Tseng closing in on fourth major title at the Wegmans LPGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 25, 2011, 11:39 pm

ROCHESTER, N.Y.  – Yani Tseng made the mistake of grabbing the trophy before the end of a major tournament once already this year – and lost.

With a five-shot lead after the third round of the LPGA Championship on Saturday, the top-ranked Tseng doesn't intend to make the same mistake again.

'When I see a trophy, I just figure I want to grab it,' Tseng said, recalling how she might have jinxed herself at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. That's when she grabbed the trophy as she stepped to the first tee upon opening the final round, and then proceeded to squander a two-shot lead in finishing second to Stacy Lewis.

'It just did not work out at Kraft, so I better not touch it this time,' Tseng said, smiling. 'That's how I learn.'

The way she's playing, Tseng has reason to be patient in a bid to win her fourth career major, and eighth tournament. She essentially ran away from the field with a 5-under 67 that has her at 13-under 203 at Locust Hill Country Club outside Rochester.

Americans Morgan Pressel (70) and Cindy Lacrosse (69) were tied for second, and Hee Young Park (72) was seven shots behind Tseng. Defending champion Cristie Kerr matched Tseng with a third-round best 67 to join Lewis (70), Meena Lee (70) and Paula Creamer (72) at 5 under.

Tseng, who turned 22 in January, is a round away from becoming the youngest to win four major golf tournaments. She also won LPGA Championship during her rookie-of-the-year season in 2008, when the event was played at Bulle Rock in Maryland, and took the Kraft Nabisco and Women's British Open last year.

Tiger Woods and Se Ri Pak were 24 when they won their fourth majors. Patty Berg was 23 when she won her fourth major in 1941, but before the LPGA was formed in 1950.

'That sounds pretty good. I'm working on that,' Tseng said, when informed of the elite company she has a chance of passing. 'Tomorrow, I'm just going to go there and smile all day and then play smart.'

Tseng has seven career LPGA Tour wins, and has already won twice this year, including the State Farm Classic two weeks ago. She also has three international victories this year, sweeping the Women's Australian Open and Australian Ladies Masters.

Tseng is roaring through the course much like Kerr did a year ago, when she finished at 19-under 269 to win by a whopping 12 strokes.

Kerr liked her chances when she finished her round four shots behind Tseng, who was still on the front nine.

'They will notice that I fired a good round to kind of get back into position,' Kerr said, referring to her competition. 'I think I will be within striking distance, but I would have to put up another round like this tomorrow.

Kerr might have to reconsider, given how Tseng was hardly affected by the intermittent rain and gusts of winds that picked up in the afternoon, making it difficult to navigate the tight fairways and reach the small greens.

Opening the day with a one shot lead over Pat Hurst and with six others within three shots, Tseng ran away from the pack by closing with five birdies and bogey over her final 10 holes. It was a round in which she hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14 greens.

A day after she twice missed from within 3 feet, including an 18-incher for bogey on No. 18, Tseng was more consistent with her putting.

On Saturday, she sank a 6-foot putt for birdie on No. 9, and then scrambled to save par with a pair of 4-footers on Nos. 10 and 11. Then came a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th and a 14-footer on No. 13 to go to 12 under for the tournament, and extend her lead by five shots at that time.

Her only real miscue was an errant tee-shot into the left rough on No. 14 that led to a bogey 5. Tseng responded on the next hole, with a 4-foot putt for birdie. She also birdied Nos. 2 and 15 and 17.

No one else could make up any ground.

LaCrosse scrambled to shoot 3 under in a round that featured six birdies and three bogeys. In her second year on tour, her best career finish was a tie for 11th at the Shop Rite Classic three weeks ago.

At Louisville, she was a two-time Big East champion. And she also won three times on the Futures Tour.

'My game plan's kind of the same. I'm still trying to hit the fairways and greens,' said LaCrosse, who will be paired with Tseng in the final round. 'You never know what (Tseng) is going to do. She's an amazing player. I just kind of have to focus on what I'm going to do.'

Pressel is still in the hunt in seeking her third career win and first since 2008.

'I'm five back no matter who it is,' Pressel said. 'Has she had any bogeys this week? I think she has made some mistakes and people are human. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.”

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Pros share condolences for slain Iowa State player

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 19, 2018, 5:01 pm

As details continue to emerge surrounding the murder of 22-year-old Celia Barquin Arozamena, multiple professional athletes took to Twitter to share their condolences for the former Iowa State star.

Arozamena was found dead Monday at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa, where she was playing a round of golf by herself when she was allegedly attacked by a nearby homeless man. Twenty-two-year-old Collin Daniel Richards is charged with first-degree murder after allegedly stabbing Arozamena and leaving her body in a pond on the golf course.

Arozamena was the 2018 Big XII champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year, and she was a native of Spain. As the Iowa State community mourned her death, fellow Spanish athletes shared their thoughts, including former Masters champ Sergio Garcia and NBA star Pau Gasol:

Arozamena's amateur accomplishments extended beyond the collegiate setting, as she also won the European Amateur Championship in July. Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam tweeted a photo she took with Arozamena at a previous event, calling the incident "horrendous."

Iowa State is planning to honor Arozamena Saturday during their home football game against Akron, with the team wearing "CBA" decals bearing her initials.

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'It's been fun': Tiger embracing this year's moral victory

By Rex HoggardSeptember 19, 2018, 3:52 pm

ATLANTA – The aura of Tiger Woods has always demanded that his accomplishments, or failures, be graded on a unique scale. When your only competition is a record book and a guy named Jack, normal benchmarks just won’t cut it.

When you’ve won 14 major championships and 79 PGA Tour titles, there’s no such thing as a moral victory.

Well, there didn’t used to be. But this is different.

It was a year ago next week that Woods first offered an unfiltered glimpse into the state of his body and his game following fusion surgery on his lower back in April 2017.

“The pain's gone, but I don't know what my golfing body is going to be like, because I haven't hit a golf shot yet,” he said at last September’s Presidents Cup. “So that's going to take time to figure that out and figure out what my capabilities are going forward, and there's no rush.”

As timelines go, it’s telling that it was shortly after those matches in New Jersey that Woods reached out to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to ask about the possibility of being the captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team in 2019. With Tiger, it’s always about reading between the lines, but it’s a relatively straightforward message that less than a year ago he was contemplating life as a captain, not necessarily a player.

Tiger has spoken often this year about the uncertainty he felt entering this season, about the unknowns that awaited him during this most recent comeback. He’s even suggested that for the first time in his career, he began a season with dramatically tempered expectations.

Yhat outlook began to change, albeit slowly at first, following a pedestrian West Coast swing that included a missed cut at the Genesis Open.

“The beginning of the year was such an unknown, I didn't know if I would be able to make it to Florida and to play the Florida Swing. Let's just start out at Torrey and see how it goes,” Woods explained on Wednesday at the Tour Championship.

He not only remained upright throughout the spring, but he also showed flashes of his former self with a runner-up showing at the Valspar Championship.

Unlike Justin Thomas, who studiously thumbs a lengthy list of goals into his cell phone each season, Woods keeps his vision board largely to himself. Nonetheless, there have been milestones throughout the season that have checked the right boxes.

For starters, Tiger will finish this season with 19 starts, the most he’s played since 2012. In fact, just once since 2000 has he played more than 19, which is as good a sign as any that his health, if not his game, is up to the task.


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His performance on the course has also steadily progressed. Although he’s not won since 2013, and that will always be the standard by which he’s judged, his world ranking tracks quite steeply in one direction. When he finished 15th at the Hero World Challenge, an unofficial, limited-field event in December, he was 650th in the world. Before the season’s first major, he cracked the top 100. Last month, his runner-up showing at the PGA Championship moved him back into the top 30.

That progression paved the way for a return to the World Golf Championship at Firestone and this week’s Tour Championship.

“Just to have that opportunity to be able to add a tournament, I thought I was going to be taking tournaments away, but to have added a couple and to have earned my way into Akron, I look at this year more as I've exceeded a lot of my expectations and goals because so much of it was an unknown,” he said.

This week’s start at East Lake is particularly rewarding considering it’s been five year’s since he played the finale. To Tiger, the Tour Championship is a straightforward meritocracy.

“What I've missed most about playing this event is that in order to get into this event, I would have earned my way being part of the top 30 most consistent players of the year and the best players of the year,” he said. “No exemptions into this event. Either you get here or you don't. It's a very hard line.”

There’s still plenty of work to do. On Wednesday, he talked of getting all of the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place at the same time, something that’s been an issue even during his best weeks.

The scale is always going to be wildly tilted when it comes to Tiger and for many that’s not going to change. It’s the price he must pay for unparalleled success. But for Woods and those around him, it’s impossible and frankly unfair to grade this season based entirely on wins and loses.

In sports, you are what your record says you are. Maybe when Woods calls it a career, 2018 will be nothing more than a bridge to bigger and better things. But as Tiger took mental inventory of his 22nd full season on Tour on Wednesday, the smile that spread across his face went well beyond the standings and statistics – “It’s been fun,” he beamed.

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Stanford suddenly a potential Solheim captain

By Randall MellSeptember 19, 2018, 3:06 pm

Angela Stanford’s first major championship brought more than a large trophy, a large paycheck and an extra-large jolt of confidence going forward.

It bolstered her hopes for a larger Solheim Cup future.

Stanford, 40, wondered if her Solheim Cup days were over when she failed to make the American team going to Iowa last year, but Sunday’s victory at the Evian Championship vaults her into the picture to make the team going to Scotland next year.

More than that, it bolsters her burning ambition to one day lead the U.S. Solheim Cup team as its captain.

“When you’ve played in some Solheim Cups and you miss one, it hurts,” Stanford told GolfChannel.com. “They’re very special.

“Hopefully, next year, I’m playing well enough to help the team win. I would like to play in another one, and, yes, I would like to be a captain someday.”

It was fitting Evian officials wrapped Stanford in the American flag during the trophy presentation Sunday in France. She loves team golf and playing for her country, but before winning there she wondered about more than her prospects for making another U.S. team.

She wondered about her qualifications to be captain.

“I always heard winning a major was one of the requirements,” said Stanford, a six-time LPGA winner “I don’t know if that’s true or not.”

While it’s not a requirement, LPGA officials acknowledge it’s a consideration.

There have been 11 different American captains in Solheim Cup history, and Rosie Jones is the only one who didn’t have a major on her resume, though she did have 13 LPGA titles.



So Stanford’s victory Sunday in France opens a door. She needed it because her Solheim Cup record isn’t the most stellar. She’s 4-13-3 in the matches, but the record almost doesn’t matter now with her major. Plus, Stanford created a Solheim Cup memory that trumps her playing record. She prevailed in one of the most monumental singles matches in Solheim Cup history. She took down Suzann Pettersen in the historic American comeback in Germany three years ago. That’s the year Pettersen, the undisputed European leader, was embroiled in controversy over American Alison Lee’s mistake scooping up a putt that wasn’t conceded. Pettersen was the heart and soul of the European team that appeared to be rolling toward a third consecutive team title that year.

Stanford beat Pettersen 2-and-1 during the epic American comeback.

“That really changed how I felt about how I performed on the Solheim stage,” Stanford said. “I was really hoping to make last year’s team, to ride that momentum. Hopefully, I will get another chance.”

Stanford has the memory of her role in that comeback to draw upon forever. She arrived on the first tee to play Pettersen with the same attitude she took to Evian on Sunday. Her record didn’t matter; she was going to fight to the end.

“I came out that morning in Germany with the attitude that, 'I’m sick of losing. I’m sick of being pushed around. I’m sick of coming up on the short end,'” Stanford said. “I showed up with the attitude, 'This isn’t going to happen to me again. I’m not going to be the reason we don’t pull this off.’

“I didn’t like what happened to Alison, and I really wanted to help the team.”

Juli Inkster will captain the American team for an unprecedented third time in Scotland next year. When Inkster’s reign ends, Stanford’s name will move up the short list of future candidates.

It’s a list that should include Dottie Pepper, Pat Hurst and Sherri Steinhauer, though Pepper’s history with today’s players and her heavy criticism of the Americans in the past makes her future selection highly doubtful, if she even wanted the job.

After that, the most relevant choices are Cristie Kerr and now Stanford. Like Stanford, Kerr is 40 and still very much focused on playing.

“I probably have one of the rougher Solheim Cup records in history, but personally I never looked at it like that,” Stanford said. “I look at our team record. I’ve been on three winning teams and three losing teams. I want to make it on another team and make that a winning record.”

Stanford’s confidence after winning Evian and her desire to win another Solheim Cup should make for potent fuel to drive her over the next year.

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Tiger: Back was an issue in 2012 Ryder loss at Medinah

By Rex HoggardSeptember 19, 2018, 2:39 pm

ATLANTA – On Tuesday at East Lake, Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round with Bryson DeChambeau, adding to the notion that the two could end up partnering at next week’s Ryder Cup.

Of course, he also played with Tony Finau. And - let’s face it - there are no shortage of potential teammates for Woods in the U.S. team room.

But DeChambeau does seem to have his interest.

“I've gotten to know Bryson very well, and what an amazing talent, and an unbelievable hard worker,” Woods said. “He has figured out a way to play this game his own way, and he's very efficient at what he does, and he's not afraid to think outside the box on how he can become better.”

After missing the last two matches because of injury, finding the right partner is a good problem to have.


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Being one of Jim Furyk’s four captain’s picks is particularly rewarding for Woods, who endured one of his toughest losses in the matches in his last start in 2012, when the U.S. team took a four-point lead into Sunday singles but lost, 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

The ’12 matches were where Woods' back prompted him to request a late tee time Sunday, rendering his anchor match with Francesco Molinari ultimately irrelevant once Europe retained at least a share of the cup. Woods eventually conceded the 18th hole to Molinari, ending their match in a halve and allowing Europe to win outright. 

“I wasn't feeling physically well at that Ryder Cup, and it's where my back started bugging me,” Woods said. “That's the only wave I've ever missed was [that] Saturday afternoon wave, because I told [U.S. captain Davis Love III] I just really couldn't go. And I said, 'Can you put me out later on Sunday? Because I need the time to get my back organized here.'

“It was tough watching them celebrate in the 18th fairway when I thought we should have won that one."

Woods actually missed the morning foursomes session on Day 2 in at Medinah. It marked the first time in his Ryder Cup career he didn’t play all four team sessions. He finished with a 0-3-1 record for the week.