Getty Images

Henderson wins sixth LPGA title in memory of Humboldt

By Associated PressApril 15, 2018, 4:29 am

KAPOLEI, Hawaii – For the final two days of the Lotte Championship, it was pretty clear that the only player who could beat Brooke Henderson was Brooke Henderson.

She wasn't about to let it happen Saturday at windy Ko Olina Golf Club, where she won by four shots. The Canadian was too talented, and she had some very important people to play for, dedicating her victory to the people involved in the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crash in Saskatchewan.

''It's extremely sad, a terrible tragedy what happened up there,'' Henderson said. ''I know it kind of affected my whole country. Everybody really took it kind of personally.

''For all the survivors that are still fighting through it and all the ones that have passed away, I want to show them that we're here for them and we're supporting them. They're always going to be in our thoughts and prayers.''

Henderson, who won't be 21 until September, won her sixth LPGA Tour title, leaving her just two short of Sandra Post for most wins by a Canadian player.

She collected $300,000, giving her nearly $500,000 this year and $4 million in her three-year career. Her final-round 3-under 69 left her at 12 under, four ahead of Azahara Munoz, whose 67 was the low round on a very difficult scoring day.


Full-field scores from the Lotte Championship


It was Munoz's best finish in more than four years. Henderson and sixth-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were the only other golfers to break 70 on a day that featured rain squalls and winds gusting to 30 mph.

''Crazy windy again'' said Henderson, who was third in greens in regulation (52 of 72) and sixth in driving distance (288.8) for the week. ''Just being able to adjust to it, kind of stay poised in it. Things aren't going to always go perfectly, but I felt like my ball striking was probably the best it's ever been.''

Jutanugarn tied for third, five back, with top-ranked Shanshan Feng (71) and third-ranked Inbee Park (72), who bogeyed the last two holes.

Henderson came into the week ranked 14th and in a comfort zone. She has never finished worse than 11th at Ko Olina.

At the halfway point, she was 10 under, bogey-free and two shots ahead. That stretched to five at the turn Friday, before putting problems brought the field back into it.

Henderson led by just one heading into the final day. She played the first 11 holes Saturday in 2 under to carve out a three-shot advantage, then faltered again. Her only bogey came on the 12th and she missed a short birdie putt at the next hole.

This time she recovered quickly, hitting driver-driver within 20 yards of the 14th green, then sinking a short birdie putt. She drained a 10-footer for another birdie one the 16th, where she four-putted Friday.

''Mentally I was in a great spot this week,'' Henderson said. ''I missed a couple putts, which you could argue that mentally I wasn't there because of a couple mishits, but I think to recover from that and kind of put it in the past and then go out and make some more birdies. And, being the leader since early Thursday, that does add a little of pressure.''

Munoz and Jutanugarn put together the only serious charges of the final round. Both came up a few holes short.

Munoz, who has struggled with illness injury the past few years, climbed 13 places the final day. She was two shots back after her fifth birdie of the day, at the 14th, but parred in.

Jutanugarn, from Thailand, secured her fifth Top 10 this year but couldn't get the eighth victory of her career. At the turn, the 2016 Player of the Year was 3 under and three back. She parred her final 11 holes.

Hawaii's Michelle Wie tied for 11th after shooting 71.

Getty Images

Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.


Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

Getty Images

Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

Getty Images

Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

"I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

Getty Images

Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.



Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.