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CN Canadian Women’s Open: I was there, were you?

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By Vince Robitaille

GolfWRX Staff Writer

Significant sporting events are somehow hard to come by. We’ve all witnessed a thriller once in a while. We’ve all stood there rooting for the overwhelming underdog to complete the comeback. Rarely though, do we get to say “I was there” or  “I saw that” when a defining moment in a sport’s history is discussed. Well, if you watched Lydia Ko’s victory this weekend, congratulations folks, you can now pull the line off.

Not only did the young Auckland, New Zealand resident win an LPGA event as an amateur on Sunday, a feat that last occurred months before the original Woodstock, she did so at a National Open that was a major in the pre-Cigarette Ban era, a mere decade ago. Just there, the performance could be described as top-tier. If we add the fact that she became the youngest winner on Tour at 15 years, 4 months and 2 days old – sorry Lexi – or that she’s the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, we’re reaching a whole other level. Of course, one could argue that said level could be named Matteo Manassero-level, but the Italian captured The Amateur two years before his first professional win at a rather minor European Tour event.

To further keep things in perspective, the scale by which all golfers are now judged – Tiger Woods – only made the cut on 7 occasions as an amateur for a batting average 0.412. Oh, before I forget, those stats covered a four-year period that ranged from age 16 to 20. Ko is just 15, and has notched her second professional victory; the other coming in the Bing Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open back in January. If you can do the math, she was 14 years old at the time.

The newest prodigy’s Canadian visit began with a decision that brought us back to the Fuzzy heydays at Augusta National, i.e. picking a local rounder to handle bag duties for the duration of the Championship. In the modern era of golf, this could be seen as a move with high probabilities of backfiring, especially for a still “immature” golfer; psychological backup and comfort zone being forfeited for unparalleled course knowledge. Once more, however, the advantages trumped the possible cons. Ko’s stoic attitude could, of course, have something to do with this.

After a sneaky 68 that had her sitting in third place behind LPGA forerunners Yani Tseng – resurging briefly only to fade away – and Na Yeon Choi, Ko’s steady climb to the top of the leaderboard culminated in a bind with Chella Choi after 36 holes. Moving day represented the only bump in the eventual champion’s proverbial road, but sometimes you’ve simply done enough work before moving day to render it obsolete. In fact, despite Ko staying stuck in neutral all day – four missed three-footers representing the main reason for such a stall – the South Korea-native found herself ahead of the pack as her closest pursuers headed backwards and her previous lead on rest of the field had them covered. Interestingly enough, Saturday’s round saw two other former every-week-contenders lurking around in hopes of a disastrous stumble by the 2012 Robert Cox Cup recipient, namely Suzann Pettersen and Jiyai Shin. Much like the pair previously alluded to, the former’s blunders left her shaking her head as the latter climbed on the podium’s last step.

The final round looked like it would lead to a highly polarized outcome, a sad return to reality for an astounding athlete and the crowd supporting her or the celebration of a new hero. Seven birdies, four of which came right after the turn, sealed the Tiger Red-wearing Ko’s fate pretty quickly. On-lookers catching a piece of golfing history weren’t the only lucky ones this weekend. The CN Canadian Women’s Open champion’s reiteration of her intention to enroll at Stanford University saved LPGA executives from having to deal with another case of Lexithompsonitis. I guess that the Tour’s petition procedure incongruities will have to be revised some other time. For now, I was there. I saw that.

Click here for more discussion in the “LPGA/Ladies Golf Talk” forum. 

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  1. Alessandra

    Nov 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Just keep focusing on golf and when the time comes to cross the birdge, you’ll find a way. But it’s very hard to stick with golf especially with ur handicap. that’s my handicap and i’m grade 8

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Tour News

REPORT: Tiger Woods to play in the Genesis Open on Feb 15

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Last season, Tiger Woods withdrew from a press conference at the Genesis Open due to back spasms. This season, Woods will reportedly play in the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades, California from February 15-18.

By withdrawing from the 2017 Genesis Open — an event which his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts — Woods ensured that a promising comeback was not to be. At the start of 2017, Woods committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic… an aggressive schedule for Woods, who hadn’t played much competitive golf in the previous year due to back injuries and surgeries. Things didn’t go as planned, however, as Woods missed the cut at the Farmers, withdrew after an opening-round 77 in Dubai, and withdrew from the Genesis Open and the Honda.

Since then, Woods has had spinal fusion surgery, and he recently finished T9 at the 18-player 2017 Hero World Challenge. It was there he showed the golfing world — and probably himself, too — that he can still compete among the world’s best golfers when he’s healthy.

At the Hero World Challenge, Woods was consistently hitting 179 mph of ball speed off the tee with his driver, and despite some early concerns with the wedge, he showed prowess around and on the greens. He was yip-less, fast, healthy, and finished 8-under through four rounds. A Tiger Woods comeback seems more plausible now than it has in three years.

Woods will continue to test his game at the 2017 Genesis Open — a start that will come 26 years after competing as a 16-year-old amateur in the 1992 Nissan Open at Riviera. Much like 26 years ago, Woods comes to Riviera as a golfer who needs to prove himself… it’s just that this time around, he has 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins to his name.

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Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

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Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

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Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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