Ko, Park, Kerr all come up winners at Tour Champ.

By Associated PressNovember 22, 2015, 9:42 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Cristie Kerr was the player of the week. Lydia Ko was the Player of the Year. Inbee Park will be among the players of all-time.

And just as the LPGA intended, the season finale was brimming with drama until the very end.

Kerr won the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, taking command with a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th and finishing off her 18th career victory. But her $500,000 first prize almost seemed ancillary, given the stakes that Ko and Park were playing for this week.

Ko won the $1 million bonus for winning the Race to CME Globe, just as she did last year - this time adding Player of the Year honors to her resume as well. And Park clinched a trip to the LPGA Hall of Fame by winning the 2015 scoring title, the only step that remains between her and induction is completing her 10th season on tour next year, a prerequisite for eligibility.

''It's been a long season,'' Ko said. ''Up and down. Mostly ups.''

Kerr shot a 4-under 68 and finished at 17-under 271 for the week, one shot better than Gerina Piller of the U.S. and Ha Na Jang of South Korea. Lexi Thompson of the U.S. was fourth at 14 under. She and Paula Creamer doused Kerr moments after she tapped home a 2-footer to clinch the victory.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


France's Karine Icher was fifth at 13 under. Park was alone in sixth, good enough to beat Ko by three shots over the course of the entire season for the Vare Trophy and the 27th point she needed for her trip to the LPGA Hall.

''I said the Hall of Fame will be my last goal, but it really came early and I achieved pretty much everything I set so far in my career,'' Park said. ''There is plenty other goals to set.''

The pressure was obvious, all over the final back nine of the year.

Thompson had an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th, and never got it near the hole. Park missed a 2-footer for par on the 12th, then rallied with consecutive birdies. Stacy Lewis, one of three women who entered the week controlling their destiny in the $1 million race, gave her wedge a smack after needing two shots to escape a bunker at the 16th. Ko had a birdie try at 16 not long afterward, leaving it uncharacteristically short.

But in the end, Kerr, Park and Ko did enough to all come away with big prizes.

Kerr shot four rounds in the 60s, made a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 15 to tie for the lead, then the eagle at the 17th put her on top for good.

Park was second in the Globe chase, pocketing a $150,000 bonus. Thompson was third, taking home $100,000 in bonus money - though spent much of the afternoon in position to sweep both the $500,000 first prize and the $1 million bonus.

DIVOTS: Michelle Wie (67) tied for 32nd place at 285; the 2014 U.S. Women's Open champion ended a year in which she didn't have a top-10 finish. ... Sydnee Michaels shot 65, finishing tied for seventh and matching the best round of the week. ... Catriona Matthew aced the par-3 8th. ... The start of play was delayed an hour because of rain and another storm band crossed the course around 11 a.m., but the sun was out for the finish. ... Next season begins in the Bahamas on Jan. 28.

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: