M.H. Lee tops Webb after wild week at Ladies Scottish

By Randall MellJuly 30, 2017, 7:06 pm

IRVINE, Scotland – The weather blew more than bone-chilling wind and sideways rain into four days of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.

It blew in some crazy storylines.

How about Mi Hyang Lee winning Sunday after showing up at the start of the week in a bit of a panic when she got off the plane in Glasgow and discovered her clubs didn’t arrive with her?

How about Hall of Famer Karrie Webb skillfully avoiding all the bunkers around Dundonald Links through 70 holes until finding a pot bunker at the 17th  hole on Sunday? She was so stymied she had to play out backwards, setting up a double bogey. It would lead to her undoing after building a two-shot lead with three holes to play.

And how about Webb’s frustration not knowing if she needed a birdie or an eagle at the last to force a playoff with Lee?

Because . . .

“There was no leaderboard at the 18th,” Webb said. “It’s pretty bad to not have a leaderboard at the last.”

For Lee, who said she also didn’t know where she stood closing out with birdie at the last, playing in front of Webb, there was no denying her brilliant ball striking.

The 24-year-old South Korean played fabulously through tough weekend conditions. Though Lee didn’t see the heaviest of the rain at Saturday’s end, nobody escaped the brutish cold and hard winds that day brought.

Tied for 39th at 4-over par at the beginning of the weekend, Lee rallied from nine shots back to win her second LPGA title. She did it with a 68 on Saturday and a 66 on Sunday to finish one shot ahead of Webb and Mi Jung Hur.

Nobody else shot in the 60s both Saturday and Sunday.

“Big confidence from this win,” Lee said. “Gets me ready for the British Open next week.”

Lee will join the women’s best at Kingsbarns just outside St. Andrews for the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

Lee’s excited about the fact that she’ll have her own clubs for the entire week as she bids to win her first major.

Lee flew from Boston to Iceland to Glasgow before the Ladies Scottish.

“I always wanted to see Iceland,” Lee said.

The downside was that her golf clubs spent way too much time in Iceland. They didn’t make Lee’s flight.

Lee said she had no idea where her ball was going during her Tuesday practice round in the high winds that she played with rental clubs featuring irons with regular shafts, instead of the stiff shafts she is accustomed to.

“My ball was flying everywhere,” Lee said.

Lee’s clubs showed up Wednesday, and she got to play nine holes in the pro-am with them, but only after a player withdrew, opening a pro-am spot for her.

Remarkably, Lee said this was just her third time playing in Scotland. She looked as if she grew up playing these tough conditions. In fact, Lee said she did learn to play in the wind after moving near the Incheon airport in South Korea when she was about 13. She said the wind always seems to blow hard off the Yellow Sea.

“It was like playing island golf,” Lee said.

Webb, 42, looked as if she was going to sew up her 42nd LPGA title - her first in three years - when she chipped in for eagle at the 14th to go two ahead of Lee. But Webb bogeyed the 16th, then ultimately lost the event after hitting her drive into a pot bunker at the 17th.

“I bent down, picked my tee up, thought I hit a perfect drive there,” Webb said.

Webb thought she “knotted” her 3-wood into position to set up birdie, but her caddie, Johnny Scott, delivered the bad news.

“He said it kicked into the bunker,” Webb said. “I have no idea how it did that.”

With Lee making birdie in front of her, Webb found herself two shots back at the last tee, but she said she didn’t know where she stood there.

There is a jumbo-sized TV screen at the 18th green, where the scoreboard was occasionally shown, along with live TV action and graphics, but there is no fixed leaderboard there.

Needing to make eagle, Webb knocked her second shot into the left greenside bunker. Webb said she didn’t know if she needed to make eagle or birdie when she set up over the bunker shot.

“That’s frustrating, to not know what you need to do,” Webb said.

Asked about the lack of a full-time scoreboard at the 18th, a tournament staffer said there were walking scorekeepers with each group who could have relayed Lee’s score to Webb. Blasting out of the greenside bunker, Webb ended up 8 feet short and holed the birdie putt.

In the end, Lee finished strongest, and it makes her a player to watch again this week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open

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Lauren Thompson and a giant 'gator eating a turtle

By Grill Room TeamApril 19, 2018, 4:53 pm

Really, the headline says it all.

"Morning Drive" co-host Lauren Thompson was playing the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes on Thursday in Orlando, Fla., when her threesome turned into a foursome, with the appearance of a giant alligator. Techincally, it was a fivesome, as the 'gator had a turtle in its mouth.

Hey, it's a slow news week for Grill Room.

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Sources confirm Charles Schwab to sponsor Colonial event

By Rex HoggardApril 19, 2018, 2:42 pm

Multiple sources have confirmed to GolfChannel.com that officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation.

Tournament officials scrambled this year after Dean & DeLuca ended its sponsorship of the event just two years into a six-year agreement, pulling together an assortment of local sponsors and renaming the event the Fort Worth Invitational.

Colonial’s status on the PGA Tour schedule became even more uncertain when the PGA Championship announced it would move from August to May, beginning in 2019 as part of a major overhaul of the circuit’s schedule.

According to the Dallas News, and confirmed by multiple sources at the club, officials plan to announce the new long-term agreement with Charles Schwab on Monday that will begin in 2019.

News of a long-term sponsorship deal would also suggest the event will remain in May in 2019 and beyond. The Tour has indicated it plans to announce the ’19 schedule at next month’s Players Championship.

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PNC Extends Title Sponsorship of PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 19, 2018, 1:00 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., April 19, 2018 – IMG and NBC Sports today announced that The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. has extended its contract as title sponsor of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, the tournament that pairs the games’ legends alongside their sons, daughters and grandchildren.

PNC’s multi-year extension as title sponsor keeps the PGA Tour Challenge Event in Orlando reflecting the bank’s commitment to Central Florida. PNC has served as title sponsor of the tournament since 2012. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes will continue to play host to the PNC Father/Son Challenge. The 2018 PNC Father/Son Challenge will take place Friday-Sunday, Dec. 14-16, with television coverage on Golf Channel and NBC.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge long ago became one of my family’s favorite golf tournaments,” said 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus. “I have had the pleasure of playing with my sons, and last year, partnering with my 15-year-old grandson GT was a thrill. I am delighted the event—a uniquely special one to us fathers and grandfathers, and perhaps to the many fans out there watching from home or outside the ropes—will continue for many years to come.”

“After our victory in 2016, I said that this win was as good as anything I have done in my career,” said former World No. 1 and major champion David Duval, who alongside his stepson Nick Karavites captured the 2016 title. “I felt blessed to have Nick inside the ropes with me and to have our family surrounding us all week. That’s what makes the PNC Father/Son Challenge so special, and I’m pleased to hear that PNC has extended its support of the event. This golf tournament means so much to all of us who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in this event.”

The tournament also holds three events in qualifier markets per year. This year they will be in Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge allows fans to see golf’s legends playing the game they love alongside those they love most,” said Alastair Johnston, vice chairman, IMG. “We are grateful for PNC’s ongoing support of this unique tournament and we look forward to returning to Orlando to celebrate golf and family for many years to come.”

Community support is a key aspect of the tournament and PNC’s sponsorship. PNC is committed to donating $150,000 annually to local non-profits over the life of its sponsorship. Across six previous years of title sponsorship, PNC has already donated $900,000 to Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to support the “Healthy Families Orange” program. Over the years, PNC has also had the opportunity through this tournament to co-host events for local women in business, to put on clinics and provide free access to the tournament for active military, and even provide a service dog for a local veteran.

"PNC's long-standing sponsorship of the Father/Son Challenge reflects the philanthropic values we share with the PGA Tour and the golf community, as well as our focus on strong relationships,” said Bill Demchak, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The PNC Financial Services Group. “As PNC Bank continues to expand its footprint, the PNC Father/Son tournament helps us gain visibility with new audiences and to strengthen the relationships we enjoy today with more than 8 million retail, wealth, and corporate and institutional banking customers across the country.”

“NBC Sports is extremely proud of our heritage as co-founder for the Father/Son Challenge, one of golf’s most special events that closes out the calendar year on the golf schedule,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports. “Our relationship with PNC Bank elevates this event each year as a must-attend and must-see event for players and fans alike, and we look forward to our continued relationship with PNC Bank for years to come.”

Past winners of the PNC Father/Son Challenge include some of the biggest names in golf including Raymond Floyd (1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001), Jack Nicklaus (1999), Bernhard Langer (2005-06, 2014), Davis Love III (2012) and David Duval (2016).  Masters champion Angel Cabrera and his son, Angel Cabrera Jr. captured the 2017 title.

To qualify for the PNC Father/Son Challenge, participants must have won either a major championship or THE PLAYERS Championship in their career. The professional’s partner must not currently hold a Tour card, and while the majority of partners in the history of the event have been the sons of the golf legends, the family-themed tournament has seen daughters, grandsons and one father – Justin Leonard’s dad, Larry – participate over the years.

The PNC Father/Son Challenge is operated in partnership by IMG and NBC Sports.

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Fire damages National Golf Links of America clubhouse

By Will GrayApril 19, 2018, 12:55 pm

A fire broke out Wednesday at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., causing "extensive damage" to a portion of the historic course's clubhouse.

According to a 27East.com report, an initial call was made to the Southampton police department about a fire on the roof of the clubhouse at 11:34 a.m. With the club's gates too narrow to fit a fire truck through, more than 100 firefighters from various departments helped douse the flames by transporting water up a hill to the east side of the clubhouse.

The fire was reportedly extinguished by 2:30 p.m., with no injuries requiring medical attention. According to a Golf Digest report, the club was undergoing construction on its outdoor eating area known as "the Birdcage" and that most of the club's historical documents reside on the opposite end of the clubhouse from where the fire broke out and was contained.

Opened in 1911, National Golf Links of America was designed by C.B. MacDonald and hosted the inaugural Walker Cup in 1922. The biennial matches returned in 2013 to NGLA, which is often rated among the top courses in the U.S. and sits adjacent to Shinnecock Hills, site of this summer's U.S. Open.