Stupples Wins Womens British Open

By Sports NetworkAugust 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Weetabix WomenBERKSHIRE, England -- Karen Stupples roared from behind with an 8-under 64 on Sunday to win the Women's British Open by five strokes.
 
Stupples tournament total of 19-under-par 269 tied the tournament record on a par-72 course. Karrie Webb set the original mark in 1997 on this same venue, Sunningdale Golf Club. Stupples' total also matched the lowest score in an LPGA Tour major, which Dottie Pepper set in 1999 at the Nabisco Dinah Shore.
 
Rachel Teske, who shared the lead after three rounds with Heather Bowie, posted a 2-under 70 to end alone in second place at 14-under-par 274. Bowie managed a final round 71 to finish at minus-13, while 2003 LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year Lorena Ochoa closed with a 70 to come in at 12-under-par 276.
 
Stupples, who won the Welch's/Fry's Championship in March, started her round one stroke behind the leaders, but quickly erased that deficit. She opened with an eagle at the par-5 first.
 
The Englishwoman then holed her 5-iron second shot at the par-5 second for a double-eagle. Stupples quickly jumped into the lead at 16 under.
 
'I knew I needed to get off to a good start today,' said Stupples, who became the first Englishwoman to win a major since Alison Nicholas in 1997. 'I was really anticipating just birdie, birdie or something like that would have done quite nicely. On the second, it was just a nice yardage for me to hit and it was right on line all the way. Unfortunately I didn't see it go in the hole, but the cheer from the crowd was absolutely unbelievable and really could not come at a better time.'
 
Teske meanwhile was not going away quietly. She birdied the first and second to get to 14 under. Stupples dropped a stroke with a bogey at the par-4 sixth. Teske then tied her in the lead at minus-15 when she rolled in a birdie putt at the seventh.
 
Stupples moved back into the lead with a birdie at the 10th, but Teske matched that birdie to forge another tie at minus-16. The next few holes turned out to be the turning point in the tournament.
 
Stupples made it two in a row when she birdied the 11th. However, she tripped to a bogey on 12. Teske, with a chance to take advantage of Stupples' mistake, was unable to do any damage. She bogeyed the 12th as well to remain one behind Stupples.
 
The 30-year-old Stupples took over down the stretch. She rolled in a birdie putt at the 15th to get to 17 under. Teske dropped to 14 under with a bogey at the 15th.
 
'I knew when that went in, all of a sudden I had a three-shot lead, and then it was down to Rachel to try and catch up,' said Stupples of her birdie at the 15th. 'I had not really made too many mistakes over the tournament and I felt like I was really hitting the ball very well.'
 
It was all Stupples coming home. She drained another birdie putt at the 16th to move four shots clear of the field. Stupples capped a magical round with her third straight birdie at the 17th. She parred the last to match the tournament scoring mark.
 
'I was a little tentative,' Stupples said. 'I think it was some from Saturday creeping into today's round because I was trying to be too precise. I knew it was important for me to try and keep the pressure on Rachel and to make sure that I was in the lead.'
 
Stupples' best finish in a major prior to this win was a tie for ninth at the 2002 McDonald's LPGA Championship. Her best previous finish at this event was a tie for 12th last year.
 
Teske parred her final three holes to match her best showing in a major. She had previously tied for second at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2001.
 
'I started off well with two birdies on the first two holes and then birdied seven,' Teske said. 'I didn't have a taste for the putts too well on the back nine but hung in there and closed with some good shots on last three holes so that was good. Obviously, Karen's round, you couldn't ask for any better being British and being able to do it in your home Open. That would be a dream of all of us.'
 
Bowie got into the mix as she collected three birdies over her first 10 holes to climb to 15 under. However, she faltered to bogeys at the 12th and 16th to drop off the pace.
 
Michele Redman fired a 6-under 66 to climb to 11-under-par 277. She was joined in a tie for fifth by Giulia Sergas (67) and Beth Daniel (68).
 
Minea Blomqvist, who set the course record of 10-under 62 on Saturday, birdied her first two holes Sunday. From there she posted three bogeys, one birdie and a hole-out eagle at the par-4 ninth to finish at minus-10. She was tied there by Jung Yeon Lee and 1986 Women's British Open champion Laura Davies.
 
Annika Sorenstam, the 2003 champion, closed with a 1-under 71 as she carded four birdies and three bogeys. She finished in a tie for 13th at 8-under-par 280. Sorenstam was attempting to win her fourth separate major championship in back-to-back years, something only Mickey Wright has done.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Weetabix Women's British Open
  • Full Coverage - Weetabix Women's British Open
  • Getty Images

    Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

    Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

    That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

    Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

    From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

    Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

    She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

    She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

    “Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

    Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

    With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

    The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

    She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

    The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.

    Getty Images

    One & Done: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 5:55 pm

    Beginning in 2018, Golf Channel is offering a "One & Done" fantasy game alternative. Choose a golfer and add the salary they earn at the event to your season-long total - but know that once chosen, a player cannot be used again for the rest of the year.

    Log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to start your own league and make picks for this week's event.

    Here are some players to consider for One & Done picks this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Hudson Swafford returns as the defending champion:

    Zach Johnson. The two-time major champ has missed the cut here three years in a row. So why include him in One & Done consideration? Because the three years before that (2012-14) included three top-25s highlighted by a third-place finish, and his T-14 at the Sony Open last week was his fifth straight top-25 dating back to September.

    Bud Cauley. Cauley has yet to win on Tour, but that could very well change this year - even this week. Cauley ended up only two shots behind Swafford last year and tied for 14th the year prior, as four of his five career appearances have netted at least a top-40 finish. He opened the new season with a T-7 in Napa and closed out the fall with a T-8 at Sea Island.

    Adam Hadwin. Swafford left last year with the trophy, but it looked for much of the weekend like it would be Hadwin's tournament as he finished second despite shooting a 59 in the third round. Hadwin was also T-6 at this event in 2016 and now with a win under his belt last March he returns with some unfinished business.

    Charles Howell III. If you didn't use him last week at the Sony Open, this could be another good spot for the veteran who has four top-15 finishes over the last seven years at this event, highlighted by a playoff loss in 2013. His T-32 finish last week in Honolulu, while not spectacular, did include four sub-70 scores.

    David Lingmerth. Lingmerth was in that 2013 playoff with Howell (eventually won by Brian Gay), and he also lost here in overtimei to Jason Dufner in 2016. The Swede also cracked the top 25 here in 2015 and is making his first start since his wife, Megan, gave birth to the couple's first child in December. Beware the sleep-deprived golfer.

    Getty Images

    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

    Getty Images

    Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

    Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

    As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

    Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.