Park wins third straight Women's PGA, returns to No. 1

By Associated PressJune 14, 2015, 10:53 pm

HARRISON, N.Y. - Inbee Park won her third consecutive Women's PGA Championship on Sunday - and accomplished a whole lot more.

Park also regained the No. 1 ranking in the world, surpassed idol Se Ri Pak for the most majors by a South Korean player with six, tied the LPGA record for the lowest score in a major in relation to par at 19 under and, in her own mind, cemented a place in women's golf history.

''Obviously, putting my name alongside like Annika Sorenstam or Patty Berg, legends of golf, just being a part of history of this golf tournament, I feel extremely honored, and I can't believe that I just did it,'' Park said.

The 26-year-old closed with a bogey-free 5-under 68 at Westchester Country Club, finishing the season's second major five strokes ahead of 22-year-old compatriot Sei Young Kim. Park had 22 birdies and only three bogeys in 72 holes.

''I played great the last three days,'' she said. ''I couldn't believe myself. I made no bogeys for three days.''

Park and Sorenstam (2003-2005) are only players to win the event previously called the LPGA Championship three consecutive years. It also was Park's fifth victory in the last 12 majors.

Park won the previous two years in playoffs in Pittsford, New York, taking the 2013 event at Locust Hill and the 2014 tournament at Monroe Golf Club.

Park birdied the par-5 final hole. She chipped her third shot to 5 feet, then sank the putt and threw her arms in the air as a fan yelled ''Three-peat!''

It was her 56th consecutive hole without a bogey.

Kim, a two-time winner this season as a rookie, started the day two strokes back. She bogeyed the third and the fourth holes, then reeled off four consecutive birdies, holing a long putt on the eighth to pull within a shot of the lead.


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That was as close as she would get.

A three-stroke swing on the ninth hole put Park in charge. She made a birdie putt, then watched as Kim four-putted for double bogey. Kim finished with a 71.

''Everything fell apart at the ninth hole,'' Kim said through an interpreter.

Lexi Thompson was third at 12 under after a 66. She had eight birdies on her first 13 holes.

Thompson pulled within two strokes with her birdie on the 13th. But she missed a chance on the par-5 15th hole, hitting her tee shot well right, and scrambled to make par. She then bogeyed the 16th to end her chances.

''[I] just take a lot of positives from it knowing that I can pull off a round on Sunday here,'' Thompson said. ''It means a lot and I'm going to take a lot of confidence going into my upcoming tournaments.''

Brittany Lincicome, the winner of the first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, finished fourth at 11 under. She birdied the final hole for a 68.

Seventeen-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson tied for fifth with Morgan Pressel at 10 under. Her $132,725 check will help in Henderson's bid to earn a tour card for next year. She needs to either win a tournament or finish with the equivalent of the 40th player on the money list to avoid qualifying school after being denied an age exemption.

The shot of the day came from Hyo Joo Kim with a hole-in-one on the 149-yard 14th hole. She finished with a 71 to tie for ninth at 8 under.

With No. 1 Lydia Ko missing the cut for the first time in 54 tries, No. 2 Park needed to finish just 29th or better to retake the top spot she last held in February. It will be her third stay at the top of the rankings. She was No. 1 for 59 weeks in 2013-2014.

Park earned $525,000 for her third LPGA victory of the season and 15th overall.

She joined Sorenstam, Pak, Patty Sheehan, Nancy Lopez, Kathy Whitworth and Mickey Wright as the only players to win the event at least three times. Wright won it four times.

''I think I always dreamed myself being a part of history, leaving my name, even before I die, there is my name on this trophy,'' Park said. ''There's a name on the U.S. Open trophy. There's my name on great championships.''

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.