Sunday, December 18, 2011

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-18-2011

 LEXI MAKES HISTORY AGAIN
 American teenager Lexi Thompson has made history as the youngest winner on both the LPGA and Ladies European Tours.

The 16-year-old Thompson shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to win the Dubai Ladies Masters, becoming the youngest professional winner on that side of the Atlantic.


Thompson pulled away from Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa to win by four strokes for her second professional victory. In September, she became the youngest winner of an LPGA tournament at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama.


Thompson chipped in for a birdie on No. 9 to take a one-shot lead over Pace and extended her lead with four birdies on the back nine for a 15-under 273 total.


Pace (69) started strong with two birdies and an eagle on her first six holes, but shaky putting on the back nine ended her chances.


The 2010 European Tour money winner, Pace hit her approach shot on No. 12 over the green for her second bogey in five holes.


Sophie Gustafson of Sweden (71) was a shot behind Pace in third place followed by four players another shot back.


Michelle Wie (72) came into the final round five shots behind leader Thompson. She fell out of contention with two bogeys and a double-bogey on the front nine, finishing tied for 12th.



POULTER STORMS BACK GETS AUSSIE MASTERS WIN
 Ian Poulter won the Australian Masters on Sunday, spoiling Geoff Ogilvy’s bid for a victory on his boyhood course.


Poulter, two strokes behind Ogilvy entering the round, closed with a 4-under 67 in windy conditions to finish at 15-under 269 at Victoria Golf Club.


Australian Marcus Fraser had a 64 to finish second, three strokes back. Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion who matched the course record with a 63 on Saturday, shot a 73 to end up third at 11 under.


Poulter erased Ogilvy’s overnight lead with a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-4 first hole. He then hit a birdie on the seventh to take the outright lead and added another on the ninth to make the turn with a two-shot advantage.


World No. 1 Luke Donald had four birdies on the front nine to move up to fifth place, but followed with four bogeys on the back nine to finish with a 1-over 72 and a share of 12th.


Greg Chalmers failed in his bid to become the second player to complete the Australian Triple Crown, shooting a 74 to join Donald in the group at 4 under. Robert Allenby remains the only player to sweep the Australian Open, PGA and Masters. He accomplished the feat in 2005.




WESTWOOD GETS FOURTH WIN OF THE YEAR
Lee Westwood brushed aside a challenge from Masters champion Charl Schwartzel to win the $1 million Thailand Golf Championship by seven strokes.

 Westwood's fourth victory of the season, moved him up to world number two, replacing Rory McIlroy.


The Englishman had played fine golf all week including a stunning 12-under-par 60 in the first round.


He shot 69 in his final round to finish the tournament on 266, an impressive 22 under par, for his third win in Asia this season.


Schwartzel fought hard and briefly threatened the leader, but the South African had to settle for the runner-up spot after shooting an even-par 72.


Little-known American Michael Thompson  finished  in third place, one shot back, while tied for  fourth place two strokes further back were Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol and Simon Dyson of England.


There was drama at the par-five 11th when Schwartzel sunk an eagle while Westwood missed a birdie putt, resulting in a two-shot swing to the South African and cutting the lead to three.


Both players birdied the 12th but Westwood also picked up a stroke at the 13th to restore his four-shot lead.


Schwartzel's challenge effectively ended at the next hole when a poor chip saw him make a bogey, leaving Westwood five shots clear with just four to play. He went on to stretch the lead by a further two strokes.


John Daly finished tied for 16th after shooting 75 in the final round while Sergio Garcia recorded a 71 for a tie for 24th place.


Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa finished what was a miserable tournament for him with a 73, well down the field on a total of 297, nine over par.




 IN OTHER NEWS
 Two-time major champion Sandy Lyle and British commentator Peter Alliss will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year after being selected Thursday for the Class of 2012.

Lyle was elected through the international ballot after winning 29 tournaments worldwide, including the 1985 British Open and the 1988 Masters, where he became the first British winner at Augusta.

Alliss commentated on both of Lyle’s major victories after beginning his career behind the microphone for the BBC in 1961. He had previously won 23 tournaments as a player and was selected for all but one of Britain and Ireland’s Ryder Cup teams from 1953-69.

They will be inducted along with American writer Dan Jenkins and American players Phil Mickelson and Hollis Stacy at a ceremony at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, in May.

Lyle, who currently plays on the European Senior Tour, was elected ahead of Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, Ian Woosnam of Wales and Retief Goosen of South Africa in the international voting.

Also, legendary journalist Dan Jenkins, 82, becomes the first living golf writer selected for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame



Tom Lehman now has won player of the year at every stage of his career.

Lehman has been voted the Champions Tour player of the year after a season in which he won three times and won the Charles Schwab Cup. Lehman also won the money list, the only Champions Tour player to surpass $2 million.

Two decades ago, Lehman was player of the year on what then was called the Hogan Tour. He was voted player of the year on the PGA Tour in 1996 when he won the money list and two tournaments, including the British Open for his lone major.

Lehman said Wednesday this award means as much as the other two because he set a goal to become the first player to win all three.



Luke Donald added yet another prize to his glittering list of honors for 2011, picking up the European Tour’s Golfer of the Year award on Thursday.

Shedding his “underachiever” tag, the 34-year-old Englishman won three titles on the European Tour and finished in the top 10 in 20 of his 26 tournaments worldwide, helping him become the first player to officially win money lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two days after becoming the first Englishman to be voted the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year since the inaugural award in 1990, Donald picked up the European equivalent for the first time.



The U.S. PGA Tour has agreed to loan the Canadian Tour money and assist next year in tournament development and sponsorship.

The amount of the loan wasn’t disclosed Wednesday.

“Understanding its current financial issues, the PGA Tour has agreed to lend support to the Canadian Tour in 2012,” said Ed Moorhouse, the PGA Tour’s co-chief operating officer. “Our goal is to help lend stability to the Canadian Tour, which we believe plays an important role in professional golf and has proven to be a valuable system for developing players over the years.

The Canadian Tour has been a full member of the International Federation of PGA Tours since 2009.



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