ISRAEL’S TOP-RANKED golfer Laetitia Beck got 2017 off to a great start with a career-high eighth-place finish over the weekend at the LPGA tournament in the Bahamas.
(photo credit: SCOTT A. MILLER)
Laetitia Beck got the new LP GA season off to a superb start over the weekend, registering her best-ever finish on tour by ending the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in eighth place on Sunday.
Israel’s first and only LPGA player registered a total score of 19-under 273, seven shots back of winner Brittany Lincicome.
Beck, 24, who only made the cut in six of 20 tournaments in 2016, earned $34,551 for her efforts after getting her full LPGA card back in December, ending the Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament tied for 12th place at Daytona Beach, Florida.
Beck also represented Israel at the past summer’s Rio Olympics, finishing tied for 31st place.
Long-hitting Lincicome came agonizingly close to tying an LPGA Tour scoring record before winning the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in a playoff with fellow American Lexi Thompson.
Lincicome clinched her seventh LPGA title with a birdie on the first extra hole, the par-five 18th at the Ocean Club course on Paradise Island, where Thompson failed to get up and down from behind the green and settled for a par.
The duo finished the 72 regulation holes on 26-under 266, just one shy of the LPGA record in relation to par of 27-under set by Swede Annika Sorenstam at the 2001 Standard Register and matched by South Korean Kim Sei-young at last year’s Founders Cup.
Lincicome, a double major champion, closed with a five-under 68 highlighted by seven birdies while Thompson carded a 70.
“It was an awesome day,” Lincicome told reporters after playing the last few holes in regulation in strengthening winds as a storm approached. “Hopefully that continues.”
Meanwhile, in men’s action, Spanish rookie Jon Rahm eagled two of the last six holes to clinch his first PGA Tour title by three shots in sensational fashion at the $6.7 million Farmers Insurance Open outside San Diego late on Sunday.
His final eagle was stunning, a multiple- breaking 60-foot putt from the fringe at the back of the green at the par-five 18th where his ball took a final turn to the left before disappearing into the cup to spark jubilant celebration by Rahm and the watching fans.
The 22-year-old, who turned professional just seven months ago, covered his final nine holes in 30 strokes to card a seven-under 65 at Torrey Pines South Course and break clear of a crowded leaderboard.
Rahm finished at 13-under 275.
“It’s amazing,” a beaming Rahm told CBS Sports after becoming the youngest ever champion at Torrey Pines and emulating fellow Spaniards Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia as a PGA Tour winner.
“Just to get into that position to win is so hard and I am so blessed to be able to say that I did it on my third time having a chance to win, having just started my PGA Tour career.”
Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung (70) and American Charles Howell III (68) tied for second on a see-sawing day when eight players held at least a share of the lead during the final round.Reuters contributed to this report.