Shin Ochoa trying to wrap up LPGA Player of Year

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2009, 9:44 pm

RICHMOND, Texas (AP)—Jiyai Shin can become the first rookie in more than threedecades to win the Player of the Year award with a strong performance at theLPGA Tour Championship, which begins Thursday just outside of Houston.

The 21-year-old Korean will face a star-packed field at The HoustonianCountry Club, where the $225,000 first prize would help her end Lorena Ochoa’sreign over the women’s tour. Ochoa has been the player of the year the pastthree seasons.

Shin won three times last year as a nonmember of the LPGA Tour, includingthe Women’s British Open, and followed with three more wins and 11 top-10finishes this year.

Michelle Wie signs autographs …
AP - Nov 18, 3:04 pm EST

“I started the year off with my goal to win rookie of the year and now Ihave a chance for player of the year,” Shin said. “That makes me happy.”

Michelle Wie is also in the field, coming off her first professional winlast week in Mexico, which might help deflect attention from the battle forPlayer of the Year.

There are other story lines running under the tournament, including Ochoa’supcoming wedding to the CEO of her largest sponsor, AeroMexico, and the presenceof third-ranked Christie Kerr and young superstar Paula Creamer.

Wie hopes that it doesn’t take nearly as long for her second victory as itdid her first. Her win in Mexico gave the sport a desperately needed boost,coming just a few days before word leaked out that the calendar will be trimmedto only 24 events next season.

“I went through some ups and downs, but it was a great learning experiencefor me this year,” Wie said. “For sure it’s (pressure) definitely off my backand I think hopefully life will be better, but I still have a lot of work todo.”

New commissioner Michael Wahn saw firsthand how important Wie could be torevitalizing the tour when he attended a pro-am party Tuesday night.

“I came in late and when I walked in, I noticed the bidding was up to$22,000,” Wahn said. “I asked somebody what they were bidding on and theysaid, ‘They’re bidding to play golf with Michelle Wie.’

“Now, that’s star power right there,” he said of the winning bid of$25,000. “It’s going to be a very exciting week and it could be a very excitingcouple of years.”

Ochoa will be trying for her fourth win this year, which would guarantee heranother Player of the Year award, but anything else would mean she needs helpfrom other players.

“It’s been a really good year for me in ways, sometimes difficult on thegolf course, but I’m very happy,” Ochoa said. “I have a lot of things to focuson off the golf course. I’m just going to try to enjoy the week and then getready for the wedding.”

Natalie Gulbis withdrew early Wednesday with an undisclosed illness.

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”

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Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18