A league of her own

By Randall MellJune 27, 2011, 12:44 am

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – If there were any doubts, Yani Tseng erased them Sunday at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

Tseng has officially arrived as the dominant new force in the women’s game.

With her brilliant runaway at Locust Hill Country Club, Tseng separated herself in the race to see who's going to succeed Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa as the LPGA’s best player.

The Yani Tseng Era’s begun in earnest.

“Yani is a phenomenal golfer,” Suzann Pettersen said. “She is the new No. 1, and she pushes the edges like Annika used to do, like Lorena used to do. Now, Yani’s getting an edge on us.”

With a flurry of birdies, Tseng didn’t march through the record book so much as she stormed through it.

A closing 6-under-par 66 pushed Tseng to a place no player in the modern era’s ever been.

At 22, she claimed her fourth major championship before any man or woman since Young Tom Morris.

At 19 under, Tseng equaled the record for lowest score in relation to par in a men’s or women’s major.

Her 10-shot rout wasn’t as large as Cristie Kerr’s 12-shot romp in this event a year ago, but it still stands as the fifth largest victory margin in women’s major championship history.

“Walking up the 18th hole, I almost cried, I was so emotional,” Tseng said.

Remarkably, Tseng heads to the U.S. Women’s Open in less than two weeks looking to complete the career grand slam. She’s already claimed six worldwide victories this year, three LPGA titles. She’ll head to the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs looking to win her third consecutive LPGA event.

With a formidable combination of power and precision, Tseng overwhelmed Locust Hill. Cindy LaCrosse, playing alongside Tseng, had the best vantage point to see history in the making.

“I knew she hit it long, but she outdrove me by about 60 yards on No. 3,” LaCrosse said. “I was like, `Oh man, this is going to be a long day.’ That was kind of embarrassing.

“It was inspiring watching her.”

Tseng got a hug from her swing coach, Gary Gilchrist, after leaving the scoring trailer.

“Today was such an impressive round of golf, it’s unbelievable,” Gilchrist said. “It was one of the best rounds I’ve ever seen, coming in the final round of a major championship.”

Gilchrist was pleased the way Tseng bounced back from losing the final-round lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in the year’s first major. They’ve spent almost as much time since then talking about being comfortable with the expectations of being the world’s best player as they have Tseng’s swing.

Tseng’s losing a two-shot lead to Stacy Lewis at Kraft hung over this major.

“Yani’s the bounce-back queen,” Gilchrist said.

Sunday’s performance left fellow players gaping as they surveyed leaderboards.

Paula Creamer said she was at the 17th hole when she saw Tseng racing to a record low.

“Incredible,” she said.

Kerr, the only player in the field who knows what running away like that feels like, was equally impressed.

“She’s in the prime of her career,” Kerr said. “She’s found her stride at a young age.”

Stacy Lewis came from behind to beat Tseng in the final round at Kraft, but she could see the chase to catch Tseng goes beyond the LPGA Championship.

“We have to get better,” Lewis said.

Tseng’s bounce back wasn’t just from losing the Kraft. It was from a stumble at the first tee at Locust Hill.

With Tseng in the backswing of her opening drive, a photographer fired away. She hooked her drive in the left rough and glared back at the photographer. She ended up making bogey at the first hole.

“We’ve spoken about things like that, about how we need to expect the unexpected,” Gilchrist said. “If you are going to allow those things to bother you, you’re going to be in trouble.”

At the second hole, Tseng carved a 9-iron to 18 inches to set up an easy bounce-back birdie.

“It was the turning point,” Tseng said of following her opening bogey with three consecutive birdies.

At the Kraft Nabisco, Tseng admitted making a mistake grabbing the Dinah Shore Trophy at the first tee before the final round began. She said she didn’t even see the LPGA Championship Trophy on display at the first tee Sunday at Locust Hill. Afterward, though, with the trophy aside her in the post-round news conference, she beamed at it.

“I can touch it now,” she cracked.

Tseng looks like she’ll be touching a lot of trophies in the coming years.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 9:30 pm

Tiger Woods began the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-shot lead, and he's cruising at East Lake. We're tracking him.

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

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“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”