Park wins second major in a row

By Randall MellJune 10, 2013, 1:15 am

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – If your house is burning down, you want Inbee Park around.

Firemen don’t charge in and out of trouble saving prized possessions as unflappably as Park does.

She looked fireproof winning the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

Time and time again over Sunday’s marathon finish, Park put herself in trouble only to emerge unscathed. She saved pars, she saved bogeys, and she finally saved the day defeating Catriona Matthew in a playoff.

“It’s almost a miracle I won today,” Park said.

Wegmans LPGA Championship: Articles, videos and photos

Park withstood all the infernal heat she kept putting on herself to win her third major championship, her second in a row. She added this title to her Kraft Nabisco triumph in April to become just the third player in nearly 40 years to win the year’s first two major championships.

Park, 24, padded her Rolex world No. 1 ranking claiming her fourth LPGA title this season and the third major championship of her career. She’s two-fifths of the way to the grandest of Grand Slam possibilities with the LPGA having added a fifth major this year.

Park closed out Matthew with a birdie at the third playoff hole, but she won because she saved so many pars.

“I actually thought I was lucky to get in a playoff,” Park said. “I scrambled so well. I was just hitting it everywhere.”

Park hit just six fairways in the final round. She hit just eight greens in regulation. She shot 75 with bogeys over three of the final five holes, including a dispiriting one at the final hole that forced the playoff.

With that magical putter of Park’s, it didn’t ultimately matter. Park knows how to erase mistakes with her putter better than any player in the women’s game. It’s the envy of strokes on tour.

Park rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt to close out Matthew and end a wickedly long day of golf.

“When she starts holing putts, she can hole a lot,” Matthew said.

From sun-up to sundown, they played Sunday at Locust Hill, making up for Thursday’s wash-out. With the three playoff holes, Park and Matthew played 39 holes over 11 hours.

“I felt like I ran a marathon today,” Park said. “I wasn’t looking forward to going extra holes. It was a tough day out there, very tired, especially when you’re missing fairways and have to go from the rough. That’s really tough.”

The victory resonated beyond personal achievement. It resonated with national pride.

Park won South Korea its fourth consecutive major championship. The run goes back to Na Yeon Choi’s victory at the U.S. Women’s Open last summer, Jiyai Shin’s victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and Park’s Kraft Nabisco title this spring.

It’s the ninth consecutive major championship title for Asia.

Park started Sunday’s marathon two shots behind Morgan Pressel. With a 4-under-par 68 in the morning, she took a one-shot lead on Pressel into the afternoon’s final round. Park had about 20 minutes for lunch before heading back out for the final round, and she started that strong. She built herself a three-shot lead on Pressel on the back nine and looked like she was going to run away, but her errant driving caught up with her in Locust Hill’s gnarly rough. She bogeyed the 14th, 16th and 18th holes.

Matthew was four shots behind Park stepping to the 15th tee. Matthew birdied the 17th with Park making a mess behind her.

“I looked at the leaderboard at 18 and was quite surprised two putts could get me in a playoff,” Matthew said.

Pressel fought hard, but she ended up one horeshoed putt away from a playoff. Pressel’s 40-foot putt for birdie at the 14th was halfway down the hole and spun out back at her. She tied for third just a shot out of the playoff.

“I didn’t think Inbee would give me as much of a window as she did,” Pressel said. “When she gave me a window, I gave it right back to her.”

In the end, Park prevailed refusing to give in to frustration. After spraying so many drives in the final round, she hit all three fairways in the playoff.

“I really tried to fight and not give up,” Park said.

Getty Images

Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

Getty Images

Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.

Getty Images

Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

Getty Images

Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters: