Shin leads Henderson by 1 in KPMG Women's PGA

By Associated PressJune 12, 2015, 1:12 am

HARRISON, N.Y. - South Korean Jenny Shin kept moving up the leaderboard, chasing Hall-of-Famer Karrie Webb.

Shin eventually caught her, shooting a bogey-free, 7-under 66 Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the opening round at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, the second major of the season.

"I was chasing the leaderboard all day, and I was surprised that Webby was at 6 under at one point," said the 22-year-old Shin. "I got there and was like `Maybe I can get one more on the 18th hole,' and I did."

Canadian teenager Brooke Henderson had a three-putt bogey on her final hole at the ninth to drop a shot back after Shin birdied No. 18 at the Westchester Country Club.

"I hit it well all day, I'm disappointed with the finish on the last hole," said the 17-year-old Henderson, who was playing on a sponsor exemption.

Webb birdied three of the first four holes and finished at 68. The 40-year-old Webb started her round in hazy conditions at No. 10 and shot a 4-under 33 on the opening nine. She had a bogey-free round until she dropped a shot on the seventh when she missed the fairway left and hit the front bunker.

"I hit a wedge to a foot and a half on 10 and that settled me in," Webb said. "Hit the green in two on 12 and had about a 15-footer for eagle. I really put some very solid swings on it early on."

Shin had five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 15th. She spoke to her sports psychologist on Wednesday night to help calm her nerves.


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"I was freaking out for this round, so I tried to play as comfortable as I can, just like any other tournament," Shin said. "I tried not to think of it as a major and it turned out great. I had a couple of bogey-free rounds last week, so I think I'm on a good run."

Americans Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis were in a large group that finished four strokes back at 70 in steamy temperatures that reached the mid-80s. Lincicome, the winner of the first major at the ANA Inspiration in April, eagled the par-5 15th and followed with a birdie on 16.

Two-time defending champion Inbee Park shot a 71. Top-ranked teenager Lydia Ko was another stroke back, and Suzann Pettersen, coming off a win in Canada, finished at 74. Michelle Wie, bothered by a hip injury, shot 75.

Shin, who is seeking her first major, had three birdies on the front nine to gain on Webb, a seven-time major winner.

Henderson, who turned pro in December, is below the LPGA's age requirement of 18. But she made the most of her sponsor exemption.

Henderson birdied No. 10, her opening hole, and added birdies at Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 15. For her eagle on the par-5, 274 yard 12th hole, she hit a 7-wood 204 yards and the ball landed three feet from the cup.

Then came the three-putt on her final hole, where she "tried to hit it a little too hard and had an 8-footer to save par."

The 29-year-old Lincicome, who is seeking her third major, is one of the longest hitters on the tour. She used a 4-iron from 203 yards out and got within 30 feet for her eagle on the par-5, 497-yard 15th.

"The putt, if I hadn't hit the hole, it probably would have gone off the green," she said. "[My caddie] asked if I had dented the cup."

Park finished with a birdie on 18, one of five on the day along with a bogey. The South Korean has won five majors, including three straight in 2013.

Kerr had a bogey on the par-5, 551-yard fifth hole and four birdies on the West Course that she often plays when in New York. She's familiar with the sloping greens at the longtime home of the PGA Tour event now called The Barclays.

"The front nine, I had a bunch of chances and a couple putts lipped out," Kerr said. "I just tried to stay patient and got off to a great start on the back nine."

BIRDIES: Annika Sorenstam, a winner of 10 majors and three Women PGA Championships, said she walked the course. "It's a tough course, the greens and some blind holes where you really have to commit yourself. The scores are not that low, not many birdies. It will be a typical grinder week." ... Lincicome ran into Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza at the Mets game on Tuesday night and got a picture with him. ... Playing with Kerr and Jessica Korda, Lincicome bet $5 for every birdie after a slow start. "Korda birdied the last, so we were tied, unfortunately," Lincicome said. "We just kind of needed something to motivate us to get back in it. We didn't let Kerr in because she was already making too many."

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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.