South Koreas Jiyai Shin eyes sweep of LPGA awards

By Associated PressNovember 11, 2009, 7:01 pm

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Jiyai Shin is on the verge of sweeping both the LPGA’s rookie and player of the year awards.

The South Korean has already clinched the rookie award and leads Lorena Ochoa by four points in the player of the year race going into the final two tournaments of the season – this week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico, and the LPGA Tour Championship next week in Houston.

So does that make her the best of the 47 talented South Koreans who play on the LPGA Tour?

“Well, that’s a really hard question,” replied the 21-year-old Shin, hedging with a large grin but hinting she’s getting famous back home.

“I’m not huge yet, but I’m getting a little bit bigger.”

Shin also leads the money list, which would make it a clean sweep and might signal the arrival of the next dominating player in the women’s game.

No South Korean – not even veteran Se Ri Pak – has finished No. 1 on the money list, and no Korean has ever been player of the year. Shin is the sixth Korean to win rookie of the year.

“At the beginning of the season my goal was rookie of the year,” Shin said. “But I’ve already made that and now I have a chance for player of the year, too. … There’s no pressure because I have already made my goal. Player of the year is a bonus thing for me.”

Shin has won three times this season, and she won three times last year on the LPGA Tour before she was even a member, including a victory in the 2008 Women’s British Open. If she wins Ochoa’s tournament on Sunday – and Ochoa finishes eighth or lower – Shin will be the player of the year.

Ochoa, the game’s top-ranked player, has won that award three straight times.

The last player to pull off the double was Nancy Lopez in 1978.

Besides Shin and Ochoa, a few other players have mathematical chances at player of the year, but they are long shots. They include: Cristie Kerr, Ai Miyazato, Yani Tseng, Suzann Pettersen, Na Yeon Choi and Angela Stanford.

Shin grins continually and is mastering English. Barely a year ago she needed an interpreter after winning the Women’s British Open. Now she handles interviews on her own. She also loves to sing and has put out a CD, which she said Ochoa is always begging her to play.

“All the time she says she wants to hear my song – the English version,” Shin said.

Her rapid success belies horrible tragedy.

She was hitting balls in 2003 on a practice range in Korea when her mother and two siblings – a younger brother and sister – were injured in a car crash. Her mother died from the injuries and her two siblings were confined to a hospital for a year. Shin said she spent many nights on a chair or a cot at the hospital.

“I had to care for my brother and sister because my mom was already gone,” she said on the eve of Ochoa’s tournament. “Now my feelings are fine because it was a long time ago. For a couple of years it was really hard because my heart was broken.”

Last Sunday marked the sixth anniversary of her mother’s death. Though her mother followed her career, she never saw her win. Shin won her first tournament four months after her mother’s death in a Korean amateur event.

She turned pro after the 2005 season and hasn’t stopping winning – as a pro in Korea and now with the LPGA.

“My mom always cares for me,” Shin said. “My aunt dreams mom’s really busy in heaven running back and forth.”

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Watch: Koepka highlights from the Travelers

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 3:30 pm

U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.

And here is the capper at the 14th

Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.

After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.

A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead.

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Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.

Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship

Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”