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Showing posts from 2021

Patty Tavatanakit: 2021 LPGA Rookie of the Year

The 2021 LPGA Tour season isn't over yet, but Patty Tavakanakit has clinched the tour's Rookie of the Year Award. The LPGA uses a points formula for its awards (as opposed to a players' vote), and Tavatanakit's lead over second-place Leona Maguire is insurmountable. So she is the Rookie of the Year winner. Now, if you are a fan of the LPGA and of Patty, as we obviously are, you might have realized something: 2021 was not Patty's rookie year on the LPGA Tour. She was a tour member in 2020 and played 14 tournaments. In normal times, therefore, Tavatanakit would not have been eligible for the rookie award in 2021. But in the COVID era, times aren't always normal. Because the LPGA had a truncated season in 2020, it did not name a Rookie of the Year last year. All those who would have been been eligible in 2020 had that eligibility carried over to 2021, and that is why Patty Tavatanakit was earning Rookie of the Year points throughout the 2021 season. How did

Charlotte Liautier

French amateur Charlotte Liautier is a winner on the LET Access Series. That tour's season-ending event was played at Real Club de Golf El Prat in Barcelona and co-sanctioned by the Spain-based Santander Tour. The LETAS is one level down from the Ladies European Tour. Liautier is 22 years old. She went into the event ranked No. 141 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, her best ranking so far in the WAGR being 122nd. Over her last 33 ranking events, Liautier has posted 14 Top 10s and three victories, including the 2021 Italian Ladies Amateur and 2020 French International Ladies Championship. She is the top-ranked amateur from France at the time of this writing. After the Barcelona win, Liautier said, "It’s been an incredible week! It’s my best win to date and my first professional win and for that I’m very happy. I played very well during the week on a very demanding course that was in perfect condition." There were tough scoring conditions throughout the three roun

In Gee Chun, Fashion Model

Two-time LPGA major championship winner In Gee Chun recently shared these photos on Instagram . They are from a fashion photo shoot she did for the Korean brand Fair Liar. The brand touts itself as being "for the classy golfer who values sophistication," and states that "We compete with unrivaled quality and style." Hey, if that's the vibe you are trying to transmit, then picking In Gee Chun as one of your endorsers and models is a great move.

Brooke Matthews

When Brooke Matthews posted the photo above on Instagram, she captioned it, "Senior year?? Let’s do this!!" Well, guess what: Brooke is doing it . Brooke recently won the 2021 Blessings Collegiate Invitational, the University of Arkansas' home tournament in Fayetteville. Matthews led Arkansas to the team championship by a whopping 19 strokes over second-place UCLA. And in the individual competition, Brooke won the tournament for the second year in a row. She carded rounds of 72-66-74 for a 212 total, 4-under par — the only player in the field to break par. Her 66 in the second round was a Blessings course record. Matthews went into the Blessings ranked No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, at No. 13 in the Golfweek Amateur Rankings, and at No. 1 in the Golfweek Women's College Rankings. Matthews' Blessings Collegiate victory came a couple weeks after she won the Charleston Cougar Classic by 13 strokes, setting an NCAA scoring record for women in the pr

Sophia Schubert

Sophia Schubert won the 2021 Carolina Golf Classic on the Symetra Tour. The tournament concluded on October 3 and was her first career win on the Symetra Tour. But maybe even better than winning is the fact that with her earnings, her seasons winnings total now guarantees that Schubert will finish in the Top 10 of the Symetra Tour money list. And that means she'll have LPGA Tour membership in 2022. Schubert won the Carolinas Golf Classic with rounds of 68, 64, 70 and 68, to finish at 18-under 270. That left her in a tie with Fatima Fernandez Cano, and Schubert won their sudden-death playoff on the third extra hole. The winner's check of $30,000 pushed Schubert's season total to nearly $100,000. It was her ninth Top 10 finish of 2021 — her sixth consecutively. That late-season run started with a tie for second place in the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in August. She also tied for second early in the Symetra season at the IOA Championship. Schubert played

Jin Young Ko

Jin Young Ko was No. 2 in the world rankings going into the 2021 LPGA Portland Classic. Winning that tournament wasn't enough to boost Ko past Nelly Korda into the No. 1 spot. But Ko has been No. 1 in the (recent) past, and we can bet the house that she will have that No. 1 spot again in the future. The Cambia Portland Classic, unfortunately, was shortened to 54 holes due to bad weather. But it's still an official win for Ko, who carded rounds of 69, 67 and 69. She finished at 11-under 205, winning by four strokes. The win was extra impressive because it was her first tournament play in six weeks. Ko hadn't played since the Tokyo Olympics. It was Ko's ninth career LPGA Tour victory, and her second of 2021. She won the Volunteers of America Classic in July. Ko is a two-time major championship winner, and she also has 11 wins on the LPGA of Korea Tour. She was the LPGA's Rookie of the Year in 2018, and its Player of the Year in 2019. Ko led the tour in scoring

Gabrielle Macdonald

Gabrielle Macdonald is now a two-time winner on the LET Access Series in 2021. The 28-year-old from Scotland won the Lavaux Ladies Open in Switzerland, which concluded on September 17, 2021. That victory — which happened in a playoff — follows her win earlier this year in the LETAS Allerum Open. Her first win happened exactly one month earlier than her victory in Lavaux. In 35 career LETAS starts, Macdonald now has nine career Top 10 finishes and the two wins. The LETAS is a development tour that feeds into the Ladies European Tour. Her two wins put Macdonald in a position to challenge for an automatic berth on next year's LET circuit. At the 2021 Lavaux Ladies Open, Macdonald rolled in a birdie putt on the final hole of regulation to tie Gemma Clews and force a playoff. And on the first hole, she sealed the victory with a par putt. Macdonald had rounds of 69, 71 and 69 to finish at 7-under 209. Macdonald also recorded fourth- and fifth-place finishes earlier in 2021.

Mikayla Fitzpatrick Earns First Win as a Pro

One of the things that we often write about here are golfers' first wins as professionals. And today we have the happy task of welcoming Mikayla Fitzpatrick to the winners' circle. Fitzpatrick, in her first year as a pro golfer, won Event No. 20 on the Cactus Tour, played at Orange Tree in Scottsdale, and concluded on September 9. She carded rounds of 72, 70 and 70, finishing at 4-under 212. Mikayla beat the runner-up, LPGA player Brianna Do, by one stroke. Fitzpatrick closed out her NCAA career at Xavier University in 2020 by picking up All-Big East Conference honors, and by being named at WCGA All-American Scholar. The all-conference honors were her fourth consecutive, and she was the conference Player of the Year in 2019. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted her senior season, but she still got in two Top 10 finishes after posting nine Top 10 finishes during her full junior season. Fitzpatrick also set various school records during her Xavier seasons, includi

Demi Runas Announces Retirement from Tour Golf

Demi Runas is retiring from pro tournament golf. Runas made the announcement on Instagram just a few days after celebrating her 30th birthday. She has spent around 10 years as a pro tour golfer, including three years as a member of the LPGA Tour. And she has back-to-back Top 10 finishes in her two most-recent Symetra Tour starts, including a runner-up finish in her last at the Circling Raven Championship. So she is definitely going out on a high note, and on her own terms. On Instagram, Runas wrote : "It’s impossible to sum up the gratitude I feel toward the game of golf. If someone told me as a little girl picking up the game that I’d get to spend 3 years playing alongside the best in the world on the LPGA tour, and nearly a decade making a career out of the sport that I love, I would have thought they were crazy. Through golf I’ve met amazing people, visited beautiful places and made the best friends. For this I feel infinitely blessed." A California girl, Runas pla

Christine Wong

Congratulations to Christine Wong, winner of the DCM PGA Women's Championship of Canada. The tournament concluded today (Aug. 31, 2021) at Oshawa Golf & Curling Club in Oshawa, Ontario. It was staged by the PGA of Canada. Christine fired a 69 in the final round to finish at 5-under-par. She was the only golfer to finish the tournament under par, and won by five strokes over the runner-up. This victory comes little more than a month since a previous big win for Wong. She claimed the 2021 Glencoe Invitational, an invitation-only tournament in Calgary, Alberta, in July, earning one of her biggest tournament paydays. Wong is a very busy golfer. She is an instructor at University Golf Club in Vancouver, British Columbia, a club that is practically in the neighborhood she grew up in. She also works with KidSport BC helping underprivileged kids get involved in the game of golf. And she also manages to find time to coach the golf teams at a local junior college and, with her si

Rose Zhang Earns Second McCormack Medal

For the second year in a row, California girl Rose Zhang is the winner of the Mark McCormack Medal as the world's best amateur female golfer. The medal is given out annually to the leading golfer in the WAGR (World Amateur Golf Ranking). Zhang is the third golfer to win the medal twice, joining Lydia Ko and Leona Maguire. Zhang first won the honor in 2020. Zhang won the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at age 17 in 2020. And although she was unable to successfully defend that championship in 2021, Zhang did win another USGA championship this year, the U.S. Girls' Junior. She is the eighth golfer to win both titles, but the first to do it by winning the Amateur first. At the time the medal announcement was made, Zhang had been No. 1 in the WAGR for 47 consecutive weeks. In 2021, Zhang made the cut in an LPGA major, the Evian Championship, and finished third in the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship. She also had a runner-up finish in a Symetra Tour even

Hee Jeong Lim

Hee Jeong Lim got her first win since 2019 on the Korean LPGA Tour (KLPGA) on August 22, 2021. The 21-year-old claimed the trophy at the High1 Resort Ladies Open. She carded rounds of 69, 71, 69 and 68 to finish at 11-under 277 and one stroke ahead of the runners-up. Lim entered the tournament off a tie for second place in her previous event, the KLPGA MBN Ladies Open. She was ranked No. 49 in the women's world rankings entering the High1, and has been as high as No. 27 in 2021. Hee Jeong's best finish on the LPGA Tour to date is a tie for sixth place at the 2019 BMW Ladies Championship, a tournament played in South Korea. So far, the vast majority of Lim's golf, both as an amateur and a pro, has been played in her home country. Lim turned pro in 2019 at age 19. And she had a great KLPGA rookie year. She won three times, including the KB Star Championship, a KLPGA major. She was runner-up in the rookie of the year standings, finished fourth on the KLPGA money list a

Laura Gomez Ruiz

Laura Gomez Ruiz is a Spanish golfer who recently won in her home country in the final tournament of the Andalusian Professionals Circuit. The mini-tour is organized by the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation, and Gomez won on the Campo America de La Cala Resort course in Mijas, Malaga, in the tournament that concluded on August 11, 2021. Gomez played college golf at James Madison University, and she turned pro in 2018. She has a couple wins on the Santander Tour, which is one of the European circuits that feeds into the Ladies European Tour. One of those came in 2018, and she nabbed another victory in 2019 in a tournament that was co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS). On the LETAS in 2019, Laura played 18 tournaments, had the one victory plus multiple other Top 10s. She finished in the Top 5 on the LETAS money list, which netted her membership on the Ladies European Tour. And that is where Gomez continues to play the bulk of her tournaments.

Lilia Vu Playing Like Herself Again

Lilia Vu was a dominant golfer in college, then struggled in her first couple years as a pro. Now, she's dominant again — and she'll be heading to the LPGA Tour again. On August 15, 2021, Vu won the Four Winds Invitational at South Bend Country Club in South Bend, Indiana, a tournament on the Symetra Tour. She carded rounds of 68-69-67, finishing at 12-under 204 and winning by two strokes. Now two months shy of her 24th birthday, it was Vu's third victory on the Symetra Tour in 2021 and her fifth consecutive Top 5 finish. She previously won the 2021 Garden City Charity Classic and 2021 Twin Bridges Championship. The $30,000 first-place check pushed her season winnings in 14 tournaments up to $140,607, more than $45,000 ahead of second-place on the Symetra Tour money list. She is guaranteed to earn her LPGA Tour card for 2022, even in the very unlikely event she slips from the No. 1 spot on the Symetra Tour money list. Vu won eight times in college at UCLA. She won

Nayeon Eum

Nayeon Eum is a Korean golfer who is currently playing in Europe. And on August 14, 2021, she won in Sweden. Nayeon, who also goes by the nickname Laura, is a 27-year-old from Seoul. In addition to the Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS), she also has experience playing on the Japan LPGA and Japan Step-Up tours. Eum turned pro in 2013, which was three years before she graduated from university in Korea. Eum just won the Anna Nordqvist Vasteras Open, a tournament on the Nordic Golf Tour co-sanctioned by the LETAS. It was her first professional win. Eum carded rounds of 66, 70 and 72. Her winning total was 8-under-par 208. "I never thought this day will actually come," she wrote on Instagram, "but it thankfully did and I don't know how to express my feelings with the trophy in my hands." The Anna Nordqvist Vasteras Open was her second LETAS start of 2021. She finished ninth in her previous start in the GolfUppsala Open, also in Sweden, one week ea

Fernanda Lira

What is even better than winning your first tournament on the Symetra Tour? Winning it by shooting 62 in the final round. That's exactly what Fernanda Lira did in the 2021 Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship. That tournament concluded on August 8, with Lira the winner by six strokes. She carded rounds of 70, 65 and 62 to finish at 19-under 197 and earn the first-place check of $26,250. Lira's 62 was bogey-free, and she had 10 birdies, including on five of the last six holes. What a way to storm to victory! The 26-year-old is from Mexico and played college golf at the University of Central Arkansas. Her rookie year as a Symetra Tour pro was 2019. She does have a previous professional win this year, however: Lira also won the 2021 Mountain Ranch Championship on the WAPT (Women's All Pro Tour), which is a feeder into the Symetra Tour. Her previous best finish on the Symetra Tour was in the 2021 Twin Bridges Championship, a tie for 11th place. The victory in the Fir

Alison Lee Wins on LET

Alison Lee claimed the individual championship in the Ladies European Tour's Aramco Team Series – Sotogrande tournament recently (the tournament concluded on August 7, 2021). And that's significant because ... well, we'll let Lee tell you. On Instagram (@thealisonlee), Alison wrote: "My first professional win!! Had such a fun week in Spain playing the beautiful @lareservasotogrande! Thank you to @aramco_series @letgolf for hosting such a world class event and for having me. I’ll remember this forever." The Aramco Team Series is, as you can probably guess, a team tournament: three professionals are joined by one high-ranking amateur, and that quartet competes against other quartets. But the LET Aramco Team Series events also crown an individual winner, and Alison Lee was that in the Sotogrande tournament. In the three-round tournament, Lee posted back-to-back 65s on the first two days. In the third round, she carded a 71 and won the individual title by five

Pajaree Anannarukarn: 1st Win on the LPGA Tour

Pajaree Anannarukarn's first LPGA victory came the hard way: Her final round included a triple bogey, and she had to go to a playoff. But it's not how that first win comes that matters, it's just getting that first win.

Alexandra Forsterling

It's been a good couple weeks for German amateur Alexandra Forsterling. The young golfer plays for the German national team and also for the Arizona State Sun Devils in the NCAA. (Note that her surname is properly spelled Försterling, with the diaresis over the o. That is sometimes translated into English as Foersterling. We've gone with Forsterling because that is what Arizona State uses. Alexandra is also sometimes called Alex or Lexi.) So: What's happened recently for Forsterling? A couple weeks ago she won her native amateur championship, the German International Amateur, by four strokes. She carded rounds of 70, 68, 66 and 68 to finish at 272 and win by four. And last week Alexandra was runner-up in the European Ladies Amateur Championship. "I couldn’t be more happy with how the summer is going so far and I am looking forward to more tournaments soon," she wrote on her Instagram account . Forsterling had her first Top 10 NCAA finish as a freshman

Minjee Lee Becomes a Major Championship Winner

Minjee Lee is a major championship winner now. At the age of 25, Lee won the 2021 Evian Championship, seven years after winning her first professional title, the Oates Victorian Open, in 2014. Back then she was still an amateur. Minjee, from Australia, now has six career wins on the LPGA Tour, on which she first won at the 2015 Kingsmill Championship. That (among other achievements) stamped her as a player who could do big things in the years to come on the LPGA Tour. Winning the 2021 Evian is a big thing! A major thing, in fact. Lee fired a 64 in the final round to post a score of 18-under 266. Then she waited to see if anyone would beat that number. Nobody did. But third-round leader Jeongeun Lee6, after struggling through parts of the final round, finished with three consecutive birdies to tie Minjee. In the sudden-death playoff, Minjee won the battle of the Lees on the first hole, claiming her first major championship victory. Minjee Lee has a career best of No. 2 in the

Collin Morikawa's Girlfriend: Katherine Zhu

Who is Collin Morikawa's girlfriend? Katherine Zhu, and she's a very good golfer in her own right. Morikawa, winner of the 2020 PGA Championship and 2021 British Open, and Zhu have been together since their college days. Katherine Zhu was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, attended high school in China, and played her college golf at Pepperdine University in California. Truly an international golfer and person. While at Pepperdine, Zhu played for the Waves in 39 tournament. She had three Top 10 finishes and seven Top 20 finishes, and was named a WGCA All-American Scholar multiple times. While Zhu was playing for Pepperdine, Morikawa was starring at Cal. Morikawa gives Zhu, who goes by the nickname Kat, a lot of credit for keeping him grounded and helping him work through issues, both of the golf and life variety. She might also just be a good luck charm in his life. After winning the PGA Championship in 2020, Morikawa told the Golf Channel, "Kat has been by my side

Charley Hull IG Photo Roundup

Charley Hull isn't just busy on the golf course these days, but also on Instagram where she frequently posts fun, fetching photos. Including bikini selfies. And the entire golf world says in unison, "Thanks, Charley!" The 25-year-old Charley, by the way, is having a solid 2021 LPGA season, although she's still seeking that victory. As this is written, Hull is No. 38 in the world rankings. Her best LPGA finish so far in 2021 is tied for eighth at the LPGA Drive On Championship in March, but she also has finishes of 14th, 15th and 21st. All the following photos are ones Charley posted on her Instagram account, @charley.hull .

Esther Henseleit

Esther Henseleit just posted her best finish to date on the LPGA Tour: solo fourth. The 22-year-old from Germany was an LPGA rookie in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the affect it had on the LPGA schedule last year, Henseleit is still technically considered a rookie in 2021. But she's not playing like a rookie. Henseleit carded rounds of 70, 64 and 67 to finish solo fourth in the 2021 Marathon LPGA Classic, earning the first paycheck of her career to top $100,000. Just a week earlier, Henseleit had tied for fourth place in the Volunteers of America Classic. She had a 12th-place showing earlier in the year, and finished 15th in the most-recent major, the Women's PGA Championship. After her showing in the Marathon Classic, Henseleit ranked 14th on the LPGA in scoring average, seventh in eagles, 15th in rounds under par, 16th in putts per GIR, and fourth in the Rookie of the Year points standings. She has two career wins as a professional, the 2019 Skafto Open