Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ha Na Jang wins LPGA Coates Championship in Ocala

OCALA — Ha Na Jang had to go the final 36 holes with the best player in women's golf to capture her first LPGA Tour title Saturday. Lydia Ko turned out to be more of a cheerleader than a challenge.

Ko fell back in surprising fashion with three bogeys and a double bogey in a five-hole stretch. Jang suddenly had to worry more about Brooke Henderson, and Ko was at Jang's side to push her along in the cold and increasing rain over the final hour at the Coates Championship.

"Lydia, she say, 'Ha Na, you can do it. You're more confident and comfortable in your mind, no problem. Keep going, keep going,' " Jang said after closing with par 72 for a two-shot victory over Henderson (72) at 11-under 277. "So more confidence in my mind, too."

Jang reclaimed the lead with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and added a birdie on the 18th that affected only the victory margin. The 23-year-old Korean was in tears when the final putt dropped on a long week forced by heavy rain Thursday. Jang played 54 holes over the last two days. "It's amazing how I feel right now," she said.

Ko, the world's top-ranked player and making her 2016 debut, was tied with Jang after they completed the third round Saturday morning at Golden Ocala. But she made three straight bogeys to finish the back nine, then hit her tee shot into the water and made double bogey on the par-3 11th to fall five shots behind. She ran off three straight birdies late in her round to try to stay in it.

She closed with 75 and tied for third, three shots behind. "I just couldn't get anything going," Ko said. "But I finished strong, so I'll take that."

Phoenix Open draws largest crowd in golf history

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Danny Lee took the lead in the PGA Tour's Phoenix Open in front of the largest crowd in golf history.

With an estimated 201,003 fans packing TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course, Lee shot 4-under 67 to move three strokes ahead of Rickie Fowler (70) and Hideki Matsuyama (68) at 13-under 200 after three rounds.

The tournament routinely draws the sport's biggest crowds. Its previous largest crowd was 189,722 in 2014.

"I'm just trying to enjoy myself, and I am," Lee said. "It's so much fun out there, so many people just cheering for Rickie instead of me, unfortunately."

Second-round leader James Hahn had 74 to fall to 7 under. The second round was finished in the morning after being called because of darkness Friday.

PGA Europe: Danny Willett shot 7-under 65 to led by one at 16-under 200 in the Dubai Desert Classic after the third round in the United Arab Emirates. Second-round leader Rafael Cabrera-Bello (67) was second. Defending champion Rory McIlroy (68) was eight shots back.

Champions: First-round co-leader Corey Pavin shot 4-under 68 for a one-shot lead over Tom Lehman (68) at 10-under 134 in the Allianz Championship at Boca Raton. First-round co-leader Todd Hamilton shot 72 and was in a group of eight at 6 under.