never a real threat to Matthew.
'I think I played some good golf,' said Sorenstam, who along with the rest of the field had to contend with howling winds at Kapolei Golf Course, where just eight players broke par for the week. 'It was tough with the wind. Today wasn't as windy, but on some holes it was just tough to tell.'
Matthew had a three-shot lead at seven-under early on Saturday with a birdie at the fourth hole. However, bogeys for Matthew at the sixth and eighth holes together with Scranton's birdie at the seventh saw the pair make the turn tied at five-under par.
Although Matthew missed the fairway with her drive at the par- four 11th, she hit a seven-iron out of the rough from 142 yards out and her ball found the bottom of the cup for an eagle and a lead she wouldn't surrender.
'It's obviously a boost when something like that happens,' Matthew said. 'You start to wonder if it's your week.'
Matthew was tested down the stretch. She hit her tee shot into a bunker at 13 and wound up rolling in a 10-footer to save par. She then posted a bogey at 15 to drop back to six-under when she failed to get up and down after missing the green.
Scranton, only one shot back with two holes remaining, landed in a fairway bunker at the par-five 17th. She played her second shot out to about 100 yards short of the green but flew her approach into the back bunker. From there she blasted out over the green and into a trap on the opposite side. Scranton finally found the putting surface with her fifth shot and two-putted for a double-bogey seven.
Scranton landed her approach pin high at the 18th, but her ball rolled off the back of the green. She chipped and two-putted to close with a bogey.
Danielle Ammaccapane (69) and Wendy Ward (73) finished tied with Scranton at two-under 214.
Michelle McGann (70), Leslie Spalding (70) and Michele Redman (71) were together in sixth place at one-under par. Karrie Webb rounded out the top-10 with five others at even-par 216.
Defending champion Betsy King posted rounds of 75-74-81 to tie for the last spot at 76th.
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open!
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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 25, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Hahn jabs USGA over possible ball rollback

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 4:43 pm

As debate continues to heat up over possible sweeping changes to the golf ball amid distance concerns, PGA Tour pro James Hahn chimed in to question the merits of a potential rollback.

The ball and distance debate gained traction earlier this week when Jack Nicklaus offered that the ball should be rolled back to the approximate distances achieved in 1995, and he put blame for the current situation squarely at the feet of Titleist. That drew a response from former Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who put the onus back on the governing bodies.

It's an issue that will likely be discussed for months to come, but Hahn took to Twitter to throw a jab toward the USGA and play devil's advocate on some key arguments related to a possible rollback:

Hahn, who has two career PGA Tour wins and lost in a playoff last month at the Sony Open, ranks 55th on Tour this season in driving distance with an average of 301.2 yards off the tee.

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Na fires back over slow play criticism from cricketer

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 4:00 pm

Kevin Na fired back over recent criticism he received about his purported slow play at last week's Genesis Open.

Kevin Pietersen is a retired English cricketer with more than 3.6 million followers on Twitter. He tweeted a video of Na, known as one of the slower players on the PGA Tour, taking more than a minute to line up and hit what he described as a "Tap In" during the final round at Riviera:

He then added another video of himself on a green in Dubai, where he again called out Na and showed how long he believed it should take for a player to brush in a short putt:

Na has faced his fair share of slow play criticism, but this time he decided to defend himself. Na isn't on Twitter, but he took to Instagram to tell Pietersen to "stick to your own sport," pointing out both the length of the putt in question and the stakes that were involved during the final round, when Na went on to tie for second behind Bubba Watson:

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Pepperell wins his first European Tour title in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2018, 3:31 pm

DOHA, Qatar - Eddie Pepperell survived a tense finish to win the Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club on Sunday for his maiden European Tour title.

The 27-year-old Englishman held off a spirited challenge from compatriot Oliver Fisher, who needed a third successive birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff, but had his putt from six feet slip past the hole for a par.

Pepperell shot a 2-under-par 70 for a four-day tally of 18 under 270, while Fisher, who started the day tied for the lead, could only manage a 71.

Sweden's Marcus Kinhult (68) finished third at 16-under.

The No. 154-ranked Pepperell made things difficult for himself with a bogey on the 15th hole, but hit a superb wedge to three feet on the next to get back to 18 under again.

Fisher, who appeared to have fallen out of contention with three bogeys starting on the third hole, stormed back with birdies on the 14th, 16th and 17th holes.

On the last, Pepperell laid up with his second into the thick rough, made wet and unwieldy by rain in the Qatar capital, but found the green in three and two-putted for the win when Fisher missed his birdie putt.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

''I did the things I needed to do, I didn't play fantastic but I won ugly and for the first win to be ugly is good. Hopefully, I'll have some prettier ones in the future,'' said Pepperell.

''I knew I was playing well, especially tee to green, so I expected a lot of myself this week and I guess to pull it off is amazing. When Oli birdied the 17th, that was when it really caught up with me that I was only one ahead. I was in my own zone, I knew I had a couple of shots of lead but Oli did great. It was a tough front nine for him and I had to stay right in my own way and out of the two guys' way because they were struggling a bit and it's sometimes easy to get dragged into that.''

Fisher was disappointed, but saw the silver lining in the way he fought back.

''It went all the way to the last hole which, after my front nine, was what I was hoping for on the back nine,'' said Fisher, who won the 2011 Czech Open, but recorded his first top-three finish since the 2014 Africa Open.

''I hit a lot of good shots coming down the back nine and gave myself a lot of good chances, but there were just too many bogeys today, four in total, so you're never going to win a tournament making that many mistakes on a Sunday. But at least I pressed him all the way.''

Italian Renato Paratore (66) had the low round of the day and finished tied for fourth place at 15 under par, where he was joined by the Spanish pair of Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Pablo Larrazabal along with Gregory Havret of France.