.

Bubble time for players trying to make Presidents Cup

USA Today Sports Images

NORTON, Mass. -- Bill Haas is grinding harder than ever in the FedEx Cup playoffs, only the immediate goal has nothing to do with a $10 million bonus.

He wants a chance to play for no money at all.

Haas is No. 11 in the Presidents Cup standings. The Deutsche Bank Championship, which starts Friday, is the final event for the top 10 players to earn automatic spots on the U.S. team for the Oct. 8-11 matches in South Korea.

TEE TIMES: Deutsche Bank Championship

Haas, who has played on the last two Presidents Cup teams, already gets enough attention for being on the bubble. It gets even more acute because his father, Jay Haas, is the U.S. captain for the first time.

So he wasn't surprised to be stopped on his way to the putting green Wednesday at the TPC Boston. Nor was he bothered when he was asked Sunday at The Barclays, after closing with a 74 to fall down the leaderboard, whether he was pressing too much because his father is the captain.

His round went south on the 12th hole last week when he tried to play out of a hazard in a bid to make birdie, and he wound up making triple bogey. Haas doesn't feel any more pressure trying to make the Presidents Cup team as he did trying to make the Ryder Cup team a year ago, or trying to win a tournament.

It's all part of golf.

"If a 400-pound bear chases you, are you more scared than if a 200-pound bear is chasing you?" he said. "You're still scared and still running fast as (you can). It stinks that I'm close this year. Then again, if I'm 25th, you're not asking me the question. So it's good that you're asking the question. It's a good problem."

Jordan Spieth has been a lock for the team sometime after he collected his two majors this year. He is followed in the standings by Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, British Open champion Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar.

Chris Kirk is at No. 10, coming off a hand injury that forced him to miss two majors and a World Golf Championship. He returned to competition last week and missed the cut, and he is the defending champion at the Deutsche Bank.

"I really, really would love to make the team," Kirk said. "But it's not like I can go out and hit balls on the range this afternoon, like I'm going to hit an extra bucket of balls so I can make The Presidents Cup team. You just and play and try to play the best you can, and see how it works out."

Haas would need at least fifth place alone this week to move past Kirk, and the others behind him would have to play even better, such as Houston Open winner J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker. Horschel has had only two top 10s since he won the FedEx Cup last year.

Jay Haas will get two captain's picks, and the players outside the top 10 all seem to know the drill. It's best to not have it come down to being a pick.

That includes the captain's son.

Jay Haas was an assistant captain in 2011 when his son was picked. Then again, Bill Haas had just won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

"I can't imagine me trying any less if he wasn't the captain," Bill Haas said. "I'm going to do my best. A lot of times, your best isn't good enough, and sometimes it is. He wants me to make the team like he wanted me to make the Ryder Cup team last year. But he's also going to choose the player he thinks is best for the team. I don't think he's going to tell me, 'Bill, you weren't good enough.' He's going to say, 'This guy was playing really well and I had to pick him.'

"There won't be a conversation we're going to have that's like, 'Why didn't you pick me, Dad?' I'm going to understand why he doesn't. And I'll understand why he does."

Brooks Koepka gets a lot of attention as a potential pick, though he missed the cut for only the second time this year at The Barclays. Koepka didn't see that as overly detrimental because it was his seventh in eight weeks. He found a quiet spot on the beach near Rhode Island to relax for a few days, and then played a practice round Wednesday with Davis Love III, an assistant captain for the Presidents Cup.

Koepka has never been on any bubble, "except maybe in school when I was trying to go from a C to a B." What will it take to get him on his first U.S. team?

"Win," he said. "It's pretty simple."

By
Doug Ferguson

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 | 7:04 p.m.

NORTON, Mass. -- Bill Haas is grinding harder than ever in the FedEx Cup playoffs, only the immediate goal has nothing to do with a $10 million bonus.

He wants a chance to play for no money at all.

Haas is No. 11 in the Presidents Cup standings. The Deutsche Bank Championship, which starts Friday, is the final event for the top 10 players to earn automatic spots on the U.S. team for the Oct. 8-11 matches in South Korea.

TEE TIMES: Deutsche Bank Championship

Haas, who has played on the last two Presidents Cup teams, already gets enough attention for being on the bubble. It gets even more acute because his father, Jay Haas, is the U.S. captain for the first time.

So he wasn't surprised to be stopped on his way to the putting green Wednesday at the TPC Boston. Nor was he bothered when he was asked Sunday at The Barclays, after closing with a 74 to fall down the leaderboard, whether he was pressing too much because his father is the captain.

His round went south on the 12th hole last week when he tried to play out of a hazard in a bid to make birdie, and he wound up making triple bogey. Haas doesn't feel any more pressure trying to make the Presidents Cup team as he did trying to make the Ryder Cup team a year ago, or trying to win a tournament.

It's all part of golf.

"If a 400-pound bear chases you, are you more scared than if a 200-pound bear is chasing you?" he said. "You're still scared and still running fast as (you can). It stinks that I'm close this year. Then again, if I'm 25th, you're not asking me the question. So it's good that you're asking the question. It's a good problem."

Jordan Spieth has been a lock for the team sometime after he collected his two majors this year. He is followed in the standings by Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, British Open champion Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar.

Chris Kirk is at No. 10, coming off a hand injury that forced him to miss two majors and a World Golf Championship. He returned to competition last week and missed the cut, and he is the defending champion at the Deutsche Bank.

"I really, really would love to make the team," Kirk said. "But it's not like I can go out and hit balls on the range this afternoon, like I'm going to hit an extra bucket of balls so I can make The Presidents Cup team. You just and play and try to play the best you can, and see how it works out."

Haas would need at least fifth place alone this week to move past Kirk, and the others behind him would have to play even better, such as Houston Open winner J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker. Horschel has had only two top 10s since he won the FedEx Cup last year.

Jay Haas will get two captain's picks, and the players outside the top 10 all seem to know the drill. It's best to not have it come down to being a pick.

That includes the captain's son.

Jay Haas was an assistant captain in 2011 when his son was picked. Then again, Bill Haas had just won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

"I can't imagine me trying any less if he wasn't the captain," Bill Haas said. "I'm going to do my best. A lot of times, your best isn't good enough, and sometimes it is. He wants me to make the team like he wanted me to make the Ryder Cup team last year. But he's also going to choose the player he thinks is best for the team. I don't think he's going to tell me, 'Bill, you weren't good enough.' He's going to say, 'This guy was playing really well and I had to pick him.'

"There won't be a conversation we're going to have that's like, 'Why didn't you pick me, Dad?' I'm going to understand why he doesn't. And I'll understand why he does."

Brooks Koepka gets a lot of attention as a potential pick, though he missed the cut for only the second time this year at The Barclays. Koepka didn't see that as overly detrimental because it was his seventh in eight weeks. He found a quiet spot on the beach near Rhode Island to relax for a few days, and then played a practice round Wednesday with Davis Love III, an assistant captain for the Presidents Cup.

Koepka has never been on any bubble, "except maybe in school when I was trying to go from a C to a B." What will it take to get him on his first U.S. team?

"Win," he said. "It's pretty simple."


European Tour makes exception for McIlroy's injury

Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
European Tour officials announced Rory McIlroy will be able to participate in this year's Race to Dubai.

VIRGINIA WATER, England -- Rory McIlroy will be able to compete in the Race to Dubai even though he will fall short of the minimum 13 tournaments required by the European Tour.

Keith Pelley, the new chief executive of the European Tour, says he consulted with McIlroy and medical officials before agreeing to make an exception for the world's No. 1 player.

McIlroy missed two months this summer because of an ankle injury. He missed three events on the European schedule — the Scottish Open, British Open and Bridgestone Invitational.

He has played nine European events. Players are required to play 13 to be eligible for the Race to Dubai.

McIlroy says he is kept from adding four more events through global commitments, such as the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour, and his recovery program that limits how many weeks he can play in a row.


Series: European Tour

Published: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 | 1:56 p.m.

VIRGINIA WATER, England -- Rory McIlroy will be able to compete in the Race to Dubai even though he will fall short of the minimum 13 tournaments required by the European Tour.

Keith Pelley, the new chief executive of the European Tour, says he consulted with McIlroy and medical officials before agreeing to make an exception for the world's No. 1 player.

McIlroy missed two months this summer because of an ankle injury. He missed three events on the European schedule — the Scottish Open, British Open and Bridgestone Invitational.

He has played nine European events. Players are required to play 13 to be eligible for the Race to Dubai.

McIlroy says he is kept from adding four more events through global commitments, such as the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour, and his recovery program that limits how many weeks he can play in a row.


Fans, players take to social media for Solheim Cup prep

The Solheim Cup
The 2015 Solheim Cup wil be played at the St. Leon-Rot Golf Club in Germany.
By Melissa Blanton
PGA.com

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 | 12:34 p.m.

Melissa Blanton is a Northern California native, sports fan, golf nerd and news junkie.


Iain McLaren
Zachary Abbruzzese

For top players, next two playoff events are practice for East Lake

East Lake
USA Today Sports Images
Two players have missed the first playoff event and gone on to win the FedEx Cup - Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.

NORTON, Mass. – Jordan Spieth has missed three cuts on the PGA Tour this year, and the Barclays rated the most irritating for one reason.

"Because it happened about an hour ago," he said.

It was Spieth's first tournament as No. 1 in the world, and now he's No. 2. There was no reason to be bothered about that because the ranking could change next week, and the race for No. 1 could last for the rest of the year. Maybe even longer.

TEE TIMES: Deutsche Bank Championship

No one likes missing cuts. But for Spieth, there are 10 million reasons why the Barclays was as good a time as any to have a weekend off, none related to the trip he made to Baltusrol ahead of next year's PGA Championship or another visit to Pine Valley.

Because even if he were to miss the cut this week at the TPC Boston, not much will change.

Listening to the top players last week made it clear that only one tournament –the Tour Championship – really matters if they want to win the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus. The rest of the playoff events might as well be lucrative practice rounds.

Yes, that's a stretch.

But it also might become a problem at some point for the PGA Tour.

FLASHBACK: The 2014 FedEx Cup playoffs

Spieth, much like Rory McIlroy last year and Tiger Woods on three occasions, has had such a dominant season that he was assured being among the top five players in the FedExCup finale who had only to win at East Lake to take home golf's richest payoff. It doesn't change if he misses the cut at the Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship and plays poorly in the BMW Championship. That's the reward of a great season.

It also doesn't change if he were to win all three playoff events going into Atlanta. Would his odds have been that much greater?

There is no indication Spieth and other stars will be sitting out events, though it's worth listening to their comments going into the FedExCup playoffs.

"After the major season is over, which is where we wanted to peak, we've sat back over the last week and said, 'How can we get that same momentum to where we can try and peak for the Tour Championship?'" Spieth said when he arrived at Plainfield Country Club.

Bubba Watson, who remained at No. 3 in the FedExCup with his third-place finish at the Barclays, reached the same conclusion.

"It's Atlanta that we're all worried about," Watson said after taking the 36-hole lead at the Barclays. "You can win these next three tournaments, still not win the FedExCup. So Atlanta is where we really need to be peaking."

Woods (2007) and Jim Furyk (2010) are the only players to miss the opening playoff event and still win the FedExCup – Woods by choice, Furyk because he was disqualified for oversleeping and missing his pro-am.

McIlroy skipped the Barclays this year because he wanted an extra week to make sure his left ankle was fully recovered. He dropped six spots to No. 15, meaning he will need a couple of strong finishes to get into the top five at East Lake. McIlroy felt the sting of the FedExCup last year. The dominant player in golf, he had a pair of top 10s leading to Atlanta, finished second in the Tour Championship and lost out to a guy (Billy Horschel) who started at No. 69 and got hot at the right moment.

Horschel has only two top 10s on the PGA Tour since.

It's not part of Spieth's makeup to sit out. The 22-year-old Texan is playing about 27 tournaments around the world each year. Will he change as he gets older?

The PGA Tour is in a tough spot trying to balance a postseason that is compelling to the very end and a system that rewards the best player.

It's really a case of pick your poison.

If it's a yearlong race, there will be times (such as Woods in 2007 or 2009) when the FedExCup in effect is over before the Tour Championship.

To guarantee the FedExCup finale is meaningful, the tour resets the points going into the Tour Championship to give everyone a chance. Furyk was No. 11 when he won in 2010. A year later, Bill Haas was No. 25 when he won the Tour Championship – his only victory that year – and the $10 million bonus.

Two solutions should be considered down the road.

Keep it a yearlong race and gradually increase the value of points in each playoff event, ramping it up even more for the Tour Championship. More players might have a chance, though it doesn't as easily punish greatness. Or penalize players for skipping playoff events by deducting points, enough that it would be an incentive to play.

Because as long as the tour puts so much emphasis into one tournament, the top players in the FedExCup will face this question: Is the temptation to take one week off greater than the incentive to play?

By
Doug Ferguson

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 | 4:24 p.m.

NORTON, Mass. – Jordan Spieth has missed three cuts on the PGA Tour this year, and the Barclays rated the most irritating for one reason.

"Because it happened about an hour ago," he said.

It was Spieth's first tournament as No. 1 in the world, and now he's No. 2. There was no reason to be bothered about that because the ranking could change next week, and the race for No. 1 could last for the rest of the year. Maybe even longer.

TEE TIMES: Deutsche Bank Championship

No one likes missing cuts. But for Spieth, there are 10 million reasons why the Barclays was as good a time as any to have a weekend off, none related to the trip he made to Baltusrol ahead of next year's PGA Championship or another visit to Pine Valley.

Because even if he were to miss the cut this week at the TPC Boston, not much will change.

Listening to the top players last week made it clear that only one tournament –the Tour Championship – really matters if they want to win the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus. The rest of the playoff events might as well be lucrative practice rounds.

Yes, that's a stretch.

But it also might become a problem at some point for the PGA Tour.

FLASHBACK: The 2014 FedEx Cup playoffs

Spieth, much like Rory McIlroy last year and Tiger Woods on three occasions, has had such a dominant season that he was assured being among the top five players in the FedExCup finale who had only to win at East Lake to take home golf's richest payoff. It doesn't change if he misses the cut at the Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship and plays poorly in the BMW Championship. That's the reward of a great season.

It also doesn't change if he were to win all three playoff events going into Atlanta. Would his odds have been that much greater?

There is no indication Spieth and other stars will be sitting out events, though it's worth listening to their comments going into the FedExCup playoffs.

"After the major season is over, which is where we wanted to peak, we've sat back over the last week and said, 'How can we get that same momentum to where we can try and peak for the Tour Championship?'" Spieth said when he arrived at Plainfield Country Club.

Bubba Watson, who remained at No. 3 in the FedExCup with his third-place finish at the Barclays, reached the same conclusion.

"It's Atlanta that we're all worried about," Watson said after taking the 36-hole lead at the Barclays. "You can win these next three tournaments, still not win the FedExCup. So Atlanta is where we really need to be peaking."

Woods (2007) and Jim Furyk (2010) are the only players to miss the opening playoff event and still win the FedExCup – Woods by choice, Furyk because he was disqualified for oversleeping and missing his pro-am.

McIlroy skipped the Barclays this year because he wanted an extra week to make sure his left ankle was fully recovered. He dropped six spots to No. 15, meaning he will need a couple of strong finishes to get into the top five at East Lake. McIlroy felt the sting of the FedExCup last year. The dominant player in golf, he had a pair of top 10s leading to Atlanta, finished second in the Tour Championship and lost out to a guy (Billy Horschel) who started at No. 69 and got hot at the right moment.

Horschel has only two top 10s on the PGA Tour since.

It's not part of Spieth's makeup to sit out. The 22-year-old Texan is playing about 27 tournaments around the world each year. Will he change as he gets older?

The PGA Tour is in a tough spot trying to balance a postseason that is compelling to the very end and a system that rewards the best player.

It's really a case of pick your poison.

If it's a yearlong race, there will be times (such as Woods in 2007 or 2009) when the FedExCup in effect is over before the Tour Championship.

To guarantee the FedExCup finale is meaningful, the tour resets the points going into the Tour Championship to give everyone a chance. Furyk was No. 11 when he won in 2010. A year later, Bill Haas was No. 25 when he won the Tour Championship – his only victory that year – and the $10 million bonus.

Two solutions should be considered down the road.

Keep it a yearlong race and gradually increase the value of points in each playoff event, ramping it up even more for the Tour Championship. More players might have a chance, though it doesn't as easily punish greatness. Or penalize players for skipping playoff events by deducting points, enough that it would be an incentive to play.

Because as long as the tour puts so much emphasis into one tournament, the top players in the FedExCup will face this question: Is the temptation to take one week off greater than the incentive to play?


New Big Three: McIlroy, Spieth, Day?

Jason Day
USA Today Sports Images
With four wins this season, including the PGA Championship, Jason Day is making his case as the No. 1 golfer in the world.

EDISON, N.J. (AP) — Jordan Spieth was gone, but not forgotten, certainly not by Jason Day.

In his debut as the No. 1 player in the world, Spieth had back-to-back rounds over par for the first time all year and missed the cut. He already was assured of losing the No. 1 ranking back to Rory McIlroy when Day put together a weekend at The Barclays that was even better when put into recent context.

He shot 63-62 on the weekend — the 62 was the lowest closing round by a PGA Tour winner all year — and finished at 19-under 261 for a six-shot win over Henrik Stenson. This was Day's first tournament since he became the first player in a major to reach 20-under par in beating Spieth by three shots at the PGA Championship.

Throw in the Canadian Open and Day has won three of his last four tournaments.

So it seemed to be a natural question who would get his vote as PGA Tour player of the year, which until last week was not really a question at all.

And it still isn't to Day — not yet, anyway.

"Right now, Jordan Spieth gets my vote," Day said. "Winning two major championships at such a young age is big. Winning four tournaments overall is great."

Then again, there are still three FedEx Cup playoff events remaining, including the Tour Championship that determines the $10 million bonus. It's already been a banner summer for the 27-year-old Australian, and he's not done yet.

"I think winning the FedEx Cup and maybe one or two more tournaments, that could put my name in the mix for player of the year," Day said. "I'm not sure. I'm going to leave that to the peers, to the people. That will definitely throw my name in the mix."

Spieth already has locked up the points-based award from the PGA of America because of a bonus awarded to multiple major champions, and that's not something to take lightly. The 22-year-old Texan is only the 19th player in 120 years to do that. As only the fourth player to get halfway to the Grand Slam, he handled the pressure by finishing one shot out of a playoff at St. Andrews. And with a runner-up at the PGA Championship, Spieth joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to finish in the top four at all four majors.

He also was runner-up three other times (Houston Open, Texas Open, Colonial), still is nearly $3 million ahead of Day on the money list and is leading the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average on the PGA Tour.

That's why Day was quick not to dismiss Spieth.

If the Australian were to win the Tour Championship, that makes it interesting, but still probably not enough. The Tour Championship and one other FedEx Cup playoff event? That would be six wins — only Woods and Vijay Singh have done that over the last 20 years — and then it moves the vote closer to a coin flip.

"I'm by far playing the best golf of my life," Day said. "Just the synergy between my golf swing right now and what I've done with my body is working. I'm hitting it a long, long way. I feel like the accuracy has pulled in. ... I feel like Jordan Spieth with how I'm putting. It's a good feeling."

Another race is shaping up that could prove to be more compelling.

A year ago, when McIlroy won the final two majors with a World Golf Championship in between, he was so clearly No. 1 in the world that the only discussion was who could challenge him. Spieth and Day provided the answer, with four wins apiece on the PGA Tour, and three of the four majors.

Day will have a mathematical chance to reach No. 1 if he were to win the Deutsche Bank Championship. There was chatter about a modern Big Three after Day won the PGA Championship, and this victory in the Barclays, along with his realistic chance of getting to No. 1, only confirms it.

McIlroy didn't play The Barclays to give his left ankle one more week of rest as a precaution. He tied for 17th in the PGA Championship, his first time competing in nearly two months, and he has won on the TPC Boston.

Spieth has a knack for bouncing back quickly. The last time he missed a cut was at The Players, and over his next eight starts he had two wins (including the U.S. Open), two runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes. The TPC Boston is where his stock really began to rise two years ago when he closed with a 62.

Yes, the majors are over.

Golf still has the potential to be plenty compelling over the next four weeks. That's what the PGA Tour wanted.

Only it has nothing to do with $10 million.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Doug Ferguson

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, August 31, 2015 | 3:24 p.m.

EDISON, N.J. (AP) — Jordan Spieth was gone, but not forgotten, certainly not by Jason Day.

In his debut as the No. 1 player in the world, Spieth had back-to-back rounds over par for the first time all year and missed the cut. He already was assured of losing the No. 1 ranking back to Rory McIlroy when Day put together a weekend at The Barclays that was even better when put into recent context.

He shot 63-62 on the weekend — the 62 was the lowest closing round by a PGA Tour winner all year — and finished at 19-under 261 for a six-shot win over Henrik Stenson. This was Day's first tournament since he became the first player in a major to reach 20-under par in beating Spieth by three shots at the PGA Championship.

Throw in the Canadian Open and Day has won three of his last four tournaments.

So it seemed to be a natural question who would get his vote as PGA Tour player of the year, which until last week was not really a question at all.

And it still isn't to Day — not yet, anyway.

"Right now, Jordan Spieth gets my vote," Day said. "Winning two major championships at such a young age is big. Winning four tournaments overall is great."

Then again, there are still three FedEx Cup playoff events remaining, including the Tour Championship that determines the $10 million bonus. It's already been a banner summer for the 27-year-old Australian, and he's not done yet.

"I think winning the FedEx Cup and maybe one or two more tournaments, that could put my name in the mix for player of the year," Day said. "I'm not sure. I'm going to leave that to the peers, to the people. That will definitely throw my name in the mix."

Spieth already has locked up the points-based award from the PGA of America because of a bonus awarded to multiple major champions, and that's not something to take lightly. The 22-year-old Texan is only the 19th player in 120 years to do that. As only the fourth player to get halfway to the Grand Slam, he handled the pressure by finishing one shot out of a playoff at St. Andrews. And with a runner-up at the PGA Championship, Spieth joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to finish in the top four at all four majors.

He also was runner-up three other times (Houston Open, Texas Open, Colonial), still is nearly $3 million ahead of Day on the money list and is leading the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average on the PGA Tour.

That's why Day was quick not to dismiss Spieth.

If the Australian were to win the Tour Championship, that makes it interesting, but still probably not enough. The Tour Championship and one other FedEx Cup playoff event? That would be six wins — only Woods and Vijay Singh have done that over the last 20 years — and then it moves the vote closer to a coin flip.

"I'm by far playing the best golf of my life," Day said. "Just the synergy between my golf swing right now and what I've done with my body is working. I'm hitting it a long, long way. I feel like the accuracy has pulled in. ... I feel like Jordan Spieth with how I'm putting. It's a good feeling."

Another race is shaping up that could prove to be more compelling.

A year ago, when McIlroy won the final two majors with a World Golf Championship in between, he was so clearly No. 1 in the world that the only discussion was who could challenge him. Spieth and Day provided the answer, with four wins apiece on the PGA Tour, and three of the four majors.

Day will have a mathematical chance to reach No. 1 if he were to win the Deutsche Bank Championship. There was chatter about a modern Big Three after Day won the PGA Championship, and this victory in the Barclays, along with his realistic chance of getting to No. 1, only confirms it.

McIlroy didn't play The Barclays to give his left ankle one more week of rest as a precaution. He tied for 17th in the PGA Championship, his first time competing in nearly two months, and he has won on the TPC Boston.

Spieth has a knack for bouncing back quickly. The last time he missed a cut was at The Players, and over his next eight starts he had two wins (including the U.S. Open), two runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes. The TPC Boston is where his stock really began to rise two years ago when he closed with a 62.

Yes, the majors are over.

Golf still has the potential to be plenty compelling over the next four weeks. That's what the PGA Tour wanted.

Only it has nothing to do with $10 million.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Kansas father, son ace same hole on back-to-back shots

Hilst
Debbie Hilst/Hutchinson News
Father and son, Kent and Keaton Hilst, pose after making rare back-to-back aces on the same hole.

HUTCHINSON, Kansas -- After Kent, Keaton and Kalen Hilst teed off on the par-3, 128-yard fourth hole at Cottonwood Hills on Wednesday, August 19, Kalen rolled his eyes at his dad and big brother and gave them a stern look.

Facetiously, he told them something along the lines of, "I really don't like you guys very much."

Poor Kalen had hit his shot to around 25-feet from the pin. He'd eventually make an easy, ho-hum par.

But Kalen was the man in the middle of history. He was sandwiched in between an astronomic feat, a one-in-many-millions occurrence. Right before his shot, his older brother, Keaton, made his first career hole-in-one. Immediately following his shot, his dad, Kent, made his second career ace.

"I hit it about 25 feet away," Kalen said. "But found out afterwards I was just taking the boring and conservative approach. I kind of joked with them after they both went in that I was the only one who had to pull the putter out of the bag."

Having a father and son each hit an ace on the same hole a minute from each other may never happen again in this lifetime. Plus, another family member of the group playing between the two shots may never be topped. Certainly, it's far-fetched to think the family matriarch will catch something like this on camera again the way Debbie Hilst documented it.

Lots of factors were perfectly placed together to make this one-in-many millions occurrence even more special. The trio had never played at Cottonwood Hills together. Below is the oral history of the event through the lens of the Hilst family and others who were involved.

Usually the Hilst clan plays their home course, Prairie Dunes. But for some reason, they got the itch to try out the recently re-opened Cottonwood Hills. Keaton's job, which moved him to Kansas City, brought him to Hutchinson more frequently this summer. The day after this gorgeous Wednesday afternoon, Kalen was set to go back to start his sophomore year in Lawrence at the University of Kansas.

Kent: "Normally we'd play at Prairie Dunes. But my son's birthday, Keaton's birthday, was six days before that. I said 'you want to go out to Cottonwood Hills and do something different for your birthday?' or whatever. He said 'yeah, that sounds like fun.' So that was the first time we've been out there since they reopened. Kalen I don't think had ever played there and Keaton and I had maybe played there once or twice when it was open before. It was a different choice. Apparently a wise choice."

Kalen: "We usually just play Prairie Dunes and I left for college on Thursday and I wanted to golf with them my last day because my brother was in town. I actually recommended Sand Creek Station in Newton but my dad knew I had never played Cottonwood before and said it would be something different."

Debbie isn't a golfer. Yet she loves to follow along and spend time with her family. She wanted to try out her new camera that has enhanced video capabilities. She has a hobby for filming and capturing her family's most cherished memories. Thus, with an extra spot in a cart readily available, the stars aligned for mom to come and witness history. And film nearly every shot of the round to boot.

Kent: "She's really into photography and videos. She's done this numerous times. Certainly not close to all the time, but it's not an unusual thing for her to do. She'd never been out there. Since there was three of us, we were going to have two carts, we were like 'come along.' "

Debbie: "Keaton was home, Kalen was going to school the next day at KU, so I thought I would go out with the guys. I don't go every time because sometimes if they golf with other people, they don't want me around, you know. That day, I had never been to Cottonwood Hills. I had a new camera where you can film and you can pick off pictures. It's really the first time I've used it at all."

Yet, Debbie almost didn't tag along. Her parents were in town and she wanted to be a great host. Luckily, they left right before a 3:40 p.m. tee time and understood she was anxious to spend some time with her boys and husband. Another domino fell perfectly into place.

Debbie: "No, I was really close to staying home because I didn't want to be rude, you know. Anyway, I guess it all worked out for the best because all of the picture-taking I have done and video, I would have been excited for them, but I would have been like 'oh, man, I missed the Kodak moment.' "

Kalen: "They left five minutes before we did so it ended up working out so she could come."

After three holes, none of the Hilsts were playing particularly well. But the old adage that one shot can change everything fully came into fruition when they entered the short, par-3 fourth. The pin was not placed at too treacherous of a location, toward the front of a relatively flat, 33-yard deep green on the course's signature hole. It played 128 yards and the wind was especially benign for Kansas standards. Keaton, a former low-handicapper who tries to play one round every few weeks, teed off from the green tees first and pulled out a gap wedge, about 52 degrees of loft, at 4:29 p.m.

Keaton: "I'd gotten off to a really bad start, so I wasn't really super happy."

Kent: "Keaton's shot was just beautiful. It was high, towering at the pin the whole time."

Keaton: "I just hit a good one that was going right toward the flag the whole time. It kind of bounced right beside it and snuck back in. It was kind of a shock I guess... It was high, like I said, it bounced about three inches right of the hole, bounced past a little bit and spun back in."

Kalen: "He was pretty calm, I think he was more shocked than anything because he didn't really celebrate until after my shot, basically."

Kent: "He's a pretty laid back individual, but you could tell he was pretty thrilled that he had done this."

Keaton: "I just dropped my club. Raised my arms. I didn't really know how to react."

Kalen: "My brother made his and my dad was more excited than he was. I was probably more excited than he was too."

Like every shot when she's in attendance, Debbie was filming. However, while the ball was coming down, she pressed the off button.

Debbie: "I got behind him so I could see the flag, so I tried to aim. Kalen was in the right. Kalen came over to tee up, so I shut the camera off and I heard Kent yelling 'it went in, it went in.' So I saw it real quick so I got that excitement."

Kalen: "When he hit, I knew it looked good but I went and teed up my ball right after he had hit and we watched it back on film and I blocked it in from the camera so you can't see my brother's go in. My brother was joking with me, 'how could you do that?' "

Debbie: "My little one got in momma's way. I don't yell at them when they're golfing. I don't say 'hey get out of my way.' You know I have so much golf (footage) that I'd never dreamed they'd go in. So sometimes I shut the camera off."

But she got the aftermath. And now realized how to shoot the next shots. Kalen went next. He only hit a green in regulation.

Keaton (laughing): "All he did was hit to about 20 feet and make par, so he's kind of a bum."

After Kalen's shot, Kent teed up at 4:30 p.m. He said both his sons get an assist for his second career ace.

Kent: "The reality of it is I hit last, and I saw what my sons hit and I had a 9-iron in my hand and went back and switched it to a pitching wedge after I saw what they did. Had I hit first, I would not of had a hole-in-one. Maybe I would have still made it, but I would have had to mishit a 9-iron. I mean I hit my shot really, really well."

Going into his shot, Kent, a low-handicapper who usually plays once or twice a week, didn't have the faintest idea history would repeat itself a minute later. Keaton actually wasn't on the tee box for his dad's ace because he wandered down by the cart to get something.

Kent: "I wasn't thinking obviously about 'hey, let's put one in on top.' I don't know if I was thinking about that or not...I hit a really good shot. It was right on line the whole time. It landed in front of the hole, about 10 feet short and bounced on in the hole. I think as I recall I yelled, 'it's in' and just started laughing. Just because what are the chances of this happening?"

Debbie: "Then when Kent golfed, he was the only one in the picture. I got him and I could see the flag. So I filmed all the way through. You can see his go in. He went crazy."

Kent: "(Keaton) thought I was just joking around. It was pretty surreal. I don't know if that was a plus for him or if I took some of his limelight away. But I think it will be a more memorable thing when you have two of them, especially a father-son combination. It's pretty cool."

Keaton: "I was down there and heard him screaming. He said something like 'I did it too.' I thought he was playing a little joke, but then it seemed pretty legit. I wasn't 100 percent sure until I saw two balls in the hole, though."

Kent: "I had a joke with him. I told him for about two minutes you had the same number of career hole-in-ones as I did...I've doubled the number of hole-in-ones I've seen on that hole."

Keaton: "I tied him for 30 seconds, but I guess he had enough of that. He took the lead again."

Kent: "I had only done it once in my life, here I do it immediately after he does it, you know this is just freakish."

It's not particularly easy to keep focus after an occurrence like this unfolds. The rest of the round, the magnificence of the moment started to sink in.

Kent: "I cannot say the golf was brilliant after we were finished. We didn't really care too much what the score added up to once it was done."

Keaton: "Right after that I sent about four or five group texts about it. No one believed me. I posted on Facebook and everybody's commenting 'oh yeah right,' that sort of thing. I wouldn't believe anyone who told me it. Can't really blame them I guess."

Kalen: "I knew when it happened that the odds were very much stacked against us. But I didn't know exactly how ridiculous it was until my uncle Rusty being the math genius that he is came up with the million odds, then it kind of hit how rare that is."

Keaton: "Just crazy, and it's never going to happen again. Kind of surreal at first, but it kind of sunk in as the day went on and it didn't really matter what anybody shot. It was fun."

Debbie was glad her passion for photographing and videotaping her kids' big moments over the years led to capturing this moment. Plus, Kent played a Titleist 8. Keaton used a No. 1 ball. Kent was the eighth-born child while Keaton was the oldest of his siblings.

Debbie: "I have taken pictures since when Keaton (was born). I didn't really take too many (before), but when he was born I went kind of nuts you might say. I got into it then."

At the turn, news came into the clubhouse. Cottonwood Hills' Justin Alldritt said everyone was aghast. It was the perfect cherry on top to a pleasant first summer after reopening.

Alldritt: "That's when everyone in the clubhouse looked up and was like, 'woah, never heard of that happening before.' "

The staff relayed the news to course pro Matt Seitz, a friend of the Hilst's. He was giddy and off site.

Seitz: "I was just as happy can be for the family. I actually felt a little bad for Kalen because he was playing too and he got locked out. The poor guy just can't make a hole-in-one to keep up with his dad and big brother. It's a good golfing family, and I was just happy for them. It's good to see."

Years ago, two players in Hesston aced the same hole in a match. Playing a PGA Midwest Section tournament in Kansas City over a decade ago, Seitz, who's been a pro for over three decades, remembers two pros acing the same hole a group ahead of him. But a father and son on the same hole? This is something you don't see every decade.

Seitz: "As we all know, hole-in-ones, the odds are astronomical. Same group even more so and then you have a father-son do it on top of that, it's probably easier to get struck by lightning than to have that happen. As far as father-son happening on the same hole, I've never heard of that happening."

Keaton: "Last couple days I've tried to Google anywhere else it's happened before. I couldn't really find any. It's pretty nuts."

Seitz has five career aces. So does Rusty Hilst. Rusty, Kent's older brother, picked up his most recent on April 25th on No. 4 at Prairie Dunes. He had a 33-year lapse between aces. Rusty is a fixture in the Kansas golf community. He's seen and heard it all. But this was something new.

Rusty: "I'd say I've been involved in helping run golf tournaments for the Kansas Golf Association for 40 years. I've never seen two hole-in-ones in the same group. Yeah, this was certainly one of the rarest things I've ever seen or heard of. It's a fun occurrence."

This article was written by Tommy Dahlk from The Hutchinson News, Kan. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Tommy Dahlk

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, August 31, 2015 | 12:49 p.m.

HUTCHINSON, Kansas -- After Kent, Keaton and Kalen Hilst teed off on the par-3, 128-yard fourth hole at Cottonwood Hills on Wednesday, August 19, Kalen rolled his eyes at his dad and big brother and gave them a stern look.

Facetiously, he told them something along the lines of, "I really don't like you guys very much."

Poor Kalen had hit his shot to around 25-feet from the pin. He'd eventually make an easy, ho-hum par.

But Kalen was the man in the middle of history. He was sandwiched in between an astronomic feat, a one-in-many-millions occurrence. Right before his shot, his older brother, Keaton, made his first career hole-in-one. Immediately following his shot, his dad, Kent, made his second career ace.

"I hit it about 25 feet away," Kalen said. "But found out afterwards I was just taking the boring and conservative approach. I kind of joked with them after they both went in that I was the only one who had to pull the putter out of the bag."

Having a father and son each hit an ace on the same hole a minute from each other may never happen again in this lifetime. Plus, another family member of the group playing between the two shots may never be topped. Certainly, it's far-fetched to think the family matriarch will catch something like this on camera again the way Debbie Hilst documented it.

Lots of factors were perfectly placed together to make this one-in-many millions occurrence even more special. The trio had never played at Cottonwood Hills together. Below is the oral history of the event through the lens of the Hilst family and others who were involved.

Usually the Hilst clan plays their home course, Prairie Dunes. But for some reason, they got the itch to try out the recently re-opened Cottonwood Hills. Keaton's job, which moved him to Kansas City, brought him to Hutchinson more frequently this summer. The day after this gorgeous Wednesday afternoon, Kalen was set to go back to start his sophomore year in Lawrence at the University of Kansas.

Kent: "Normally we'd play at Prairie Dunes. But my son's birthday, Keaton's birthday, was six days before that. I said 'you want to go out to Cottonwood Hills and do something different for your birthday?' or whatever. He said 'yeah, that sounds like fun.' So that was the first time we've been out there since they reopened. Kalen I don't think had ever played there and Keaton and I had maybe played there once or twice when it was open before. It was a different choice. Apparently a wise choice."

Kalen: "We usually just play Prairie Dunes and I left for college on Thursday and I wanted to golf with them my last day because my brother was in town. I actually recommended Sand Creek Station in Newton but my dad knew I had never played Cottonwood before and said it would be something different."

Debbie isn't a golfer. Yet she loves to follow along and spend time with her family. She wanted to try out her new camera that has enhanced video capabilities. She has a hobby for filming and capturing her family's most cherished memories. Thus, with an extra spot in a cart readily available, the stars aligned for mom to come and witness history. And film nearly every shot of the round to boot.

Kent: "She's really into photography and videos. She's done this numerous times. Certainly not close to all the time, but it's not an unusual thing for her to do. She'd never been out there. Since there was three of us, we were going to have two carts, we were like 'come along.' "

Debbie: "Keaton was home, Kalen was going to school the next day at KU, so I thought I would go out with the guys. I don't go every time because sometimes if they golf with other people, they don't want me around, you know. That day, I had never been to Cottonwood Hills. I had a new camera where you can film and you can pick off pictures. It's really the first time I've used it at all."

Yet, Debbie almost didn't tag along. Her parents were in town and she wanted to be a great host. Luckily, they left right before a 3:40 p.m. tee time and understood she was anxious to spend some time with her boys and husband. Another domino fell perfectly into place.

Debbie: "No, I was really close to staying home because I didn't want to be rude, you know. Anyway, I guess it all worked out for the best because all of the picture-taking I have done and video, I would have been excited for them, but I would have been like 'oh, man, I missed the Kodak moment.' "

Kalen: "They left five minutes before we did so it ended up working out so she could come."

After three holes, none of the Hilsts were playing particularly well. But the old adage that one shot can change everything fully came into fruition when they entered the short, par-3 fourth. The pin was not placed at too treacherous of a location, toward the front of a relatively flat, 33-yard deep green on the course's signature hole. It played 128 yards and the wind was especially benign for Kansas standards. Keaton, a former low-handicapper who tries to play one round every few weeks, teed off from the green tees first and pulled out a gap wedge, about 52 degrees of loft, at 4:29 p.m.

Keaton: "I'd gotten off to a really bad start, so I wasn't really super happy."

Kent: "Keaton's shot was just beautiful. It was high, towering at the pin the whole time."

Keaton: "I just hit a good one that was going right toward the flag the whole time. It kind of bounced right beside it and snuck back in. It was kind of a shock I guess... It was high, like I said, it bounced about three inches right of the hole, bounced past a little bit and spun back in."

Kalen: "He was pretty calm, I think he was more shocked than anything because he didn't really celebrate until after my shot, basically."

Kent: "He's a pretty laid back individual, but you could tell he was pretty thrilled that he had done this."

Keaton: "I just dropped my club. Raised my arms. I didn't really know how to react."

Kalen: "My brother made his and my dad was more excited than he was. I was probably more excited than he was too."

Like every shot when she's in attendance, Debbie was filming. However, while the ball was coming down, she pressed the off button.

Debbie: "I got behind him so I could see the flag, so I tried to aim. Kalen was in the right. Kalen came over to tee up, so I shut the camera off and I heard Kent yelling 'it went in, it went in.' So I saw it real quick so I got that excitement."

Kalen: "When he hit, I knew it looked good but I went and teed up my ball right after he had hit and we watched it back on film and I blocked it in from the camera so you can't see my brother's go in. My brother was joking with me, 'how could you do that?' "

Debbie: "My little one got in momma's way. I don't yell at them when they're golfing. I don't say 'hey get out of my way.' You know I have so much golf (footage) that I'd never dreamed they'd go in. So sometimes I shut the camera off."

But she got the aftermath. And now realized how to shoot the next shots. Kalen went next. He only hit a green in regulation.

Keaton (laughing): "All he did was hit to about 20 feet and make par, so he's kind of a bum."

After Kalen's shot, Kent teed up at 4:30 p.m. He said both his sons get an assist for his second career ace.

Kent: "The reality of it is I hit last, and I saw what my sons hit and I had a 9-iron in my hand and went back and switched it to a pitching wedge after I saw what they did. Had I hit first, I would not of had a hole-in-one. Maybe I would have still made it, but I would have had to mishit a 9-iron. I mean I hit my shot really, really well."

Going into his shot, Kent, a low-handicapper who usually plays once or twice a week, didn't have the faintest idea history would repeat itself a minute later. Keaton actually wasn't on the tee box for his dad's ace because he wandered down by the cart to get something.

Kent: "I wasn't thinking obviously about 'hey, let's put one in on top.' I don't know if I was thinking about that or not...I hit a really good shot. It was right on line the whole time. It landed in front of the hole, about 10 feet short and bounced on in the hole. I think as I recall I yelled, 'it's in' and just started laughing. Just because what are the chances of this happening?"

Debbie: "Then when Kent golfed, he was the only one in the picture. I got him and I could see the flag. So I filmed all the way through. You can see his go in. He went crazy."

Kent: "(Keaton) thought I was just joking around. It was pretty surreal. I don't know if that was a plus for him or if I took some of his limelight away. But I think it will be a more memorable thing when you have two of them, especially a father-son combination. It's pretty cool."

Keaton: "I was down there and heard him screaming. He said something like 'I did it too.' I thought he was playing a little joke, but then it seemed pretty legit. I wasn't 100 percent sure until I saw two balls in the hole, though."

Kent: "I had a joke with him. I told him for about two minutes you had the same number of career hole-in-ones as I did...I've doubled the number of hole-in-ones I've seen on that hole."

Keaton: "I tied him for 30 seconds, but I guess he had enough of that. He took the lead again."

Kent: "I had only done it once in my life, here I do it immediately after he does it, you know this is just freakish."

It's not particularly easy to keep focus after an occurrence like this unfolds. The rest of the round, the magnificence of the moment started to sink in.

Kent: "I cannot say the golf was brilliant after we were finished. We didn't really care too much what the score added up to once it was done."

Keaton: "Right after that I sent about four or five group texts about it. No one believed me. I posted on Facebook and everybody's commenting 'oh yeah right,' that sort of thing. I wouldn't believe anyone who told me it. Can't really blame them I guess."

Kalen: "I knew when it happened that the odds were very much stacked against us. But I didn't know exactly how ridiculous it was until my uncle Rusty being the math genius that he is came up with the million odds, then it kind of hit how rare that is."

Keaton: "Just crazy, and it's never going to happen again. Kind of surreal at first, but it kind of sunk in as the day went on and it didn't really matter what anybody shot. It was fun."

Debbie was glad her passion for photographing and videotaping her kids' big moments over the years led to capturing this moment. Plus, Kent played a Titleist 8. Keaton used a No. 1 ball. Kent was the eighth-born child while Keaton was the oldest of his siblings.

Debbie: "I have taken pictures since when Keaton (was born). I didn't really take too many (before), but when he was born I went kind of nuts you might say. I got into it then."

At the turn, news came into the clubhouse. Cottonwood Hills' Justin Alldritt said everyone was aghast. It was the perfect cherry on top to a pleasant first summer after reopening.

Alldritt: "That's when everyone in the clubhouse looked up and was like, 'woah, never heard of that happening before.' "

The staff relayed the news to course pro Matt Seitz, a friend of the Hilst's. He was giddy and off site.

Seitz: "I was just as happy can be for the family. I actually felt a little bad for Kalen because he was playing too and he got locked out. The poor guy just can't make a hole-in-one to keep up with his dad and big brother. It's a good golfing family, and I was just happy for them. It's good to see."

Years ago, two players in Hesston aced the same hole in a match. Playing a PGA Midwest Section tournament in Kansas City over a decade ago, Seitz, who's been a pro for over three decades, remembers two pros acing the same hole a group ahead of him. But a father and son on the same hole? This is something you don't see every decade.

Seitz: "As we all know, hole-in-ones, the odds are astronomical. Same group even more so and then you have a father-son do it on top of that, it's probably easier to get struck by lightning than to have that happen. As far as father-son happening on the same hole, I've never heard of that happening."

Keaton: "Last couple days I've tried to Google anywhere else it's happened before. I couldn't really find any. It's pretty nuts."

Seitz has five career aces. So does Rusty Hilst. Rusty, Kent's older brother, picked up his most recent on April 25th on No. 4 at Prairie Dunes. He had a 33-year lapse between aces. Rusty is a fixture in the Kansas golf community. He's seen and heard it all. But this was something new.

Rusty: "I'd say I've been involved in helping run golf tournaments for the Kansas Golf Association for 40 years. I've never seen two hole-in-ones in the same group. Yeah, this was certainly one of the rarest things I've ever seen or heard of. It's a fun occurrence."

This article was written by Tommy Dahlk from The Hutchinson News, Kan. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Yokohama LPGA title goes to Tamulis

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Kris Tamulis won the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour title.

Tamulis played 29 holes Sunday in the twice-delayed tournament, the 186th of her LPGA Tour career. She finished a third-round 67 and closed with a 65 to beat Yani Tseng and Austin Ernst by a stroke.

The 34-year-old former Florida State player had a 17-under 271 total on The Senator Course and didn't show the strain of being in contention with so little margin for error.

"It was amazing," Tamulis said. "I was definitely not expecting this today."

Tseng had rounds of 71 and 67, and Ernst shot 68-69 with the weather clearing up after delays totaling nearly 7 hours the previous two days. Both parred the final hole with a chance to force a playoff.

Tamulis birdied four of the first six holes in the final round before finally making her only bogey of the last three rounds. She hadn't finished better than fourth on the tour.

Tamulis was all smiles at the end. She made a short birdie putt on the 17th hole, cheerfully telling two fans "28 of 29 completed today." Then, a long birdie putt, hit seemingly perfectly on line, stopped inches shy of the final hole. Still smiling, she told her caddie the ball needed just "a little more oomph," then chatted with the teenager carrying the score placard.

She had about 45 minutes to sweat it out. Tseng and Ernst both had makeable birdie putts on 18, on opposite sides of the pin. Ernst's attempt went to the left. Tseng came closer, falling to her knees when her putt lipped out.

"When they both missed I was just shocked," said Tamulis, who chatted with volunteers and had a snack in air-conditioned comfort instead of watching or practicing for a possible playoff. A friend kept her updated.

Tamulis had been fourth last year in Prattville and earlier this year at the Meijer LPGA Classic. She didn't make the cut at last week's Canadian Pacific Women's Open after posting two 73 rounds. Her rounds steadily improved from 71 to 68 to 67 and finally 65.

It was her first win since Florida State but she had a pair of runners-up finishes in 2004 on the Symetra Tour.

Tamulis said she was trying to ignore the leaderboard, focusing instead on a countdown from 29 holes.

"The last time I actually saw where it was at was by accident on No. 9," she said. "Then I felt really good and I was just out there trying to have a good time. My goal was to come in here have a decent week, play well and secure my spots in Asia."

She also wanted to ensure she made the field in her hometown of Naples, Florida, for the season finale, the CME Group Tour Championship. Her expression matched the smiley face magnet affixed to her visor, given to her two years ago by an elderly scorekeeper in Phoenix.

Tseng is a 26-year-old Taiwanese player who ranked No. 1 for 109 weeks early in her career. She came close to snapping an 85-event winless streak dating to the 2012 Kia Classic, making a long birdie putt on No. 16.

This was Tseng's second runner-up finish of the year.

Ernst was seeking her second tour win. Sydnee Michaels finished with a 67, finishing in a fourth-place tie with 2011 winner Lexi Thompson. Thompson closed with a 69 and was in the 60s all four rounds.

This article was written by John Zenor from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
John Zenor

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Sunday, August 30, 2015 | 11:25 p.m.

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Kris Tamulis won the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour title.

Tamulis played 29 holes Sunday in the twice-delayed tournament, the 186th of her LPGA Tour career. She finished a third-round 67 and closed with a 65 to beat Yani Tseng and Austin Ernst by a stroke.

The 34-year-old former Florida State player had a 17-under 271 total on The Senator Course and didn't show the strain of being in contention with so little margin for error.

"It was amazing," Tamulis said. "I was definitely not expecting this today."

Tseng had rounds of 71 and 67, and Ernst shot 68-69 with the weather clearing up after delays totaling nearly 7 hours the previous two days. Both parred the final hole with a chance to force a playoff.

Tamulis birdied four of the first six holes in the final round before finally making her only bogey of the last three rounds. She hadn't finished better than fourth on the tour.

Tamulis was all smiles at the end. She made a short birdie putt on the 17th hole, cheerfully telling two fans "28 of 29 completed today." Then, a long birdie putt, hit seemingly perfectly on line, stopped inches shy of the final hole. Still smiling, she told her caddie the ball needed just "a little more oomph," then chatted with the teenager carrying the score placard.

She had about 45 minutes to sweat it out. Tseng and Ernst both had makeable birdie putts on 18, on opposite sides of the pin. Ernst's attempt went to the left. Tseng came closer, falling to her knees when her putt lipped out.

"When they both missed I was just shocked," said Tamulis, who chatted with volunteers and had a snack in air-conditioned comfort instead of watching or practicing for a possible playoff. A friend kept her updated.

Tamulis had been fourth last year in Prattville and earlier this year at the Meijer LPGA Classic. She didn't make the cut at last week's Canadian Pacific Women's Open after posting two 73 rounds. Her rounds steadily improved from 71 to 68 to 67 and finally 65.

It was her first win since Florida State but she had a pair of runners-up finishes in 2004 on the Symetra Tour.

Tamulis said she was trying to ignore the leaderboard, focusing instead on a countdown from 29 holes.

"The last time I actually saw where it was at was by accident on No. 9," she said. "Then I felt really good and I was just out there trying to have a good time. My goal was to come in here have a decent week, play well and secure my spots in Asia."

She also wanted to ensure she made the field in her hometown of Naples, Florida, for the season finale, the CME Group Tour Championship. Her expression matched the smiley face magnet affixed to her visor, given to her two years ago by an elderly scorekeeper in Phoenix.

Tseng is a 26-year-old Taiwanese player who ranked No. 1 for 109 weeks early in her career. She came close to snapping an 85-event winless streak dating to the 2012 Kia Classic, making a long birdie putt on No. 16.

This was Tseng's second runner-up finish of the year.

Ernst was seeking her second tour win. Sydnee Michaels finished with a 67, finishing in a fourth-place tie with 2011 winner Lexi Thompson. Thompson closed with a 69 and was in the 60s all four rounds.

This article was written by John Zenor from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Inkster wins The Legends Championship

FRENCH LICK, Ind. (AP) — U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster won The Legends Championship on Sunday, finishing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Trish Johnson.

"If a 55-year-old can win, they can, too," Inkster said about her Solheim Cup team that will face Europe in Germany on Sept. 18-20. "This has been a tough year, and I'm really tired right now. I have an outing Tuesday in Detroit, then I'll be home for a week."

The Hall of Famer had a 5-under 139 total after opening with a 71 on French Lick Resort's Pete Dye Course.

"I wasn't playing very well on the front side, but I birdied 13, 15, 17 and 18," Inkster said. "That won the tournament for me. I stayed patient and started hitting it a lot better. I had no idea where I was in the tournament. I just tried to keep making birdies. It was good to win. I feel good."

The 31-time LPGA winner earned $37,500 for her first Legends Tour victory.

Johnson bogeyed the final hole for a 70.

Pat Hurst and Lorie Kane tied for third. Hurst had a 69, and Kane shot 70.

Jan Stephenson won the Super Legends competition for players 63 and older. The 63-year-old Australian shot a 71 for an eight-shot victory over Judy Dickinson. Stephenson finished at even-par 144.

"Winning can never get old," Stephenson said. "This was so much fun, and it was really emotional for me. It was for my mom. She passed away earlier in the month."


Series: Other Tour

Published: Sunday, August 30, 2015 | 11:09 p.m.

FRENCH LICK, Ind. (AP) — U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster won The Legends Championship on Sunday, finishing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Trish Johnson.

"If a 55-year-old can win, they can, too," Inkster said about her Solheim Cup team that will face Europe in Germany on Sept. 18-20. "This has been a tough year, and I'm really tired right now. I have an outing Tuesday in Detroit, then I'll be home for a week."

The Hall of Famer had a 5-under 139 total after opening with a 71 on French Lick Resort's Pete Dye Course.

"I wasn't playing very well on the front side, but I birdied 13, 15, 17 and 18," Inkster said. "That won the tournament for me. I stayed patient and started hitting it a lot better. I had no idea where I was in the tournament. I just tried to keep making birdies. It was good to win. I feel good."

The 31-time LPGA winner earned $37,500 for her first Legends Tour victory.

Johnson bogeyed the final hole for a 70.

Pat Hurst and Lorie Kane tied for third. Hurst had a 69, and Kane shot 70.

Jan Stephenson won the Super Legends competition for players 63 and older. The 63-year-old Australian shot a 71 for an eight-shot victory over Judy Dickinson. Stephenson finished at even-par 144.

"Winning can never get old," Stephenson said. "This was so much fun, and it was really emotional for me. It was for my mom. She passed away earlier in the month."


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