Pettersen Wins as Winds Wipe Out Play

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newJEJU DO, South Korea -- Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen won the Hana Bank KOLON Championship on Sunday when high wind and unplayable conditions on the stressed putting surfaces forced tournament officials to call off the final round.
 
'I guess it has to kind of sink in that I actually won this tournament,' Pettersen said. 'Of course, it's not the way I want to win. You want to complete the tournament as it is originally set up, but this time the last round wasn't playable.'
 
The Solheim Cup player opened with a 3-under 69 on Friday and shot an even-par 72 on Saturday in cold and windy conditions to take the lead at 3 under.
 
She won her fourth LPGA Tour title of the season and became the first non-South Korean winner in the six-year history of the event.
 
'I feel very fortunate to break the Korean streak,' Pettersen said. 'Of course, it's not the way we wanted to end this tournament. It felt like I played 36 great holes. I fought every day and it was very hard.'
 
South Korea's Eun-Hee Ji finished a stroke back, compatriots Seon Hwa Lee and Jeong Jang followed at 1 under, and Hyun-Hee Moon was fifth at even par. Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, coming off her seventh victory of the season last week in the Samsung World Championship, tied for 12th at 3 over after rounds of 72 and 75.
 
The course was deemed unplayable after days of high wind on the greens that were already severely stressed by more than 20 inches of rain.
 
'The constant wind and the sun today and part of yesterday tended to dry them out more, but we had very limited grass to start with, basically no grass, which makes it virtually unplayable for players to hit to the green and putt on the green and be able to play in a fair manner,' LPGA Tour rules official Sue Witters said.
 
'The greens deteriorated a little bit each day and, with the excessive wind yesterday that continued all day and into the night and this morning, it just took its toll on the greens and we were not able to play golf.'
 
Many fans vehemently protested after the decision was made to call off play in South Korea's lone LPGA Tour event.
 
'In Korea, this is the one and only,' South Korean star Mi Hyun said. 'Everyone came from all over the nation to watch this. What triggered the galleries reactions might have been the cold weather conditions and I'm really sorry for that, but we tried to play as much as we can. ... Because of the horrible weather, conditions became unplayable. This is not the players' fault, not the sponsors' fault, not the course's fault. We just had bad luck with the weather.'
 
Witters said many fans didn't understand the reason play was stopped.
 
'Because there was not a storm with thunder and lightening, it might have made this decision a little unsure with the fans because they could not get the whole story about the greens being unplayable,' she said. 'The players, as well as the officials, were just as disappointed to be unable to play because this is what we do.'
 
Pettersen, sidelined for eight months in 2005 by a career-threatening ruptured disk in her back, has had a breakthrough season, highlighted by her first major title in the McDonald's LPGA Championship in June.
 
She also won the Michelob Ultra Open in May for her first LPGA Tour victory, took the Ladies European Tour's SAS Masters in August in Norway, and beat Ochoa two weeks ago in a playoff in the Longs Drugs Challenge. Last week in the Samsung, Pettersen finished fifth after starting the final round tied for the lead with Ochoa.
 
'There are so many good players out here with Lorena in the front and we're pushing each other to get better,' Pettersen said. 'I'm just very fortunate and glad to be a part of that group of players. It's just been a fantastic year, but it's not over. I have three tournaments left. To come here to Korea and capture my fourth win, it's something I believed I could do, but to sit here and hold the trophy is very nice.'
 
She earned $191,250 to raise her season total to $1,558,309, second only to Ochoa's tour-record $3,337,993.
 
The LPGA Tour will remain in Asian the next two weeks for the Honda LPGA Thailand and Mizuno Classic in Japan.
 
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    Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

    SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

    Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

    Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

    ''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

    Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

    ''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

    Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

    Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

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

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    Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

    Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

    The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

    Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

    As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

    Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

    "We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

    Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

    "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."

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    Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

    There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

    No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

    On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

    The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

    It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    "My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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    Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

    Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

    Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

    What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

    Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

    Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

    Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

    Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.