Mar 01

Amy Yang wins Honda LPGA Thailand by two shots

It only took seven days for Amy Yang to get a little redemption.

Yang, who trailed Stacy Lewis by a shot heading into the final round at Siam Country Club, shot a 3-under 69 to win the Honda LPGA Thailand on Sunday by two shots, finishing on 15-under 273. 

“I don’t know what just happened, Yang said after the win. “I still can’t believe I did it today.”

Stacy Lewis, who had a share of the lead after each of the prior three rounds, shot a final round of even-par 72 to fall into a tie for second with Yani Tseng (67) and Mirim Lee (69). Lewis and Yang were tied for the lead on the short par-4 15th hole, but a Lewis double bogey and a Yang birdie set the stage for Yang's win.

Tseng's joint runner-up finish is her best payday since finishing in the same position at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Mar 01

Lydia Ko wins New Zealand Women’s Open for 10th pro victory

Lydia Ko has pulled the ANZ Double.

On the heels of winning the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open a week ago, Ko won her national championship, the Women's New Zealand Open, on Sunday at Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch.

"This is even better than I would ever have imagined," said Ko. "It's just great to have won the two Opens back to back."

Ko, who shot a second-round 61, shot a final round of 1-under 71 for a 14-under 202 total and a four-shot winner over 18-year-old Aussie amateur Hannah Green in the 54-hole event. The win is Ko's 10th in a professional event and her second NZ Open title, with the first coming in 2013 as an amateur.

The teen became the youngest No. 1 player in the history of golf in January with a joint runner-up finish at the LPGA's season-opening Coates Golf Championship. In the three starts since taking over the top spot, Ko has won twice.

A reminder: She's just 17.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Mar 01

Staring down a Monday finish at The Honda Classic

Read this like you would a car commercial: The Honda Classic, extended! For one. More. Day!

The Honda Classic resumes its third round on Sunday at 10 a.m. after play was called on Saturday following a two-hour weather delay. When play was called just before 3 p.m. on Saturday, PGA Tour officials expected to restart play at 7 a.m. However, over 5 inches of rain fell on PGA National on Saturday, knocking down scoreboards and signage, creating air bubbles on greens and damaging bunkers. Grounds crews needed more time to prepare the golf course.

“There’s no way we can hit a 7 a.m. (start),” said Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice-president of rules and competition, according to Golfweek.

A total of 71 players made the 36-hole cut, with the second round completed on Saturday morning. That forced a split-tee start for Round 3 in groups of three. However, just four tee times got started on the first and 10th holes before play was halted for the day.

All that means there's no way The Honda Classic will finish on Sunday. 

A Monday finish always leads to eye-rolling from everyone involved, but this isn't the first time The Honda Classic will extend beyond Sunday. In 2007, the first year the event was held at PGA National, Mark Wilson went on to win the tournament on Monday. 

However, the Monday after Honda isn't your typical travel day. For a good number of players in the field, Monday is the legendary pro-member tournament at Seminole Golf Club, 20 minutes toward the Atlantic from PGA National. In 2014, the pro-member had six of the world's top 10 in the field.

Don't be surprised, then, for a rash of players withdrawing from the tournament after Round 3 is finished.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 28

Stacy Lewis hanging on to 1-shot lead at Honda LPGA Thailand

After her Friday 64 to take the lead at the Honda LPGA Thailand, Stacy Lewis talked about the need to not look back and keep moving forward at Siam Country Club.

Lewis did not move forward on Saturday, shooting a 1-over 73 in Round 3 that left her with a one-shot lead heading into the final round. The 30-year-old is at 13-under 203 and just ahead of Amy Yang, who carded 71.

"It was a bit all over the place today," Lewis said. "Hit some good shots, hit some shots too far."

The world No. 3 struggled early in her third round, making three consecutive front-nine bogeys to lose the lead. It took an eagle at the drivable par-4 15th to regain the lead from Yang. A bogey at the par-5 last hole was a disappointing way to finish the round. However, Lewis said it's an all-too-common conclusion to her rounds at this venue.

"This 18th hole just frustrates me,"  she said. "Over the years it's gotten my number more times than it's been good."

Sandra Gal is another shot back in third, with Mirim Lee and Jenny Shin tied for fourth at 10 under par.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 28

Lydia Ko threatened 59, shot 61 at New Zealand Women’s Open

Lydia Ko doesn't have her driver's license, so she can't drive 55. But she almost broke 60 on Saturday at the New Zealand Women's Open.

The 17-year-old world No. 1 shot a course-record, 11-under 61 at Clearwater Golf Club to grab the lead early on Day 2 of her national championship. The 61 tops the prior mark of 63, shot by last year's winner Mi Hyang Lee en route to the win.

Ko actually bogeyed her first hole of the day, then got started with an eagle at the par-5 second. In a 10-hole stretch from the fourth hole to the 13th, Ko made nine birdies. A birdie at the last locked up a two-day total of 13-under 131.

The New Zealand native is already a winner in 2015, taking last weekend's ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open on the LPGA Tour. She is playing in her national championship this week instead of at the LPGA's stop, the Honda LPGA Thailand. No matter the results of both events, Ko will remain No. 1 in the world.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 28

Brooks Koepka plays his way back into The Honda Classic

Misery makes company, so no one would have blamed Brooks Koepka for missing The Honda Classic cut as his Thursday-Friday playing partners, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, looked lost on PGA National's Champion course.

However, as McIlroy and Johnson were struggled after three-and-a-half hours of weather delays in Round 2, Koepka thrived. The Phoenix Open winner shot 6-under 64 -- the clubhouse leader for best round of the week -- to overcome an opening 78 and find his way into the weekend field.

The 24-year-old made eight birdies on the day, including one on the par-5 18th (his ninth of the day) after needing a drop when his second shot took a huge hop off the cart path. 

Koepka could have easily packed it in, drove to his nearby home and called it a week. Instead of thinking selfishly, he chose to be motivated by the people in his gallery who supported him.

“I have so many family and friends out,” he said, “that you almost don't want to let them down.”

The Florida State product who turned pro in 2012 reflected on how far he's come in such a short timeframe, knowing a younger version of himself would not have battled for a payday quite like he did on Friday.

"I couldn't have done that – I would have come back and shot around even par, a couple over today," he said. "But just to be able to grind it out is key and to never think you're out of it, I think that's really important. Like I said, great players, no matter what they shoot the day before on Thursday, they are going to come out and they are going to play well on Friday.”


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 27

Rory McIlroy misses the cut at The Honda Classic

The bad news for Rory McIlroy is he is going to miss the cut at The Honda Classic.

The good news is he is a short drive from a weekend at home.

McIlroy shot 4-over 74 on Friday at PGA National and, at 7-over total, won't be around for the final 36 holes in his 2015 PGA Tour debut. 

"I'm pissed off," McIlroy said after the round. 

"I don't like missing cuts," he continued. "You want to be playing on the weekend, and I'm not there. Well, I'm here; I'm home. I'm not going to be playing this weekend, which is not nice."

The world No. 1, along with the late-early half of the draw at the Champion course, had to endure two weather delays on Friday -- the first for rain, the second for electrical storms in the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. area. McIlroy only managed to play two holes before play was initially stopped at 8:23 a.m. He played another hole after the resumption of play at 10:31 a.m. However, the horn was blown again at 10:55 a.m. and did not pick back up until 12:31 p.m. Between the two stoppages, play was halted for over three-and-a-half hours. Second round play will not be completed on Friday.

McIlroy's front nine, starting on No. 10, was relatively clean, dropping two shots to par with bookend bogeys. However, three bogeys in the final four holes, starting immediately after his only birdie on the round, sent the four-time major winner home.

Given how McIlroy has been playing since last summer, the missed cut comes as a surprise. In two 2015 starts on the European Tour, he finished runner-up in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

This is the 11th time McIlroy has missed the cut on the PGA Tour. However, it is the first time McIlroy has missed a PGA Tour cut since the 2013 Open Championship, ending a streak of 22 consecutive cuts made.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 27

Stacy Lewis in control by 3 at Honda LPGA Thailand

Stacy Lewis has a message for the golf world: She's not going anywhere.

The world No. 3 had a statement round on Friday on Day 2 of the Honda LPGA Thailand, shooting 8-under 64 at Siam Country Club to take a three-shot edge into the weekend over Amy Yang.

Lewis, who turned 30 on Feb. 17, knows this is a course where there's no room for holding pat.

"Tomorrow is just keep looking forward," Lewis said. "I did a good job of that today, of not looking at the leaderboards and what anybody behind me was doing. Just kept focusing on the next shot."

Curiously, Yang is the player who stared down Lydia Ko last weekend for the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open at Royal Melbourne before blinking in the final four holes. Yang is playing well because she ended her 2014 season earlier than usual, in October, and recharged her batteries.

“You know, sometimes you get tired of what you’re doing,” Yang said. “I think that’s what happened to me last year. That’s why I decided to finish season earlier, too. But over the winter while I’m resting I wanted to play more golf.  Finally my mind changed and I wanted to go back there and play in contention if I can.”

Ariya Jutanugarn, who has enjoyed one of the hottest starts to the 2015 LPGA season, is tied for third at 8 under with Caroline Masson, Jenny Shin and Mirim Lee.

Inbee Park, world No. 2 and the 2013 champion and '14 runner-up in this event, trails Lewis by 14 heading into the final 36 holes.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 27

Honda Classic leader Herman credits Trump for push to PGA Tour

There's a good chance you hadn't heard of Jim Herman before Thursday.

The first-round leader at The Honda Classic has two top-10 finishes in his prior 75 career PGA Tour starts, with both coming in 2013. The opening 65 he shot at PGA National isn't his career low on Tour, but it is by far his best round given the conditions and competition. He's never led on the PGA Tour.

There's an even better chance you would never have heard of Jim Herman on Thursday were it not for Donald Trump.

Back in 2006, Herman had grown weary of mini-tours and Monday qualifiers, taking a job as an assistant pro at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. It was there Trump noticed Herman and encouraged him.

“Got into a nice conversation with Donald, Mr. Trump, one day,” Herman said. “He’s like, `Why are you folding shirts and giving lessons? Why aren't you on the Tour? I've played with tour players, you're good enough.’

“I don't know, maybe something like that gives you more confidence."

Herman calls Trump's club in nearby Jupiter, Fla., his home course and wears the Trump logo on his golf shirts and bag. The reason is simple, Herman said: "He’s been influential in getting me to the Tour."


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 26

Sergio Garcia did his best Bill Haas impression at The Honda Classic

Sergio Garcia's tee shot to the par-5 18th in Round 1 of The Honda Classic didn't go where he hoped. It went in the water.

But when Garcia, who said he played Seve-like golf last week in contention at the Northern Trust Open, came upon his ball barely submerged in the hazard up the right of the hole, he decided it was worth a whack. After putting on his waterproof gear, Garcia stepped in and took a swing. 

It was a great play for the Spaniard, who not only got the ball back in the fairway, but advanced it. He wound up making par at his ninth hole of the day, eventually shooting 2-over 72 on a difficult scoring day at PGA National.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.