Ewart Wins Euro Ladies Tour Qualifier 0 6

(MURCIA, SPAIN) Jan. 20, 2011 — Former Lobo golfer Jodi Ewart won the Q School event to gain full status on the 2012 Ladies European Tour. She had already won full status on LPGA Tour.

Ewart claimed first place in the Euro qualifier on Thursday in Murcia, Spain, finishing five rounds on the La Manga North and South courses at 11-under, edging Swiss amateur Anais Maggetti by two shots. Ewart, 24, held the top spot for the final four rounds.

“I mean, fourth on the LPGA and now winning the LET; it’s a pretty good off-season if you ask me,” the Yorkshire, England, native said. “It feels good and I’m really looking forward to this year.”

Ewart heads home to Florida before beginning her inaugural LPGA Tour season Feb. 9, at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Victoria, Australia.

The interview below was shot by us as she finished her Lobo golf career.

— Dan Vukelich

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PING CEO: Change the Golf Ball, Save the Courses 0 4

(PHOENIX) Jan. 3, 2012 –The chairman and CEO of Ping says three different balls should be approved by rule-makers — one longer, one the same as and one shorter than balls currently approved for play.

Shorter balls could then be mandated as a condition of play on classic courses hosting PGA Tour events — keeping them competitive. Longer balls could be allowed for amateur play. Ball distance could even be factored into handicaps — like course slope ratings, says PING head John Solheim.

The proposal is a radical departure from the principle underlying the Rules of Golf that a single ball with a single distance limit be played by players at all levels, even though many golf authorities believe the length of the modern golf ball is the single biggest factor in making some of the great courses of the 19th and 20th centuries obsolete for professional play.

In a letter to the USGA and the R&A, Solheim proposed  a “Ball Distance Rating System” to categorize balls into three distance categories. “This concept addresses the unique talents of the top 0.1 percent of the world’s golfers without hurting the other 99.9 percent,” Solheim said.

A “silver dot” rating could apply to balls that conform to the current distance limits, a “gold dot” rating to balls that are longer (perhaps 30 yards longer), and a “bronze dot” rating for balls that are shorter than today’s ball limit (again, maybe 30 yards shorter),” Solheim said.

“More BDR levels could be added, if needed, to address future increases in driving distance by Tour professionals,” he said.

“Most courses hosting professional tour events were built with, or have added, sufficient length to challenge the world’s best golfers. Perhaps a small number of tournaments, those played at some of the game’s classic courses, would find it exciting to put the original design elements of the layout back in play by requiring shorter rated golf balls,” he said.

Higher handicappers could play a longer ball to make them competitive against longer courses, Solheim said.

Click here for John Solheim’s complete statement.

Katie Kempter Posts 2nd Hawaii Open Win 0 4

(TURTLE BAY, Hawaii)  — Dec. 19, 2011. Albuquerque’s Katie Kempter shot a final-round, 9-under-par 63 over the Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu Sunday to finish the 54-hole Turtle Bay Hawaii State Open Golf Tournament at 12-under.

Her round was bogey-free, with nine birdies and nine pars. “It was really fun; I kept making every putt — some of them around 20-feet long — for birdie or to save par,” Kempter said of the 9-under final round. She won the same event in December 2009 as a newly minted LPGA Tour rookie.

“It was a really odd feeling. I wanted the thrill to never end, yet at the same time, I was hoping I could finish the round with a good score.”

Kempter earned  $2,500 for the win. Kempter, a Sandia High School and Denver University standout, is a professional who plays on the Futures Tour.

Kempter failed to earn enough in 2011 to keep her LPGA Tour status going into the 2012 season and did poorly in an early stage of LPGA Q School, but she retains status on the Futures Tour. She plans to try to Monday-qualify for some LPGA Tour events in 2012.

— Courtesy of Norm Guenther, Hawaii Golf News and Travel