Henderson tops Ko in playoff for first major

By Associated PressJune 13, 2016, 1:54 am

SAMMAMISH, Wash. - Brooke Henderson kept hearing the roar of fans echoing through the trees, leaving her to wonder what was happening elsewhere on the golf course.

By the end, all those roars were left just for her. And for good reason.

''The way the noise echoed here was really cool,'' Henderson said. ''I'd never experienced that before. ... And then a lot of those cheers ended up being for me, which was even cooler.''

Henderson won her first major title Sunday, beating top-ranked Lydia Ko with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff to win the KPMG Women's PGA Championship after overcoming a three-shot deficit on the back nine.

The 18-year-old Canadian, ranked No. 4 in the world, closed with a bogey-free 6-under 65 - the best round of the week at Sahalee Country Club - to match Ko at 6-under 278. Ko finished with a 67.

In the playoff on the par-4 18th, Henderson hit her second shot - a 7-iron from 155 yards - to 3 feet, while Ko's second from farther back in the fairway left her with 20 feet. Ko missed to the left, and Henderson tapped in to cap a week that started with a hole-in-one on her fourth hole Thursday and ended with a major championship.


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Henderson became the second-youngest winner in a major championship, with Ko the youngest last year in the Evian Championship in France. Henderson also is the second Canadian woman to win a major championship, following Sandra Post's victory in the 1968 event, and is projected to jump from fourth to second in the world on Monday. Her first victory came last year in Portland, Oregon.

''To think about all of the incredible players that have come before me,'' Henderson said. ''I was reading some of the names on this trophy and it's very, very cool.''

Ko was bidding to become the fifth player in tour history to win three straight majors. Most times a bogey-free round with four birdies would be enough.

''I'm happy with the way I played. I just got outplayed,'' the New Zealander said. ''For Brooke to shoot 65 on the final day at a major, at a course like this is very impressive.''

The final round was a display of nearly flawless golf from the best after players spent the first three rounds getting kicked around at difficult Sahalee. Henderson, Ko and third-place Ariya Jutanugarn played a combined 56 holes on the final day without a bogey. Jutanugarn, in search of a fourth straight victory, shot a 66 to finish a stroke back. The 20-year Thai player missed a birdie putt on the 18th that could have put her into the playoff.

But no one was better than Henderson, who was the first round leader after a 67 before shooting consecutive rounds of 73. Three times she saved par out of the bunker, although her best save came the first time she played the 18th. Henderson's tee shot found the trees right of the fairway, but she scrambled to make a 12-footer to finish out a back nine of 31.

That moment likely decided the tournament. While Henderson saved par on 18, Ko missed a 4-foot birdie try on the par-3 17th after a perfect tee shot.

''I'm not really sure if I pushed it,'' Ko said. ''I didn't feel like it was a bad stroke.''

Henderson began the day at even par, two strokes behind Ko. The Canadian pulled off the comeback with a perfect back nine after going out in 2 under. Henderson's 90-foot eagle putt from the front of the green at the 11th was just the third at the long par 5 all week and separated her from a large pack at 2 under.

''We needed to go on a birdie run or something so that sort of jump started us and we were able to keep going,'' said Brittany Henderson, her sister's caddie.

Ko answered with a birdie at the 11th, but Henderson drew another huge roar with a birdie at the 13th to stay one shot behind. Both continued to make pars until the 17th when Henderson pulled even by dropping a 35-foot birdie putt after pulling her tee shot to the wrong side of the green on the par 3.

But Henderson had one more birdie remaining that will only raise the expectations for the Canadian star.

''Looking forward to the rest of the summer. There's still three major championships left. I'd like to get my name on all three of those,'' Henderson said. ''But I won't get ahead of myself here.''

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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

 


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.