Malaria not scaring LPGA pros away from Asia

By Randall MellMarch 14, 2013, 7:15 pm

PHOENIX – Natalie Gulbis’ bout with malaria doesn’t seem to be scaring any LPGA pros from future trips to the tour’s Asian swings.

Gulbis was bit by a mosquito during the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago and contracted the disease. She told Golfchannel.com Wednesday that she’s rebounding very well, though she did withdraw from this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup after symptoms recurred earlier this week.

The LPGA will return to Asia again for the fall swing with events scheduled in China, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

“It’s just one of those things, it doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, there are things out there that you just can’t control,” said Julieta Granada. “It’s life. We have dengue fever that you can get from mosquitoes in South America.

“The Asian swing for us is great. We love going to Asia. We have such great fans over there and great sponsors. This won’t make me think, `Oh my gosh, I’m not going.’”

Katherine Hull said she won’t be canceling any travel plans for the Asian swing.

“It’s more dangerous getting in a car in Thailand than being bit by a mosquito there, the way you see how they drive,” Hull said. “You’re more likely to get in a car accident there than get malaria.”

In fact, Paula Creamer got whiplash in a crash Thailand last month.

“You can pick up something anywhere,” Gerina Piller said. “We have West Nile here in the states. It was just one of those freakish things.”

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan conducted a players meeting Tuesday night where he updated Gulbis’ condition and talked about malaria. To alleviate concerns, the tour arranged for Scottsdale Healthcare doctors to do screenings in the locker room on Wednesday. Approximately 20 players, caddies or staff took advantage Wednesday. No other players are known to have contracted malaria.

“Our local healthcare sponsor of this event was in the locker room all morning providing blood tests for anyone who wanted them, players, caddies, family members, rules officials,” Whan said. “Anybody who thought they might have symptoms, or just wanted to know, they have a test to determine pretty quickly if you do or don’t have this parasite.”

While there is no vaccination against malaria, Whan said the LPGA's medical experts will look for ways to try to help players reduce risks.

“When you hear something like this, the first thing you ask is if the player is OK, and if there’s anyone else at risk,” Whan said.

Gulbis said she was grateful for the help the LPGA offered and is hoping to return to competition at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who led by three strokes at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.

The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.

Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.

On that occasion, Noren closed with a 10-under 62 - one of the best rounds ever on the European Tour - and the Swede embarked on another last-day charge 12 months later, a fifth birdie of the day at No. 12 briefly drawing him to within two shots of Molinari.

It was the closest he came, with a bogey at the next virtually ending his bid for victory.

Molinari played safe and error-free golf, establishing a three-shot lead by the turn with birdies at Nos. 3, 4 and 8, and there were no dramas on the back nine - until the final hole, which he played holding a three-stroke cushion over McIlroy.

With McIlroy on the green in two and facing a 20-foot putt for eagle, Molinari sent in his third shot that span back toward the water protecting the green, only for the ball to rest in the fringe.

McIlroy left his putt inches short and Molinari two-putted for par.

McIlroy, the four-time major winner and former No. 1, played what he described as one of his best rounds of 2018 on Friday, a bogey-free 65 that left him as an overwhelming favorite to follow up his victory here in 2014.

He struggled off the tee in shooting 71 on Saturday and started the final round with errant drives on Nos. 1 and 3 (both right, into spectators) and No. 4 (left). After a bogey at No. 10, he was the only player in the top 10 over par but he birdied the three par fives coming home to salvage what was otherwise a disappointing Sunday.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.