13-year-old Thompson collects Girls Jr

By Usga News ServicesJuly 27, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGAWEST HARTFORD, Conn. ' Alexis Thompson defeated Karen Chung, 5 and 4, to claim U.S. Girls Junior on Sunday at Hartford Golf Club, becoming the second-youngest winner in the events 60-year history.

At 13 years, 5 months and 17 days, Thompson is only two months older than 1999 champion Aree Song Wongluekiet, who was 13 years, 3 months, 7 days. Chung, also 13, would have been nine days older than Wongluekiet.

This was also the first time two 13-year-olds had met in the championship.

The long-hitting Thompson, who last year was the youngest-ever qualifier for the U.S. Womens Open and youngest quarterfinalist in U.S. Womens Amateur history, used her superior length to eventually wear down Chung, a first-time U.S. Girls Junior participant competing in her first match-play competition.
Over the 32 holes, Thompson was the equivalent of two over par, with the usual match-play concessions, while Chung was six over, including bogeys on three of the last four holes.

Thompson owned a 2-up lead at the break and maintained that advantage through 27 holes. But a winning birdie on the 28th hole and two winning pars at holes 31 and 32 closed out the match 45 minutes before a major thunderstorm rolled through the area.

Thompson joins a long list of high-profile past U.S. Girls Junior champions that include Hall of Famers Mickey Wright, JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Amy Alcott and Nancy Lopez, along with reigning U.S. Womens Open champion Inbee Park and current LPGA players Kelli Kuehne, Pat Hurst, Julieta Granada and In-Kyung Kim.

Winning this is at the top [of my list] definitely, Thompson said. Just winning this is huge. Coming home with the trophy means a lot.

To reach the final, Chung survived the longest 18-hole match in the championships history during Saturdays semifinals when she held off Kristina Wong in a 26-hole marathon.
Chung played 80 holes in a 48-hour period prior to Sundays match, while Thompson needed only 64 holes in the same time frame. Chungs brilliant short game, which had carried her in the previous rounds, was a little off against Thompson, much of that she attributed to nerves.

I was really nervous today, said Chung, who took up the game three years ago. It was pretty tough out there today with all the wind [in the afternoon]. And Alexis hitting it like 50 yards beyond me on every hole.

It does get on my nerves watching a girl hit an iron from where I am holding my wood.

Even with the calm conditions in the morning, Thompson continuously hit her drives past Chung, yet the match remained close. The two players traded holes on the first nine before Thompson won three consecutive holes from No. 10 for a 2-up lead. She led by as many as three holes before losing the 17th with a bogey.

Thompson opened the afternoon round with a winning par at the 19th hole, only to see Chung roll in a 12-footer for her first birdie of the match at the par-4 20th hole. Two holes later, the lead was trimmed to one when Chung converted a 15-foot birdie and Thompson failed from 8 feet.

But all week, Thompson had used the par-5 ninth and 10th holes to her advantage, reaching the 500-yard ninth in two during Saturdays quarterfinals and semifinals. While she failed to birdie that hole in the final match, she did hit one of her best shots of the week at the 10th, the 28th of the match. Her tee shot sailed was pushed to the right underneath some trees and she was forced to punch out to the fairway. Facing a 197-yard shot into the wind, Thompson pulled out her 7-wood and knocked it to 12 feet to set up a winning birdie and a 3-up lead.

As the storm moved closer, the winds continued to increase, making it tougher on the shorter-hitting Chung. She failed to reach the 402-yard 13th hole in two and when her 25-foot par slid 4 feet past the hole, Thompson, who reached the green with an iron, calmly two-putted from 18 feet for a 4-up lead.

At the 389-yard, par-4 14th hole, Chung again failed to reach the green in regulation and missed a 6-foot par putt to extend the match. Thompson then clinched the title by holing a 3-footer for par.

My summer has gone really good so far, said Thompson. Im feeling really confident going into the [U.S. Womens] Amateur and the Westfield PGA and any other golf tournaments.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur
  • Getty Images

    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

    Getty Images

    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

    Getty Images

    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

    Getty Images

    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.