Paige Spiranac’s social media skills are well known. This week, she is out to prove her golf is equally good when she takes on some of the finest names in Ladies European Tour during the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
The 22-year-old American has had a successful college golf career, but after graduating from San Diego University, Spiranac has turned professional this year. She does not have any Tour card as yet, but has more followers on Instagram and Twitter than some of the well-established stars on the LPGA Tour.
‘golf in DUBAi’, organisers of the Dubai Ladies Masters, were impressed with her amazing connect with fans on social media and decided to offer her a sponsors’ exemption to the E500,000 season-ending championship, which starts on Wednesday at Emirates Golf Club.
It’s Spiranac’s first opportunity on the big stage to show that her iron shots are as crisp as her tweets, and the putter is hotter than her Instagram posts, and she was refreshingly honest about her chances.
Asked if he she has a goal in mind for this week, the Arizona native said: “To not throw up on the first tee is No1! I’m extremely nervous.
— Coach Lockey (@CoachLockey) December 7, 2015
“It’s my first big tournament and first time I’ve been here and first time out of the country, so it’s kind of a lot. Just trying to keep everything calm and collected. I think that’s the main goal right now.
“I don’t really know how I’m going to handle it. This is my first time in the situation, but I played college golf and I played junior golf. I’ve been in pressure situations before, but this is obviously on a bigger scale. So, hopefully, I can keep it together and do what I’m capable of doing.”
A quick look at her golfing resume, or at the videos she has posted of her shot-making skills, show Spiranac has more than just gift of the gab. And she is eager to prove it as well.
Spiranac believes her short game is her greatest strength, and it will come in very handy on a golf course she has fallen in love with.
“I played it yesterday, and I just love it. It’s in amazing shape. It’s beautiful. You get on like the eighth or 14th holes, you see the buildings in the back and you’re just like, this is amazing, like I can’t even believe I’m here,” she said.
— Joy Chakravarty (@TheJoyofGolf) December 7, 2015
“I do believe it fits my game pretty well because you can kind of hit it a little bit in places and still be fine, and I like that. I feel like my short game is probably the best part of my game and the putting, and I feel like you can make a lot of putts here. So I like that part of it too.”
Spiranac said she is aware that some players and fans will probably think she took away a place that could have gone to a more deserving player.
“I understand where they are coming from. Yes, I played golf and I’ve had good results, but when you look at my game compared to, you know, say the top players in the world, I’m not in the same league as them. They do have a right to say she’s not on the Tour, because I’m not on Tour. I just turned pro and this is all new,” said Spirnac.
“I understand where they are coming from, but I wish they could see that I’m working as hard as I can. I may make it and I may not make it. I’m just trying to focus on what I need to do to get to that next level and try not to focus on what they say too much.
“I’m pretty lucky in the sense that on social media, anyone has the ability to say whatever they want. So, I get probably 99 percent amazing comments and so much love and support from people, so that one percent of people that tend to criticise, I can’t help that, but I do understand where they are coming from.”
Bubba Watson wasn't even planning to play in the Hero Challenge. He left no doubt Sunday who was going to win.
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Watson quickly stretched his two-shot lead by making four birdies in seven holes. He was never seriously challenged, sailing home to a 6-under 66 for a three-shot victory over Patrick Reed at Albany Golf Club and a trophy from tournament host Tiger Woods.
Watson turned down his invitation a few months ago because he didn't have a passport for his newly adopted daughter, Dakota.
Video provided by: www.golfingindian.com
Australia’s Marc Leishman ended a trying 2015 on a high after cruising to victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to claim his first European Tour title.
Leishman carded a closing 67 at Sun City to finish 19-under par, six shots clear of Henrik Stenson. Chris Wood was a distant third on nine-under with defending champion Danny Willett, Victor Dubuisson, Robert Streb and Branden Grace joint fourth on eight-under.
Leishman pulled out of the Masters in April after his wife Audrey fell seriously ill with toxic shock syndrome, a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection during which she was put into an induced coma. She is now recovering but Leishman feared the worst and was prepared to give up golf to care for their two young children.
— Denis Napthine (@denisvnapthine) December 6, 2015
“I’m pretty happy to have this year over, to be honest,” the 32-year-old said. “Audrey got very sick and I lost an uncle who I was very close to. This tops off what was otherwise not a great year. We moved into a new house three weeks ago, so this will help pay for that.”
Leishman began the day with a one-shot lead and found himself three ahead when he birdied the seventh and playing partner Stenson bogeyed the same hole after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
Stenson bounced back with a birdie from 15 feet on the eighth and both players birdied the ninth and 10th before Leishman, who lost a play-off for the Open at St Andrews in July, extended his lead thanks to a superb approach to the 13th which span back to within inches of the hole.
Leishman, who defeated Jordan Spieth in the Presidents Cup singles, also birdied the 15th and 16th and although Stenson chipped in on the next, the result was sealed.
“It’s amazing. I’m so happy,” added Leishman. “It’s not very often you can walk up 18 with a good cushion and enjoy it. “I knew it was going to be a really tough day, Henrik’s an awesome player and I knew he’d make me earn it, which he did.”
Stenson was disappointed not to claim his first win in 2015, although the 39-year-old had rated his chances of simply playing in the event at just five per cent after spending three days in bed with the flu.
“I’ll take it, looking at the bigger picture,” Stenson said after a closing 72. “With the chances I’ve had this year, to be winless is a little disappointing but all in all it’s been a solid year and I’ve got to look at the good results, the amount of world ranking points and all the rest of it.
“Of course I’d like to be holding the trophy, and I had a nice chance here. Marc played really solidly and shot five under on a tricky day. All credit to him for the win, he’s a deserving champion.
“I’m ready to get some rest after a long season. I’ll have knee surgery in Orlando on Wednesday and hopefully the recovery will go well and I’ll be ready for Abu Dhabi.”
Wood was never in contention but a closing 68 secured an unlikely third place after he was laid low by heat stroke at the start of the week.