Golf

South Korea's Sung Hyun Park reacts after sinking a putt on the 18th green to finish the final round of the U.S. Women's Open Golf tournament Sunday, July 16, 2017, in Bedminster, N.J. Park won the tournament. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)(Photo: The Associated Press)

Golf Roundup: Park wins US Women’s Open in front of President Trump

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — After weeks of uncertainty, the U.S. Women’s Open stopped being about President Donald Trump, his course and his views toward women and it turned out to be what the USGA wanted: a good tournament on a good course.

Not surprisingly, the best player this week won, making up for a bad weekend in this event a year ago.

Sung Hyun Park shot her second straight 5-under 67 on Sunday and won a final-round battle with front-running Shanshan Feng and teenage amateur sensation Hye-Jin Choi at Trump National Golf Club for her first LPGA Tour victory.

The 23-year-old Park birdied the 15th to move into a tie for the lead and the 17th to open a two-shot edge after Choi made a double bogey to squander her chance of becoming the second amateur to win the event.

Park finished with an 11-under total of 277, two shots better than Choi, who shot a final-round 71.

It was a far cry from a year ago when Park hit into the water on the 18th hole at CordeValle in California and missed a playoff with eventual winner Britanny Lang and Anna Nordqvist by two shots.

“The experience was definitely worth it, because based on that good experience that I had last year, I think I was able to garner the championship this year,” Park said through an interpreter.

The USGA was criticized for not moving the event from Trump National after comments made by the president about women came to light during the election campaign. There were threats of protests, especially after Trump decided to attend the tournament after his trip to Paris on Thursday and Friday.

Trump arrived Friday and became the first sitting president to attend a Women’s Open, seeing parts of the final three rounds. There was a small protest after he arrived at his box near the 15th green shortly after 3 p.m., but it was peaceful.

It ended up being a quiet week of politics at the course. The golf was excellent.

Park needed a fine chip from over the green on the par-5 18th hole to save par and win the $900,000 top prize from the $5 million event.

Walking to the scoring tent to sign her card, she got a thumps-up from Trump from his box.

“Well, to be honest with you, I still cannot believe that it is actually happening,” said Park, who is the leading rookie on the LPGA Tour. “It’s almost feel like I’m floating on a cloud in the sky. Of course, I did have many winnings in other tournaments, but winning here at U.S. Open means so much more.

Choi was the low amateur for the second straight year. She was 38th in 2016. The only drawback was she could not pocket the $540,000 second-place prize.

“I mean it will be nice if I could get the money but I think my primary goal was to come here and compete so, to me, getting this second place in runner-up actually means more to me,” the 17-year-old said.

Top-ranked So Yeon Ryu (70) and fellow South Korean Mi Jung Hur (68) tied for third at 7 under. Feng, from China, had a 75 to drop into a tie for fifth at 6 under with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (70) and South Korea’s Jeongeun6 Lee (71).

South Koreans Sei Young Kim (69), Mirim Lee (72) and Amy Yang (75) tied for eighth at 5 under. Marina Alex of nearby Wayne, New Jersey, was the best of the American at 4 under after a 70. It was the worst finish in the Open for the top American since Paula Creamer was seventh in 2012.

Choi was the story for most of the final round. She had a two-shot lead with nine holes to play and needed a 5-foot birdie at 15 to regain a piece with Park, who had made a 20-footer in the group in front of her.

The 139-yard, par-3 16th over water ended Choi’s hopes. Her 7-iron landed in the water to the right of the hole. She ended with a double bogey and basically lost her chance of winning.

“At the time I felt that all this work, hard work I put together was going to disappear so I was bit disappointed but I had to refocus,” said Choi, who birdied the final hole.

Choi’s 279 was the best by an amateur in the Open, four shots better than the old mark by Grace Park in 1999. Catherine Lacoste remains the only amateur to win the Open, doing it in 1967.

Feng, who was the leader after the first three rounds and carried a one-shot edge into the final 18 holes, triple bogeyed the final hole.

“I think overall, before the last hole I did pretty well,” said Feng, who had only two birdies in the last two rounds. “I mean I did a good job hanging in right there because my putting was not really that great.”

It was not her first professional win for Park, who won seven times on the KLPGA Tour in 2016 and three times the year before.

“She’s young and long so she hits the ball very long and very straight, very accurate and has very good short game, also,” Feng said about Park. “I don’t see any weak part in her game.”

PGA:

SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — Third-round leader Patrick Rodgers knew that it would take a ton of birdies Sunday to win the John Deere Classic.

Bryson DeChambeau took that advice to heart.

DeChambeau overcame a four-stroke deficit to beat Rodgers by a stroke for his first PGA Tour title — and a spot next week in the British Open.

The 23-year-old DeChambeau birdied four of the final six holes at TPC Deere Run for a 6-under 65 and an 18-under 266 total. In 2015, the unconventional former SMU star became the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same year.

The win punctuated a comeback of sorts for DeChambeau, who capped a string of missed cuts with a 6-over finish last month in the U.S. Open.

“I show everybody that, ‘Look. There’s plenty of ways to do it.’ I do it my way and I feel comfortable doing it my way,” DeChambeau said.

Rodgers closed with 70.

DeChambeau made a 14-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to pull even with Rodgers. Rodgers then had a par putt on No. 17 lip out, and sent his tee shot on 18 into the rough.

Wesley Bryan (64) and Rick Lamb (66) tied for third at 16 under, and past tournament champions Steve Stricker (64) and Zach Johnson (67) topped the group at 15 under.

DeChambeau played the front nine in even par, then birdied six of the final nine holes to surge to the top of the leaderboard.

Rodgers, on the other hand, had four bogeys — and his approach on No. 18 sailed past the green. Rodgers nearly chipped in from 50 feet to force a playoff, missing the cup by a foot.

DeChambeau became the 10th first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.

“Our tendency when you have the lead is to kind of hold on and play safe and guard against making mistakes. But I had guys coming at me with some really low rounds. Obviously Bryson shot a great one,” said Rodgers, who remained winless on the PGA Tour.

Bryan, who won the RBC Heritage for his first career victory in April, shot a 30 on the back nine.

Lamb was 13 under for the final two rounds but was done in by pedestrian efforts in the first two rounds.

Stricker, who won at TPC Deere Run from 2009-11, grabbed a share of the lead before Rodgers teed off Sunday.

Stricker, 50, went 8-under par through 14 holes to jump all the way up from 34th place. But Stricker’s only bogey came on the 18th hole, when his par putt grazed the cup.

“Realistically, if I could have made a couple more birdies there and could have got it to 18-under, who knows? Just couldn’t get it in there,” Stricker said.

Johnson, who won the tournament in 2012 and has finished in the top three six times in his last eight appearances, challenged the leaders yet again before falling back. Johnson picked up bogeys on a pair of par 4s on the back nine, and he missed a 4-foot birdie putt on 14.

“My goal was to birdie every hole and give myself a chance on every hole. Early on it looked like my game plan was being executed,” Johnson said.

Bubba Watson shot a 68 to finish at 9 under.

SENIOR PLAYERS CLASSIC

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — For 70 holes, Bernhard Langer did everything necessary to win his fourth straight Constellation Senior Players Championship.

Unfortunately, his performance at Caves Valley will be remembered only for what happened after that.

Langer’s uncharacteristic collapse on Nos. 17 and 18 paved the way for Scott McCarron to win his first major tournament on the PGA Tour Champions in sensational comeback fashion Sunday.

McCarron shot a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to make up a six-shot deficit and beat Langer and Brandt Jobe by a stroke.

“I’ve been working so hard for this,” said McCarron, a 51-year-old Californian. “That was one of my goals this year, to win three events and one of them being a major. So I’ve got one more event to go.”

McCarron’s victory at the Allianz Championship in February wasn’t nearly as exciting as this one, which came to fruition because Langer came apart just when it seemed he was well on his way to making history.

Seeking his third major win of the year, the 59-year German had a one-shot lead before dropping his tee shot in the water on No. 17. After taking the one-shot penalty, he missed a 4-footer and had to settle for a double bogey.

Playing in the twosome ahead of Langer and Jobe, McCarron didn’t need to see the leaderboard to realize what happened.

“It wasn’t until I heard the fans up there in the cheap seats when Langer hit it in the water did I know that I might have a chance,” McCarron said.

On 18, Langer lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff.

“I thought I hit a really good putt,” he said. “But the big issue was 17, hitting a horrible shot there and then missing for bogey. That was the killer.”

He finished with a 73 that included only two birdies.

Langer was trying to become the first player in the history of the senior tour to win the same major four years in a row. The run began in 2014 at the Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, continued in 2015 at the Belmont Country Club in Massachusetts and stayed alive last year at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

And now it’s over.

“This is going to hurt for a little while because it was within my grasp to win the championship,” Langer said. “All I had to do was come home in even par more or less. Twenty under would have done it. But it’s easier said than done.”

Langer started the day with a one-shot lead over Jobe, with McCarron a distant third at 12 under.

After Jobe birdied No. 1 to pull into a tie atop the leaderboard, Langer answered with birdies at Nos. 2 and 5 and went up by three shots when Jobe bogeyed 6.

But Langer didn’t get another birdie the rest of the way. After his lamentable round was over, he looked back at what he did wrong — rather than what put him in position to win.

“At 17, I hit it exactly where I didn’t want to hit it — in the water,” Langer said. “Anywhere else, you know, left, short, long, you’ve got a chance. Out of the water, you don’t. And I didn’t make a putt all day.”

McCarron got into contention with four straight birdies on the front nine. He finished with eight straight pars, which was good enough to earn him $420,000, his biggest payday on the 50-and-over tour.

Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 66 to finish fourth at 16 under, and Steve Flesch (68) was fifth at 13 under.

SCOTTISH OPEN

IRVINE, Scotland (AP) — Rafa Cabrera Bello needed the best round of the week and one of the best shots of his life to end his 5½-year wait for a victory on Sunday.

A 72nd-hole meltdown from Callum Shinkwin helped, too, at the Scottish Open.

On another signature day for Spanish golf in 2017, Cabrera Bello followed up an 8-under 64 — a course record at Dundonald Links — with a birdie in a sudden-death playoff against Shinkwin to win his third European Tour title.

He set up the birdie with a 3-wood to 8 feet from 275 yards on his second shot at the par-5 18th, having nearly found a burn running alongside the green with a similar shot in regulation play.

“I executed it perfectly,” Cabrera Bello said. “One of the shots of my life.”

Shinkwin, an unheralded Englishman ranked No. 405, left western Scotland with a spot in next week’s British Open and the belief that he can compete with the game’s best players.

And probably bad memories of the 18th hole at Dundonald Links.

Shinkwin started the final round in a share of the lead with Ian Poulter and Andrew Dodt, and led by a shot going down the last for the first time Sunday. Needing only a par to be assured of victory, he sent his second shot left and behind a greenside bunker, before chipping short of the green and seeing his ball roll back down beside the bunker.

From just off the green, he rolled a putt to 4 feet and left his par putt two inches short. He laughed and held his face in his hands, knowing he had dropped into a playoff with his only bogey in a round of 68. Shinkwin and Cabrera Bello finished on 13-under 275 overall.

Returning to the 18th for the playoff, Shinkwin was first with his second shot and put it exactly where he did about 30 minutes earlier. His chip shot over the bunker was only slightly better and he left his birdie putt agonizingly short again.

“It’s all a learning curve and obviously if you win, you have to have luck on your side. It wasn’t there for me,” Shinkwin said.

“Under the gun, I didn’t miss a shot until the last hole.”

In his final round, Cabrera Bello made eight birdies and didn’t drop a shot. On his 72nd hole, his approach landed on the bank and nearly dropped into the burn, drawing gasps from spectators. He chipped out and made a birdie that ultimately forced the playoff.

His win continues a stunning year for Spanish golf, with Sergio Garcia winning the Masters for his first major title and Jon Rahm — a rising star of the sport — winning two titles, most recently at the Irish Open last week.

The last of Cabrera Bello’s previous two titles on the European Tour came at the Dubai Desert Classic in February 2012.

“I have been fighting for this win for many years,” he said. “Sometimes I did mistakes, sometimes it didn’t work out for me.

“I think this is long overdue.”

Cabrera Bello will climb into the world’s top 20 heading into the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Matthieu Pavon and Dodt joined Shinkwin in qualifying for the Open courtesy of a top-10 finish for non-exempt players. Dodt was due to fly to New York on Monday for a five-day holiday with his wife.

Poulter was seeking a 14th worldwide win — and first since November 2012 — but was always playing catch-up after three-putting Nos. 1 and 4 for bogeys. He tied for ninth place alongside 2015 champion Rickie Fowler, who shot 70.

WEB.COM TOUR

FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) — Brice Garnett won the Web.com Tour’s Utah Championship on Sunday at Oakridge Country Club to wrap up a PGA Tour card for next season.

Garnett won for the first time on the tour, closing with a 6-under 65 in 98-degree heat for a one-stroke victory over Abraham Ancer (63), Austin Cook (65) and Rob Oppenheim (69).

Garnett earned $126,000 to jump from 57th to 12th on the money list with $182,554, with the top 25 after the final six regular-season events earning PGA Tour cards.

“First win out here is huge,” Garnett said. “It gets me over that magical number, and it’s hard. It’s hard to win on any tour, and it’s hard to win knowing that there’s a little carrot at the end of the road of going to the PGA Tour. It feels great, and I worked my butt off for two years, and to be going back is really, really special.”

Garnett took a share of the lead for the first time with a birdie at the par-5 15th. He grabbed the outright lead on the par-4 16th with a wedge to 4 feet for birdie, and parred the final two.

“I feel like it’s kind of been a while coming,” Garnett said. “Everything just kind of went my way and that’s what happens when you win. Just extremely happy.”

The 33-year-old former Missouri Western State player spent most of the past three seasons on the PGA Tour, finishing 177th last year in the FedEx Cup standings.

Ancer also secured a PGA Tour card, earning $52,267 to move from 12th to fifth with $213,129.

“It’s incredible, man,” Ancer said. “That was the goal at the beginning of the year and now that it’s secured, it’s great. All the work has been paying off, and I’ve been staying patient. I’m super excited. I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Jacques Blaauw, tied for the third-round lead with Oppenheim after a course-record 61, shot a 70 to tie for fifth at 19 under with Nate Lashley (65), Blake Adams (66), Ben Silverman (67) and Denny McCarthy (69).

AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP

STATELINE, Nev. (AP) — Mark Mulder won his record third straight title Sunday in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament, and Stephen Curry rallied to finish fourth.

Mulder had an 11-point victory over fellow former pitcher Derek Lowe and former tennis player Mardy Fish in the modified Stableford event at at Edgewood Tahoe. Players got 6 points for eagle, 3 for birdie, 1 for par, 0 for bogey and minus-2 for double bogey or higher.

Curry had 28 points in the final round — the best round score of the week in the 54-hole tournament — to finish with 60. The NBA star eagled the par-5 18th for a 68.

“This is no exaggeration, this is the best complete round of my life,” Curry said. “I think I am one off from my best score, but considering the environment, how terrible I played earlier in the week, and to finish like this was the definitely the best round of my life. To finish like that on 18 was really, really fun. I’m going to be bragging about that for a long time.”

Mulder had rounds of 72, 69 and 69 on the par-72 course. He earned $125,000.

“My three kids think this is the tournament where they get to run on the green,” Mulder said about the victory celebration. “It’s really cool that I was able to back that up. I didn’t want to disappoint them.”

Former NHL player Dan Quinn (2001-02) and former pitcher Rick Rhoden (2008-09) were the only others to win back-to-back titles.

Curry is set to play in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in the Bay Area on Aug. 3-6. The Web.com Tour is the PGA Tour’s top developmental series.

“It is going to be a totally different environment,” Curry said. “But hopefully I play like I did today and everything will be all right.”

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