Ryu leads with course-record 63

By Associated PressAugust 22, 2014, 2:15 am

LONDON, Ontario - On the eve of the Canadian Pacific Women's Open, So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and Inbee Park got together for dinner with some fellow South Korean golfers.

While Park picked up the tab after winning the LPGA Championship, all three benefited from the night out.

Ryu set a new course record with a 9-under 63, Choi was one shot behind her and Park three off the lead after the first round of the $2.25 million tournament at the London Hunt and Country Club. Traditional Korean food was on the menu, but Ryu credited the company, rather than the cuisine, for her strong start.

''We had a talk together to help us relax,'' Ryu said. ''Sometimes when you're hanging out with really good friends, it can make you more relaxed and enjoy the golf. Today, I really enjoyed my golf. That comes from great friendship.''

Ryu's 63 was one shy of the tournament record, and her 9-under-par total tied the best mark, set in 2009 by Song-Hee Kim. The 24-year-old made nine birdies and played a bogey-free round.

Choi chipped in three times during her morning round, and her 8-under total looked like it would stand up until Ryu got hot on the back nine. Choi knew she chipped in twice from inside of 10 yards and once from a bunker 25 yards away but had to check her scorecard to figure out how many birdies she hit.

''I felt good about my game, but I didn't really realize I had five birdies in a row,'' Choi said. ''I didn't really think about I want to birdie every hole.''

Choi credits Canadian manager Greg Morrison for her love of and strong play in Canada. Her career-best round of 62 came in last year's Manulife Financial LPGA at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario.

When Ryu saw Choi's score before she teed off, she thought 3 under would be a realistic goal for her.

''But I shot 9 under, so I'm more happy,'' Ryu said with a smile.

Swede Anna Nordqvist, who was playing with and pushed along by Ryu, was alone in third at 7 under.

''She made nine birdies today and I made seven,'' Nordqvist said. ''It gives you a lot of momentum or a lot of positive energy just seeing a lot of birdies.''

Park, who lamented missing a few 5- or 6-foot putts, was part of a group at 6 under along with Azahara Munoz, Danielle Kang and Xi Yu Lin. Other than that, she called it a ''perfect round.''

''Ball-striking was almost perfect,'' Park said. ''Everything as pretty much right on line. These greens, they didn't have much breaks in them, but I misread them, a couple of them. Hopefully I'll play a little bit better tomorrow and hole some more putts.''

Park predicted that, given the conditions of the course, she would have to be more than 20-under par to win this tournament. Choi didn't think that was realistic until she wrapped up.

''Actually I was thinking like under 15,'' Choi said. ''But after my score today, which means - if I shoot like 8 under, I think everyone could shoot like 8-under, so we will see.''

Choi left at least one shot on the course, too, as her birdie putt on No. 9 - her final hole of the day - lipped out. A tie for the lead might've done wonders for a player who hasn't won a tournament since the 2012 U.S. Open.

Ryu hasn't won in two years, so the two friends can try to help each other through.

''We kind of talk about how can we get through this one, how do we think about this situation,'' Ryu said. ''I realize I'm not the only (one going) through the hard time. That kind of conversation makes me more relieved.''

If Ryu and Choi manage to keep up this play through the weekend, one of them might pick up the tab at the next team dinner.

''I'm glad to buy a dinner for them,'' Ryu said. ''I haven't won any tournaments the last two years so I've been waiting. I wish I can win this week.''

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Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

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Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.