Hull looking to bust American momentum in Mobile

By Randall MellMay 24, 2014, 12:24 am

England’s Charley Hull is among a wave of international players looking to slow American momentum with a victory this weekend at the Airbus LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala.

Hull, who charmed American audiences last year while helping Europe win the Solheim Cup for the first time on U.S. soil, enters the weekend poised to give the LPGA yet another dynamic winner in a season of star-quality victors. She’s just 18.

Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, the Ricoh Women’s British Open winner in ’09, overtook Hull as the leader early Friday evening with birdies at two of the last three holes to shoot 5-under-par 67. At 13 under overall, Matthew is a shot ahead of Hull (67) and three ahead of Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist (66), South Korea’s Hee Young Park (66) and American Jessica Korda (67).

The Americans are off to their best start in 17 years. They have won the last two LPGA events, four of the last five and six of the 11 staged this year. That’s the most victories USA players have claimed this fast since 1997.

The LPGA’s on a roll with a run of victors that include Americans Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, Korda, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Lizette Salas. Count New Zealand’s 17-year-old Lydia Ko among the cast of compelling winners with Australia’s Karrie Webb and Sweden’s Nordqvist the only two-time winners so far this season.

This weekend features yet another big-name leaderboard at the Magnolia Grove Crossings Course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Thompson, winner of the year’s first major, shot 65 Friday and is only four off the lead.

Rolex world No. 2 Lewis (70), with a chance to overtake Inbee Park at No. 1, is just five shots back. With Park missing the cut, her first missed cut in an LPGA event in a year, Lewis can add to American momentum. Lewis can seize the top ranking from Park with a first-, second- or third-place finish this weekend.

World No. 4 Suzann Pettersen (70), Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak (69) and resurgent Christina Kim (66) are also five back.

Wie (66) is only six behind.

Hull is seeking her first LPGA title, and her second title worldwide this year. She broke through to win her first Ladies European Tour title in March, claiming the Lalla Meryem Cup.

There’s more for Hull to win in Mobile than an LPGA title. She is not an LPGA member and is playing the Airbus LPGA Classic on a sponsor’s exemption. If Hull wins, she will have the option of claiming LPGA membership for the rest of this year and next year.

Though Hull has plans to play LPGA Q-School in the fall, that might not be necessary for her to gain tour membership, even if she doesn’t win this week.

Hull can also claim LPGA membership through non-member equivalent earnings. If by season’s end she earns money in official events with a cut that is equal to or better than the LPGA member who finishes 40th on the money list, Hull will gain tour membership for next year.

Hull is playing her fifth LPGA event this year, her third on a sponsor’s exemption. She has three more sponsor invites to use, but based on her LET eligibility Hull will also get LPGA starts at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and Evian Championship.

In her four LPGA starts this year, Hull has won $66,523. That would rank 67th on the current LPGA money list. She qualified to play the Kraft Nabisco Championship as a member of European Solheim Cup team. She also played the Women’s Australian Open through her LET membership.

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Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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Peterson confirms plans to play Finals

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Tour Finals.

Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.

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But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.

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Lyle honored with sand sculpture at Wyndham

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 9:00 pm

Jarrod Lyle passed away last week at the age of 36 after losing his third battle with cancer.

And after a PGA Championship filled with tributes to the Australian, the Wyndham Championship found its own way to keep his legacy alive at the North Carolina Tour stop.

Next to the Wyndham Championship and PGA Tour logos carved into the sand on site at Sedgefield Country Club is Lyle's name and the "Leuk the Duck" mascot. The duck has become synonymous with Challenge, an organization that supports kids with cancer.

Fellow Aussie Stuart Appleby posted the display on social media:

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Lyle was also remembered in a more traditional manner on the first tee, where his bag and trademark yellow bucket hat were prominently displayed.

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Yin (64) steps into spotlight on Day 1 in Indy

By Randall MellAugust 16, 2018, 7:49 pm

American fans will be quick to embrace a young new winner with the U.S. ranks shrinking in women’s golf this summer.

With some of its biggest stars dealing with injuries, swoons or away on maternity leave, the American game could use a boost.

And here comes Angel Yin . . .

She is a major talent looking to break through this week at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. Still a teenager at 19, she moved into early position Thursday to try to win her first title.

With a spectacular start, Yin looked as if she might give the game a pair of 59s on the same day, with Brandt Snedeker posting one at the Wyndham Championship. Yin birdied eight of the first nine holes at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis before cooling on the back nine. She still shot 8-under-par 64, good for the early lead.

“It just felt good,” Yin said. “Everything was working.”

Yin was knocking down flagsticks on the outward nine.

“I had nine putts on the front nine, which is incredible,” Yin said. “Never had that many little putts.”

With Brickyard Crossing a big hitter’s park, Yin took advantage. She’s one of the longest hitters on tour, ranking fifth in driving distance (272.2 yards per drive).

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Yin has made runs at winning this year. She tied for fourth at the Mediheal Championship in April. She finished third at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the end of June, but then missed the cut in three of her next four starts, including the Ricoh Women’s British Open in her last start.

“I was really happy how everything came together [today], because I have been playing well,” Yin said. “I just haven't been scoring.”

Yin introduced herself to the world stage making the American Solheim Cup team last year. She wowed fans and teammates alike bombing her driver in an impressive rookie debut.

“She is fearless,” two-time Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis said going into last year’s Solheim Cup. “The shots she can hit, nobody else can hit. She probably doesn’t quite know how to manage it yet, is the only thing holding her back.”

While Yin is seeking her first professional title, she has won as a pro. She claimed the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic on the Ladies European Tour at the end of last season.

Ying has been a big deal in Southern California for a while now. At 13, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run. At 14, she won a junior qualifier to get into the ANA Inspiration and made the cut. At 15, she Monday qualified to get into the LPGA’s Kia Classic. At 16, she won the AJGA’s Annika Invitational, finished runner up in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and played on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team.