Daddy's girl

By Randall MellNovember 15, 2011, 11:30 pm

Lexi Thompson’s mother was asked to divulge the secret.

How did her husband, Scott, nurture not just one golf prodigy, but three of them? What great plan did he follow as the primary coach in raising three gifted golf siblings?

“Scott’s never read a golf book or golf magazine,” Judy Thompson said.

Detecting the disbelief in the faces of a pair of reporters, Judy leaned over and tapped her husband’s shoulder, pulling him out of a conversation in the back of the CME Group Titleholders media room Tuesday at the Grand Cypress Resort.

“Scott, have you ever read a golf book?” Judy asked.

“No,” Scott said before quickly swiveling his head back to the other conversation.

Judy tapped him again.

“Scott, have you ever read a golf magazine?” Judy asked.

“No,” Scott said.

Scott, by the way, was once a single-digit handicap golfer, but he never considered himself a great player.

So what’s the family secret? How did Scott, as the first coach to Lexi, Nicholas and Curtis, draw out all this talent as they grew up in Coral Springs, Fla.?

His oldest son, Nicholas, 28, is at the second stage of Q-School this week, looking to return to the PGA Tour. Lexi, 16, won the Navistar Classic this summer to become the youngest winner in LPGA history. Curtis, 18, is a freshman on golf scholarship at LSU who might be the most talented of the trio.

“We made it fun,” Judy said. “Golf was never a chore. It was never, 'You have to go hit two pyramids of balls today at the range.' Scott always made it fun, with games, closest-to-the-pin contests. Scott never read a golf book or a golf magazine. It’s all come from the heart.”

Lexi is scheduled to tee it up Thursday at the CME Group Titleholders, the LPGA’s season-ending event. It’s her first start since she won at Navistar. With a waiver of the LPGA’s rule requiring members be at least 18 years old, Thompson is set to join the LPGA as a full member next year.

“Having my dad on the bag [at Navistar], sharing the experience with me, it was everything I could ask for,” Lexi said.

Judy Thompson’s devotion can’t be overlooked in the family’s golf success, but she will tell you she’s pleased her husband, Scott, is back on Lexi’s bag as caddie this week, and that he plans to continue to caddie for her when she joins the tour as a member next year.

Scott made his money as a manufacturer of transformers. Today, he makes his living as an investor. Though Scott said he would ultimately like to turn caddie duties over to a professional, Lexi wants him on her bag now. And Scott will tell you he’s becoming less father and more caddie when he’s between the ropes.

“I’m dad about zero of the time when I’m out there now,” Scott said. “It’s a job.”

Scott has taken some criticism over the last year for not surrendering the caddie role to a pro, but he’s trying to approach the duties as a professional. Scott said he will ultimately find somebody to take over, but his daughter trusts him most right now. Scott’s in charge of yardages, helps her pull clubs, but he doesn’t read greens. And he doesn’t take a percentage of her winnings or a weekly salary for his caddie pay.

“I get my room and my meals paid for,” Scott said. “So, she saves money.

“She’s learning to make more decisions on her own out there. There are still times, under the heat of battle, where she’s not ready to pull that club. She is wanting my reinforcement, but she’s usually on cruise control. I’m just giving her yardages and hoofing with the bag. Not a whole lot of input from me anymore.”

The caddie/dad role was scrutinized in the spring at Avnet, where Lexi was the 54-hole leader but melted down at the 14th hole on Sunday. She hit a wedge in the water there on her way to a double bogey. She hit the wrong club.

“They beat me up a little bit about that,” Thompson said of media scrutiny. “I thought it was a little downwind. I told her to nuke a wedge. Really, I didn’t think about how she wasn’t hitting the ball solid all day. I was still thinking birdie, that we still have a chance and we have to birdie some holes coming in. I gave her a club I thought she could make birdie with, because I thought the other clubs would go long. She mishit it, it went on the bank and went back in the water . . .

“You learn, but it was painful.”

The lessons paid a dividend with the father/daughter combo winning at Navistar.

“We got pretty emotional,” Lexi said. “It’s a great memory I’ll never forget.”

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee birdied the 18th hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship.

Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round around the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18, a reachable par 5. Her second shot landed a few feet to the right of the green, and she calmly chipped to about 3 feet

She made the putt to finish at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. It was the Australian standout's fourth career victory and first since 2016.

Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst shot an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

The 52-year-old Englishman finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).

Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory. He won six times on the European Tour and has three European Senior Tour victories.

BYU men's golf team BYU

Sunday rule proves no advantage for BYU at NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 27, 2018, 10:06 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – For all the kvetching about the advantage BYU would gain by not playing on Sunday with the other teams at the NCAA Championship, one small thing was conveniently forgotten.

What happens if the Cougars were actually disadvantaged?

That’s what appears to have happened here at Karsten Creek.

Because the Mormon-run school prohibits athletics on Sunday, the NCAA accommodated BYU using its “Sunday Play” rule for the first time in the match-play era. (It was the team’s first NCAA berth since 2006.) That meant that BYU played its practice round last Wednesday, before the start of the final match of the NCAA Women’s Championship. The next day, the Cougars played their Sunday round – the third round of stroke-play qualifying – a half hour after the other 29 teams completed their practice round.

Some coaches grumbled about the issue of competitive fairness: What if BYU played in calm conditions for its third round on Thursday, while everybody else competed in rain and 30-mph winds come Sunday?

BYU coach Bruce Brockbank has been on the NCAA competition committee for the past four years, but even he was curious about how it would all play out.

For the practice round, the NCAA informed the Cougars that they needed to be off the course by 1:30 p.m. local time, a little more than a half hour before the start of the women’s final between Arizona and Alabama. All six players got a look at the course in 5 hours and 30 minutes – or an hour and 15 minutes less than the official Thursday practice round – and needed to run between shots on the 17th and 18th holes to finish on time.

Brockbank tried to prepare his players for what they would face Thursday. It’s a different experience without a playing marker – not seeing another shot affected by the wind, not watching another ball break on the greens, not falling into a rhythm with pace – but perhaps no amount of simulated rounds would have helped.

Playing as singles, with only a rules official and a walking scorer by its side, BYU began its NCAA Championship at 4 p.m. local time Thursday. The Cougars got in only a few holes before the horn sounded to suspend play. It turned out to be a two-hour weather delay, and players slapped it around a sloppy, soggy course until dark, with their last single on the 11th hole.

They returned the next morning, at 6:55, and wrapped up their round in an hour and a half before turning around for another 18.

Their final tally? They shot 24-over 312 – easily the worst third-round score of any team.

“We obviously didn’t handle it very well,” Brockbank said, “but it definitely wasn’t an advantage.”

BYU rebounded the next two rounds, with scores of 298-286, putting the team squarely inside the top-15 cut line.

“And six or seven hours,” he said, “we were right there with the best teams in the country.”

But then the third-round scores got posted, and it was clear that they had no chance of advancing past the 54-hole cut.

“It was pretty frustrating to watch our guys,” he said. “We just didn’t handle it very well.”

The same was true for the team’s best player, senior Patrick Fishburn. With just the first and second round counting, Fishburn (67-72) was in a tie for second, one shot off the individual lead, heading into Sunday. Then his third-round 78 from Thursday was posted, and he tumbled down the leaderboard, needing help just to advance to the final round of stroke-play qualifying.

“I’d rather have it this way,” Brockbank said. “If we had shot 5 under par and everyone else is over par, I don’t want to hear that wrath. The coaches wouldn’t put up with that. The fact that we’re not a factor, it’ll go away. But if the day did go well, it would have been a different story.”

Still, it was a strange dynamic Sunday, as a team competing in the NCAA Championship never even made it to the course – Brockbank preferred that the guys stay away from Karsten Creek, if only for appearances.

They went to a local church for three hours, then ate lunch and retired to the team hotel, where they watched TV and studied and played chess. Fishburn has another round to play Monday, but he didn’t even hit balls.

“I don’t think he’s even concerned about that – it’s just a nice, quiet Sabbath day,” Brockbank said. “But as a coach, it’s definitely a little odd.”