Lewis holds off Lexi's charge to win

By Associated PressApril 29, 2012, 10:30 pm

MOBILE, Ala. – Stacy Lewis sweated out a win that came down to the last pressurized putt in a day full of them.

Lexi Thompson, meanwhile, was at her poised best – not her worst – on a Sunday in Mobile.

Lewis outlasted the rising teenager to win the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic by one stroke for her second LPGA Tour title in a round that supplied a measure of vindication for both.

Lewis, five strokes ahead early in the day, reclaimed the edge with a birdie on No. 16, while the 17-year-old Thompson parred the final hole and had to wait.

Lewis parred out. Her week was so solid that her finishing 3-under 69 was her worst round en route to a 17-under 271 total on The Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove, part of the Robert Trent Jones Trail. The former Arkansas star also won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

''I'm getting more comfortable in this situation,'' said Lewis, who earned $187,500. ''I think that's a lot of it, and it's definitely been coming. I lost in a playoff in Australia, so I knew I was due.''

She has five top 10s in eight events this year, including a tie for second in the Women's Australian Open.

Thompson made her earn it, and found redemption from her final-round fall in Mobile a year ago. She didn't flinch under the pressure given a second shot, closing with rounds of 66 and 65, tying her career low in a bogey-free round.

''l wouldn't take last year's Sunday round back for anything, because I learned so much from that,'' said Thompson, whose closing 78 last season dropped her from a share of the lead to 19th. ''I knew what not to do and how to prepare for it. It was a really big learning experience for me.''

Thompson said she didn't check out the scores coming onto No. 18. ''I looked away,'' she said.

Here's what she missed: Lewis secured the win with a two-putt par from the edge of the green, which she said was pretty standard for the 402-yard par 5.

''I knew it was going to be a hard two-putt no matter where I hit it,'' she said. ''

Karine Icher of France closed with a 68 to finish third, two strokes back.

It ended up as a duel of two young Americans, though.

Thompson signaled that this one would be different from 2011 with a long chip-in for birdie on the par-3 second hole.

''That got me going a little bit, but just positive thoughts the whole day,'' she said.

Thompson was seeking her second straight Alabama win after becoming the youngest LPGA Tour winner in September at the Navistar LPGA Classic. She got her tour card a few weeks later.

Thompson signed autographs, while Lewis strolled toward the green and said she didn't ''see any of her 18th hole. I just saw that she had a tap-in to win.''

She exorcised one demon by making her second straight birdie on No. 14, where she made a double bogey a year earlier after her ball went into the water.

''I wasn't going to make that mistake again,'' Thompson said.

Lewis raised both arms after sinking her short clinching putt, more relieved than exuberant in the moment.

''It was just a really stressful day,'' she said. ''I'm glad I didn't have to play in a playoff, because I was exhausted. It was just total relief.''

Lewis spent her teen years in a back brace with scoliosis, then had surgery that corrected her spine with five screws and a steel rod.

She birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 17 each of the past two days, when she was a combined 9 under on the back nine.

Her approach shot on No. 15 hooked left and rolled downhill into the water. She took a drop and two-putted for bogey to lose the outright lead, but got the stroke back on the next hole.

''Probably the shot of the week for me was my chip shot on 16,'' Lewis said. ''You could probably put 10 balls there and maybe get four or five of them up and down. To hit the shot I did under the pressure was huge.''

Lewis birdied the first two holes to open a five-stroke lead over five players bunched at 11 under. She had nothing but pars and one bogey on those holes through three days.

Se Ri Pak had the previous low score in the tournament's first three years at 13 under in 2010.

Five players finished just one stroke off that pace: Azahara Munoz, U.S. Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu, Karrie Webb, Sun Young Yoo and Brittany Lincicome. Ryu moved to 13 under before a triple bogey on No. 15.

Getty Images

Tee times, TV schedule, stats for The Northern Trust

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2018, 10:20 pm

It's the first tournament of the FedExCup Playoffs and the top 125 on the season-long points list are battling it out to see who will move on to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for The Northern Trust. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; Click here for live stream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; Click here for live stream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; Click here for live stream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, Noon-1:45PM ET; Click here for live stream; CBS, 2-6 p.m.


Purse: $9 million ($1.62 million to winner)

Course: Course: Ridgewood Country Club (par 71, 7,319 yards)

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson (Defeated Jordan Spieth with a birdie on the first playoff hole at Glen Oaks Club)

Notable tee times (all times ET)

• 7:54 a.m. Thursday, 12:55 p.m. Friday: Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman, Tommy Fleetwood

• 8:05 a.m. Thursday, 1:06 p.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka

• 8:16 a.m. Thursday, 1:17 p.m. Friday: Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau

• 12:44 p.m. Thursday, 7:43 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Beau Hossler, Byeong-Hun An

• 12:55 p.m. Thursday, 7:54 a.m. Friday: Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau

Key stats:

The top 100 players in FedExCup points after The Northern Trust advance to the Dell Technologies Championship.

• The field includes 120 of the top 125 in this season’s FedExCup – all except No. 17 Rickie Fowler, No. 21 Rory McIlroy, No. 50 Henrik Stenson, No. 93 Patrick Rodgers and No. 122 Bud Cauley.

• 2007 and 2009 FedExCup champion Tiger Woods is making his first appearance in the FedExCup Playoffs since 2013. Although he has won each of the other three playoff events, he has never won The Northern Trust.

• In the 11 years that this event has been part of the FedExCup Playoffs, the winner has gone on to capture the FedExCup just once - Vijay Singh in 2008.

• The defending champion is Dustin Johnson. Ernie Els (1996-1997) is the only player to successfully defend his title.

• Jordan Spieth finished runner-up last year. Three runners-up have gone on to win the next year - Seve Ballesteros (1987-1988), Dennis Paulson (1999-2000), and Padraig Harrington

(2004-2005).

• The course record in this event at Ridgewood Country Club is 62 by Hunter Mahan in the first round in 2008. The tournament record for 18 holes is 61 by Brandt Snedeker in the final round in 2011 at Plainfield Country Club.

(Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit)

Getty Images

Na holding out hope for Ryder Cup captain's pick

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:22 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – There are no shortage of goals for players as the PGA Tour reaches the final month of the season, and how players prioritize those accomplishments depends on individual motivations.

For example, coming into the season Kevin Na’s primary goal was to win a Tour event, which he accomplished last month at the Greenbrier. After that, things get interesting.

“I think win, No. 1. Ryder Cup, No. 2. Tour Championship, No. 3,” he said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust.

Na is currently 19th on the FedExCup point list, which gives him a good chance to qualify for the season finale, which comes with an invitation to three of next year’s four majors. The more pressing concern would be this year’s Ryder Cup.


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


Na finish 18th on the U.S. Ryder Cup point list and he would likely need to do something extraordinary the next two weeks for captain Jim Furyk to make him one of his picks. Still, making the team that will travel to Paris next month is always on his short list.

“If I can somehow get my name on one of those lists of players that play the Ryder Cup; maybe at the end of my career, instead of saying, you know, you probably say, I had X amount of wins; and I played X amount of Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, I think is pretty cool,” said Na, who has never played on a Ryder or Presidents Cup team.

Getty Images

Woods tinkering with driver shaft, loft at The Northern Trust

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:11 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Tiger Woods said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust that he spent last week attending his children’s soccer games and tinkering with his driver.

Although he finished runner-up at the PGA Championship, Woods hit just 5 of 14 fairways on Sunday at Bellerive and ranked 74th for the week in fairways hit. It was no surprise that his focus heading into the FedExCup Playoffs was finding more fairways.

“We've been working on it, experimenting with different shafts and different lofts on my driver and 3-wood, as well,” Woods said. “Just trying different things. I've still got two more days and I'll still be monkeying around with a couple things and come game time we'll see what I go with.”


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


Woods played an abbreviated practice round on Tuesday at Ridgewood Country Club, which included Nos. 1-8 and Nos. 15-18, with a new driver that features a different shaft from the one he used at the PGA Championship and more loft (9.5 degrees).

He also had a TaylorMade equipment representative walking with him on Tuesday and went to the practice range after his round for more work.

Getty Images

English confident in playoff run after just sneaking in

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:07 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Harris English didn’t know the exact math, only that he needed to play his best final round of the season last week at the Wyndham Championship.

Although it wasn’t perfect, English’s closing 68 was good enough to tie for 11th place and vault him from 132nd on the season-long point race to 124th and into the playoffs.

“It was definitely a bit of a pressure-packed situation coming down the stretch. Different than, really, winning a golf tournament,” English said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust, the postseason lid-lifter. “It felt like Q-School again back in 2011 where you're in the sixth round and trying to get it done.”


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


Despite three-putts on three of his final nine holes, English earned his seventh consecutive trip to the postseason and some much needed confidence after a tough year.

English had just two top-10 finishes this season and spent the majority of the summer mired around the playoff bubble (No. 125).

“Being 124 right now, I need another really good week this week to make it to Boston [the second playoff stop],” he said. “I like where I am. I have a lot of confidence from last week. Struck the ball well and kind of did everything to put the ball in great position. If I can do that again this week, that would be a heck of a week.”

Nick Taylor also played his way into the top 125 last week, finishing tied for eighth place at Sedgefield Country Club to move from No. 129 to No. 119.