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Captain Nick Price has many options, but no experience, for Presidents Cup

NEW YORK – The Americans have a 7-1-1 record in the Presidents Cup, and the upcoming 10th edition looks even more lopsided on paper.

Consider the options of the two captains.

This is the final week for players to earn a spot on the teams before Fred Couples and Nick Price get two captain’s picks.

If nothing changes in the U.S. standings, Couples will have to choose from among Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, if he can persuade Stricker to take a break from his semi-retirement. And that list doesn’t even include 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. Whenever a guy starts a season with no status and is headed to the Tour Championship, odds are he’s playing pretty good golf.

For Couples, that’s a nice problem to have.

International Captain Nick Price has a short list that doesn’t resemble a ”Who’s Who” as much as a ”Who’s That?”

Move past Tim Clark at No. 11 and his choices include Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. There are three Aussies, just not the names you’re used to seeing: Marc Leishman, Brett Rumford and Marcus Fraser. There’s George Coetzee and Brendon de Jonge, both from southern Africa. And don’t overlook Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan, who this year became the only player to miss the cut in all four majors.

What binds them is not the International flag under which they hope to play. It’s that none has competed in the Presidents Cup.

”There’s a lot of rookies,” Price said Tuesday morning.

He wasn’t talking about potential picks, but players already on the team – Branden Grace and Richard Sterne, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Graham DeLaet of Canada, who is holding down the 10th spot going into the Deutsche Bank Championship.

The International team has not looked this outmatched since 1998 at Royal Melbourne, the year one of its players (Carlos Franco of Paraguay) tuned up for the matches by going through Q-School. Another (Joe Ozaki) only made the team because his big brother (Jumbo Ozaki) decided not to play.

What happened?

They gave the Yanks their biggest spanking in team competition. It was such a rout that when Price won the clinching point, the staff was still clearing breakfast off the tables in the clubhouse.

”If you look back at Melbourne in ’98, and the draw in South Africa in ’03, our guys played their (tails) off,” Price said. ”That’s what we need.”

The Presidents Cup needs a new winner, even if that means new faces. It needs emotion, which has been missing since Chris DiMarco ran screaming into the arms of Jack Nicklaus after making a putt on the final hole in 2005.

It needs one of the most distinguished characters in golf breaking a club over his knee in despair.

”That really was embarrassing for me,” Price said.

Yes, that was him.

The Presidents Cup in South Africa was so tight in 2003 that Price knew every point – every half-point – could be the difference. Playing against Kenny Perry, he twice rallied from a three-hole deficit. On the final hole at Fancourt, Price missed a short birdie putt to halve the match and snapped the putter in two as he walked off the green.

No apologies were necessary, though he still offers them.

”A freak reaction,” Price said. ”But I’ll tell you what it’s turned into. A guy phoned me from South Africa and said, ‘Tell us about the time you walked off the green and broke your putter in front of (captains) Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.’ It was totally unintentional. But it showed how much I cared.”

Price still cares enough to challenge PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem over the points structure.

Unlike the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, there are five matches (instead of four) in the team sessions, and thus 32 points available for the week instead of 28. The idea is to have more players on the course. Nice thought, but is this supposed to be like Little League with the emphasis on participation?

Price realizes the Americans have greater depth. Playing for fewer points gives him a better chance for a close contest.

Finchem rejected the proposal presented to him by Price and former Captain Greg Norman.

”I understand his thinking,” Finchem said a month ago. ”But I think we have a nice history that’s built up already in the Presidents Cup. I increasingly feel like unless it’s broke, don’t really mess with it. And the Presidents Cup has been very, very successful.”

Successful by what measure?

The fact the Americans have lost only once in two decades? That the last three cups haven’t even been close? One more blowout and this will be bordering on a biennial exhibition, if it’s not already.

”I was listening yesterday to the European coverage of their tour, and the guys are already talking about the Ryder Cup next year,” Price said. ”Obviously, the Ryder Cup will be there (at Gleneagles). But I wish we could hear that about the Presidents Cup. The only way that’s going to happen is if it’s closely contested.”

Even if that means having players hardly anyone knows.

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Captain Nick Price has many options, but no experience, for Presidents Cup

Web.com Finals begin this week to decide PGA Tour cards for 2013-14

NEW YORK – While the top 100 players in the FedExCup gather outside Boston this week to resume their pursuit of riches, 129 players are in Indiana for another form of PGA Tour playoffs. Only those guys are pursuing jobs.

The Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind., is the first event of the Web.com Tour Finals, four $1 million tournaments that will determine who gets PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season. It essentially is like Q-School, but stretched out over four weeks instead of six days.

The four-event series is for players who were No. 126 to No. 200 in the FedExCup, and the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list.

Everyone starts from scratch, and the leading 25 players on the money list from these four tournaments will get their PGA Tour cards. The top 25 from the Web.com Tour money list are assured their cards. How high they finish on this money list only determines their pecking order for getting into tournaments next season.

The series should start to provide some insight in one question: Does this format favor the players who had poor seasons competing against the best in the world, or those who had good years competing in the minor leagues?

Not everyone who is eligible will be competing.

Some players, such as Ben Curtis and Tommy Gainey, already are exempt for 2013-14 from winning on tour last year. The field includes a major champion (Trevor Immelman) and former Ryder Cup players Chad Campbell and Chris DiMarco.

It also includes Patrick Cantlay, who was in the top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list almost the entire year until a back injury kept him out for two months. He fell out of the top 25 after the final week of the regular season, and now starts with no money next to his name along with everyone else.

The series moves to North Carolina next week, followed by Columbus, Ohio, and wrapping up with the Web.com Tour Championship at PGA Tour headquarters (the Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass).

After a week off, the new season begins.

Those who failed to earn one of the 25 cards will have status on the Web.com Tour next year.

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Web.com Finals begin this week to decide PGA Tour cards for 2013-14

Notebook: Bubba Watson joins staff at Greenbrier, gets new set of tees

NEW YORK – Anyone who can break 90 while playing The Old White TPC all the way back might have a chance to play a round of golf with The Greenbrier’s newest resident: Bubba Watson.

The former Masters champion is the latest to join the Greenbrier’s staff of professional golfers and will have The Greenbrier logo on his golf bag. Other players representing the fabled West Virginia resort are Webb Simpson, Kenny Perry and Tom Watson, the Greenbrier’s pro emeritus.

Watson played The Greenbrier Classic this year and loved it so much he bought a home.

“I was blown away when I played The Old White TPC earlier this year,” Watson said. “My family and I had a great time experiencing all of the different amenities the property offers and decided this was the perfect place for us.”

In honor of the relationship announced Tuesday, The Greenbrier will introduce a set of “Bubba” tees that guests can play on the Old White. Those who break 90 will have their names entered in a raffle, and two winners will have a chance to play with Watson.

MINDFUL MICKELSON: Phil Mickelson is known almost as much for signing autographs as his five major championships.

He showed last week at Liberty National that he doesn’t just go through the motions. Mickelson played an 18-hole practice round for The Barclays, pulled out a marker and began working both sides of the fence lined with fans.

After signing each item, he handed it back to the person, looked them in the eye and said, “Thank you.”

He signed a program for one man and as he handed it back to him, Mickelson said, “Thanks for your patience. I saw you out there watching us.”

But it wasn’t all warm and fuzzy. As he went to sign a flag, he withdrew his pen and said to the man, “Sir, you already gave me one thing to sign. I won’t sign for you again.”

MCCORMACK MEDAL: Lydia Ko is winning the Mark H. McCormack Medal about as often as Tiger Woods wins the professional version of it.

The 16-year-old Ko has won the McCormack Medal as the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking for 2013. U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick of England won for being the leading male amateur.

Ko won the medal for the third straight year.

“It means a lot, and to have won the medal three years in a row makes it more special,” she said. “To have maintained my position for the last three years has been meaningful. I won the U.S. Amateur last year. I wanted to win that championship so much. Without winning it, I may not have been able to maintain my position.”

Ko is coming off her second straight win in the Canadian Women’s Open on the LPGA Tour. She has been No. 1 in the women’s amateur ranking for 123 straight weeks. In the professional women’s ranking, she already is No. 7.

Fitzpatrick captured the medal by winning the U.S. Amateur to overtake Cheng-tsung Pan in the ranking. The McCormack Medal gives him a spot in the U.S. Open and the British Open next summer.

DIVOTS: Rickie Fowler will be playing the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines on Nov. 7-10. … Only six of the 25 players who earned PGA Tour cards through the Web.com Tour money list will be rookies next year. … Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott are the only players who have won a major, a World Golf Championship, The Players Championship and a FedExCup playoff event. … Europe begins its Ryder Cup standings this week at the ISPS Handa Wales Open, where Captain Paul McGinley will hit the first tee shot at Celtic Manor. Only one player in the field – Francesco Molinari – was on the last Ryder Cup team for Europe.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Three PGA Tour winners this year earned their cards at Q-School last year – Billy Horschel, Derek Ernst and Patrick Reed.

FINAL WORD: “Hopefully, she doesn’t get burned out before she gets the chance to turn pro.” – Brittany Lincicome on 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko, who won the CN Canadian Women’s Open for the second straight year.

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Notebook: Bubba Watson joins staff at Greenbrier, gets new set of tees

Woods withdraws from pal Begay’s charity event, citing his aching back

VERONA, N.Y. – Tiger Woods has pulled out of a charity event for good friend Notah Begay because of his ailing back.

The Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge said Monday night that Gary Woodland will replace Woods in the field Wednesday at Turning Stone Resort.

Woods said he felt stiffness in his back last week at The Barclays from a soft bed in his hotel. He said he suffered a back spasm during a seven-hole stretch at the end of the final round, and he dropped to his knees after one shot. Woods finished one shot behind winner Adam Scott.

Woods has not said if he will play in the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second FedExCup playoff event that starts Friday on the TPC Boston. That tournament benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. Woods had to miss another event that supports his foundation, the AT&T National, two months ago because of an elbow injury.

”While we’re disappointed Tiger is unable to play in this year’s event, the important thing for Tiger is to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy and not risk further injuring himself,” Begay said.

Woods said he has spoken to Begay, his teammate at Stanford, and expressed his regrets at having to pull out.

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Woods withdraws from pal Begay’s charity event, citing his aching back

Scott gets big win at Barclays, has long way to go to reach No. 1 ranking

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Two snapshots from Liberty National could illustrate the fortunes and future at the top of the world golf ranking.

One was of Tiger Woods dropping to his hands and knees with back pain after hitting a shot so far left that it landed in a pond on the other side of an adjacent fairway. The other was of Masters champion Adam Scott swinging his driver, a beautiful blend of balance, rhythm and power.


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Scott went on to win The Barclays, partly because of his bogey-free 66 Sunday, mostly because the other contenders fell apart down the stretch. No apologies were necessary. Woods has won plenty of tournaments that way.

”I feel like I’ve been given a bit of a gift,” Scott said. ”But I’ll take it.”

Woods finished one shot behind, unable to atone for three bad swings that led to bogeys on the back nine.

The big picture was Monday morning.

Scott moved up to a career-best No. 2 in the world, but he’s really no closer to Woods than he ever has been.

Even if the Australian were to win the next three FedExCup playoff events – about as easy as winning four straight majors – he still wouldn’t replace Woods at No. 1. That’s how big the gap is between Woods and the rest of golf.

Woods hasn’t won a major in five years, but he’s still winning against strong fields. And even though nagging injuries seem to be piling up, he’s winning more than anyone else.

That’s what Scott will have to learn to do if he wants to be the best in the world.

This is only the second time Scott has had a multiple-win season on the PGA Tour. The other was in 2004, when he won The Players Championship and the Booz Allen Classic at Congressional. Around the world, he has won at least once in each of the last 13 seasons, but never more than two wins in any season.

Scott now has 21 wins worldwide, leaving him 70 behind Woods.

Woods is never a fair comparison for anyone. Scott said as much seven years ago when asked what it was like to grow up dreaming about being the best in the world and being stuck in the same generation as a guy like Woods.

”The hardest thing now is for young kids to realize this Tiger benchmark is out of most everyone’s league,” he said at the end of the 2006 season, when Woods had won six straight PGA Tour events.

He jokingly said that day he would have to wait until Woods went through another swing change. That time has come and gone.

Scott at least entered the conversation for PGA Tour player of the year with his win at The Barclays, though that depends on the next month. Winning another FedExCup playoff event would give him three victories, including a major. Is that enough to trump five wins and no majors?

Then again, it was Scott who last week didn’t hesitate when asked who has had the best year in golf so far.

”Five wins? Tiger’s had the best year,” he said. ”If you think winning a major is what you base success on, then if you haven’t (won), you haven’t had a great year. But winning … I’ve always based it around winning events, and I don’t think one major makes up for five tournaments.”

To see Scott swing a club is to ask why he’s not winning more often. Scott prides himself on consistency, but since his playoff win at Augusta National, he had only one serious look at winning this year until The Barclays. That was at the British Open, where he had the lead on the back nine at Muirfield until making four straight bogeys as Phil Mickelson finished off one of the great final rounds in a major to win the claret jug.

Vijay Singh hit his stride in 2004 and won nine times. Rory McIlroy took over at No. 1 last year when he won five times.

That’s where Scott needs to be. Perhaps this is a start.

”To have multiple wins on the PGA Tour is a pretty good accomplishment, I think,” Scott said. ”There aren’t too many guys doing it regularly, and I’m not, either. But I’d like to. I’m trying to jump off that springboard and win more regularly, and I think I’m going about it the right way.”

One thing Scott and Woods have in common is their schedule. Neither plays a lot of tournament golf. Scott has 41 events on his world ranking ledger over the last two years while Woods has 39. That’s by design. Scott is playing less and getting more out of it. The weeks at his home in the Bahamas are spent on quality practice.

It’s working. He’s the Masters champion. He’s No. 2 in the world. He is playing the best golf of his career.

”It’s interesting,” Scott said. ”I felt like earlier in my career, I gave myself a lot more chances to win tournaments because I played a lot more. The last couple of years, my focus shifted a bit and I changed my schedule and played a lot less tournaments. So I think I’ve got less opportunity to win. I’ve focused on the bigger tournaments, which are not easy to win – not that any others are.

”Kind of developed my game into being more consistent, performing in the big ones,” he said. ”And now I’m trying to adapt that to be a winner on a more frequent basis.”

Only when that happens – if it happens – will the No. 1 ranking come into view.

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Scott gets big win at Barclays, has long way to go to reach No. 1 ranking

Golf-Malaysia to host new EurAsia Cup matchplay event in March

LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) – The inaugural EurAsia Cup matchplay event in Malaysia is to feature on the initial sector of the 2013-14 European Tour schedule, organisers said on Monday.

Ten of Europe’s top players will take on a 10-man team from Asia at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from March 28-30 in a format similar to the Ryder Cup.

Europe will select the leading four golfers from the final 2012-13 Race to Dubai money list, the top four available from the world rankings and two captain’s picks.

The Asian side will include the leading four players from their final Order of Merit, the top three available from the world rankings and three captain’s picks.

“We are delighted to announce the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM as part of our initial sector of the schedule,” the European Tour’s chief operating officer and director of international policy Keith Waters said in a news release.

“With the addition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge – one of seven events in South Africa – and the continued strength of the ‘desert swing’, including the 25th anniversary of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, we can look forward to an outstanding start to the Race to Dubai.”

The long-established Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City in December, boasting a prize fund of $6.5 million, is making its first appearance as a European Tour-sanctioned event.

The rest of the 2013-14 calendar is expected to be announced later this year.

Initial sector of 2013-14 European Tour schedule: Nov. 21-24 South African Open

(Glendower Golf Club, Gauteng, Johannesburg) Nov. 28- Alfred Dunhill Championship Dec. 1 (Leopard Creek Country Club, Malelane, S.Africa) Dec. 5-8 Nedbank Golf Challenge

(Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, S.Africa) Dec. 5-8 Hong Kong Open

(Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling) Dec. 12-15 Nelson Mandela Championship

(Mount Edgecombe Country Club, Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, S.Africa) Jan. 9-12 Volvo Golf Champions (venue to be announced) Jan. 16-19 Abu Dhabi Championship

(Abu Dhabi Golf Club, United Arab Emirates) Jan. 22-25 Qatar Masters

(Doha Golf Club) Jan. 30- Dubai Desert Classic Feb. 2 (Emirates Golf Club, United Arab Emirates) Feb. 6-9 Joburg Open

(Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club) Feb. 13-16 Africa Open

(East London Golf Club, Eastern Cape, S.Africa) Feb. 19-23 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

(Ritz-Carlton GC, Dove Mountain, Marana, Arizona) Feb. 27- Tshwane Open March 2 (Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate, Centurion, SA) March 6-9 WGC-Cadillac Championship

(Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Florida) March 13-16 Trophee Hassan II

(Golf du Palais Royal, Agadir, Morocco) March 28-30 EurAsia Cup

(Glenmarie G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) (Writing by Tony Jimenez; editing by Toby Davis)

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Golf-Malaysia to host new EurAsia Cup matchplay event in March

Riegger wins Boeing Classic, get first win in his fifth Champions Tour start

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – John Riegger won the Boeing Classic on Sunday in his fifth Champions Tour start, holding off John Cook and Fred Couples at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.

The 50-year-old Riegger birdied three of the final four holes – holing a 20-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th – for a 4-under 68 and a two-stroke victory over Cook. Riegger finished at 15-under 201.


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“I didn’t look at the board,” Riegger said. “The only person to put pressure on you is yourself. I knew these guys were great players their whole careers. Still are. I knew they were going to come out and throw some birdies at me early. I was going to play my game and I knew if I played the way I was capable of playing, things would take care of themselves.”

Riegger, a two-time winner on the Web.com Tour, is the fifth rookie to win this year on the 50-and-over tour, matching a record. He won $300,000, the biggest check in his professional career.

“This is going to go down as the best win of my career,” Riegger said. “It’s been a long, crazy career. I’ve been around the world and had a little success on the PGA Tour, European Tour, Web.com, but my game has actually gotten better the last couple years. … I was just trying to play my game, do what I was capable of doing, play the smart percentage and that’s what I did all day long.”

Cook closed with a 65.

“For him to come out and not have that much experience, to do what he did down the stretch is very commendable,” Cook said about Riegger.

Couples was third at 11 under after a 66. He birdied the last three holes and four of the final five.

“Today it was a nice finish,” Couples said. “In the middle, I had a couple (missed) putts and that was about as good as I could have shot.”

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Riegger wins Boeing Classic, get first win in his fifth Champions Tour start

Woods overcomes back spasm in near miss at The Barclays

By Larry Fine

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (Reuters) – He collapsed to his knees in pain and bent over to place both fists on the ground after a back spasm at the 13th, but Tiger Woods still managed to nearly force a playoff at The Barclays on Sunday.

Woods, who had complained about a sore back he blamed on sleeping on a soft hotel bed this week, hit the deck after hitting a fairway wood for his second shot at the par-five 13th hole during the final round of the event won by Adam Scott.

After collecting himself, the world number one got back to his feet and made his way to the point where his shot sailed over the tee box at the adjacent hole and splashed into water and he took a drop on his way to a bogey.

Woods said he felt twinges in his back on the hole before.

“It actually started the hole before, my little tee shot there started it and 13 just kind of accentuated it,” he said.

The bogey at 13 cost him in a tight race in which he had been part of a four-way tie for the lead early on the back nine. Woods had another bogey at the 15th and was bending over gingerly to take his ball out of the cup.

Woods was asked later if it was a back spasm.

“Oh yeah, big time,” said the 37-year-old American. “It’s definitely spasming.”

Woods, a five-time winner on the tour this year, still gave himself a chance to add to his total.

He birdied the 16th and 17th holes to move within one stroke of Australia’s Scott, the Masters champion, and had a 26-foot putt from off the green for a possible birdie that would have forced a playoff.

“I had a chance,” said Woods.

“I hit a good putt. Thought I made it,” he added of the putt that died three inches from the hole. “It was a little double-breaker and I thought I poured it in.”

Woods said his back had not given him any previous trouble on Sunday until the tee shot at 12.

“I was playing pretty good, and I was hanging right there and I was only one back,” he said.

“I figured I was in the perfect spot and unfortunately just couldn’t finish off the rest of the day.”

Woods finished up with a two-under 69 that put him in a four-way tie for second at 10-under-par.

The American was not sure about his status for next week’s FedExCup event, the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.

“That’s all hypothetical. I just got off (the course) and I’m not feeling my best right now.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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Woods overcomes back spasm in near miss at The Barclays

La’Cassie wins Cox Classic as 25 money leaders earn PGA Tour cards

OMAHA, Neb. – Bronson La’Cassie never thought about winning this week, choosing to just focus on playing golf instead. It was that mindset that allowed him to overcome a bogey on No. 16 to fall two strokes behind Matt Bettencourt with two holes to play in the Cox Classic, the final regular-season event on the 2013 Web.com Tour schedule.


These players earned 2013-2014 PGA Tour cards by finishing in the top 25 on the 2013 Web.com Tour final regular season money list.



1. Michael Putnam


2. Ben Martin


3. Chesson Hadley


4. Edward Loar


5. Kevin Tway


6. Bronson La’Cassie


7. Will Wilcox


8. Mark Anderson


9. Alex Aragon


10. Tim Wilkinson


11. Alex Prugh


12. Jamie Lovemark


13. Kevin Kisner


14. Brice Garnett


15. Danny Lee


16. Matt Bettencourt


17. Jim Renner


18. Peter Malnati


19. Benjamin Alvarado


20. Brendon Todd


21. Daniel Chopra


22. Wes Roach


23. Miguel Carballo


24. Kevin Foley


25. Andrew Svoboda


La’Cassie responded by going birdie-birdie to tie Bettencourt at 21 under par at the end of regulation. The Australian then went on to win with a two-putt par on the third playoff hole at Champions Run for his first victory on the Web.com Tour.

La’Cassie’s triumph was worth $144,000. He finished the regular season No. 6 on the money list as the top 25 on the cash chart earned their PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season.

John Peterson (67) came up one stroke shy of the playoff at 20-under 264.

Finishing three back in a tie for fourth were D.J. Brigman (64) and Kevin Tway (65).

“It feels really good, it gives you the belief that you can do it again so it feels great,” said La’Cassie. “I’ve never been to the Tour before so that will be sweet.”

La’Cassie’s journey in golf started in Australia, where he started playing at age 6. He didn’t start getting serious until age 14 and knew that if he wanted to accomplish his goals, he would need come to over and play in the United States.

“I’ve always wanted to play in America, watching it on TV back home,” he said. “This is the place you want to be if you’re going to make it.”

La’Cassie, 30, made the tough decision to leave home to attend the University of Minnesota to play golf because the coach there attended the same high school as him back in Australia. He finished his career in college as the first four-time All-American in school history and won many awards, including the Big Ten Les Bolstad Award for lowest season stroke average. He also holds two of the top-10 scoring averages in Gopher golf history.

La’Cassie will now set his sights on the Web.com Tour Finals to position himself with the highest ranking possible for next season. He plans to keep it simple in these final four events and keep the same demeanor he used to win in a playoff Sunday afternoon.

“I’m playing well,” he said. “I’m really not going to worry about too much and just keep playing.”

Bettencourt might have lost in the playoff, but he did win this week. He played this year out of the past champions category on the PGA Tour and only got into nine events. The runner-up finish moved him to No. 16 on the final money list, earning him a return trip to the Tour next season.

This is the 38-year-old’s second consecutive runner-up finish on the Web.com Tour and he plans to build off those performances and focus his attention on the Web.com Tour Finals starting next week at the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“It’s good to have my card back,” he said. “I feel great and I’m looking forward to playing next week.”

Fourth-Round Notes:

–Bronson La’Cassie earned his first career win in his 73rd career start. He picked up the winner’s check for $144,000 and moved from No. 33 to No. 6 on the money list to earn his 2013-14 PGA Tour card.

–La’Cassie becomes the 12th first-time winner in 21 events this year. He made the cut in 10 of 19 starts this season, and tied for third in both the Mid-Atlantic Championship and the Albertsons Boise Open.

–La’Cassie becomes the third foreign-born winner this year. He joins Benjamin Alvarado (Chile/Chile Classic) and Alex Aragon (Mexico/WNB Golf Classic) in the category. He is also the second foreign-born winner of the Cox Classic, joining 1999 champion Mathew Goggin of Australia.

–La’Cassie is now 1-0 in playoffs on the Web.com Tour. The playoff was the fourth on tour this year – United Leasing Championship, Utah Championship, Albertsons Boise Open – and the fifth in tournament history (1998, 2000, 2005 and 2008).

–Matt Bettencourt is now 0-2 in career Web.com Tour playoffs; he was runner-up to D.A. Points at the 2008 Miccosukee Championship. Bettencourt collected the runner-up check for $86,400 and moved from No. 63 to No. 16 on the money earned his PGA Tour card for the 2013-14 season.

–Leading money winner Michael Putnam maintained his grasp of the top spot and finished the regular season at No. 1 to earn Full Exempt status for the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. Putnam started the week with a $37,735 lead over No. 2 Ben Martin, posted a 14-under total to finish tied for 12th while Martin wound up at 7 under and tied for 40th. Putnam finished his season with $450,184, with Martin ending at No. 2 with $399,769, a difference of $50,415.

–Four players that were outside the top 25 played their way into the top 25 this week: Bronson La’Cassie up from No. 33 to No. 6; Matt Bettencourt up from No. 63 to No. 16; Miguel Carballo up from No. 29 to No. 23; and Wes Roach up from No. 26 to No. 22.

–Four players dropped out of the top 25 after missing the 36-hole cut: Steven Alker down from No. 22 to No. 26; Ashley Hall down from No. 23 to No. 27; Mathew Goggin down from No. 24 to No. 28; and Patrick Cantlay down from No. 25 to No. 29.

–Len Mattiace started the week No. 80 on the money list needing a great week to climb inside the top 75 to qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals. His 67 in the final round placed him in a tie for seventh putting him at No. 58.

“It’s a real good feeling,” he said. “I’m happy with it and I look forward to the next four weeks.”

Mattiace believes his swing has come into form just in time to make some noise at the Finals.

“I think I made one bad swing the entire tournament,” he said. “With the pressure on it feels good to be able to execute. It’s a good feeling.”

–The 315-yard ninth hole continues to be an easy mark for the field. The drivable par 4, which has been the easiest par 4 on the Web.com Tour for the past seven consecutive years, yielded a scoring average of 3.529. There were 15 eagles over the four days, and a total of 18 eagles on that hole in both 2007 and 2008, the most in any single year.

–The Web.com Tour heads east next week for the first of the four Finals events. The inaugural Hotel Fitness Championship will be played at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Original article: 

La’Cassie wins Cox Classic as 25 money leaders earn PGA Tour cards

Ko, teen star, wins CN Canadian Women’s Open second straight year

EDMONTON, Alberta – Teen star Lydia Ko ran away with the CN Canadian Women’s Open – again.

The 16-year-old New Zealand amateur successfully defend her title Sunday, closing with a 6-under 64 on Sunday at Royal Mayfair for a five-stroke victory and her fourth win in professional events.


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“I’m pretty surprised, but I played some really good golf out there, so I was really happy about that,” Ko said. “My goal today was to shoot 5 under and just play my own game. If somebody else shot better, then I can’t do anything about it.”

Last year at Vancouver Golf Club in British Columbia, the South Korean-born Ko became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history at 15 years, 4 months, 2 days. She also was the fifth amateur winner in tour history and the first since JoAnne Carner in the 1969 Burdine’s Invitational.

“I never really thought about making history and all that,” Ko said. “History is, I don’t know where it starts. So, yeah, it’s awesome to be a part of history.”

Ko’s other victories in professional events came last year in the Australian tour’s New South Wales Open and this year in the Ladies European Tour’s New Zealand Women’s Open. Projected to jump from 19th to seventh in the world ranking, she has played 14 LPGA Tour events the last two seasons, making the cut in every tournament. She also won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last summer.

Ko was again asked about turning professional.

“I’ve got some people above me like my mom and dad, they’re the boss,” Ko said. “They’re going to help me to make the right decision and to turn pro at what time. I think as I’m only 16 still, it’s quite hard to make huge decisions. When I turn pro it’s like a job. Money is all about it and everything like that, every shot counts. Yeah, I think my parents and New Zealand golf they’re all going to have a say, and hopefully we’ll make a really good decision on when I will turn pro.”

She bristled when asked about losing out on another $300,000 pay day.

“I don’t care. I don’t care,” Ko said. “I can say that a couple times more, if you want.”

Ko had a 15-under 265 total after opening with rounds of 65, 69 and 67.

A stroke behind Caroline Hedwall entering the final round, Ko birdied five of the first eight holes and reached 15 under with a birdie on the par-4 12th. She dropped a stroke on the par-4 13th, parred the next four and closed with a birdie on the par-4 18th.

France’s Karine Icher was second after a 67.

“I would like to play tomorrow,” said Icher, who ended up with the $300,000 check. “It was a good day today. I’m very happy with my game. More putts got in.”

She marveled at Ko’s performance.

“She’s amazing,” Icher said. “Sixteen years old and to win twice. She has no fear, I guess. It’s incredible. As an amateur and so young, it’s great for women’s golf, but not so great for us.”

Hedwall, the Swede coming off a record 5-0 performance last week in Colorado in the Solheim Cup in Europe’s blowout victory over the United States, had a 71 to tie for third at 9 under with Brittany Lincicome (69).

“I was trying to keep up with (Ko), but at the same time I couldn’t hit it as close and I couldn’t make as many putts,” Hedwall said. “She was just really impressive today.”


Ko, teen star, wins CN Canadian Women’s Open second straight year

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