Ex-Cat Blackwelder plays her way on to LPGA Tour
Mallory Blackwelder, a former Woodford County and University of Kentucky standout, finished 10th on the Symetra Tour's money list to earn one of 10 full-time LPGA Tour cards available to the developmental tour's players.
Blackwelder finished tied for 18th in the Symetra Tour Championship at Daytona Beach, Fla., which was good enough to hold on to the final spot in the top-10 standings.
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"Honestly, it hasn't hit me yet. I don't know when it will," Blackwelder said. "People kept saying 'Oh you're fine, you're fine' but I was not celebrating until it was all official. I was so stressed about it and I'm just so happy that I got it done. I'm speechless."
Blackwelder, who split time between the LPGA and Ladies European tours in 2010, will celebrate in a big way. She's getting married to PGA caddie Jules Trudeau this coming weekend. They met when both competed on the Golf Channel's "Big Break" reality-competition program.
The daughter of former LPGA star and UK coach Myra Blackwelder, Mallory will have the company of family on the LPGA Tour next season.
"Someone just texted me that I'm going to be out with my dad and my brother (both caddies) next year and it's awesome," Mallory Blackwelder said. "I've been thinking about this for so long and I just kept coming up short and coming up short and I'm so glad that I didn't come up short this time."
Blackwelder had one of the most impressive turnarounds in Symetra Tour history, jumping from a 95th-place finish in 2013 to earning her LPGA card in 2015. Her year was highlighted by her first-career victory at the Symetra Classic and three additional top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at the Prairie Band Casino & Hotel Charity Classic.
Blackwelder was the first former UK star to have an LPGA Tour card since Tonya Gill in 2004, according to the Symetra Tour's news release.
Former University of Louisville standout Sara-Maude Juneau had a shot at earning her LPGA card, too. She began the final tournament 11th on the money list, but she ended up 13th.
Ex-Card Fathauer wins Web.com's playoffs
Derek Fathauer won the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship on Sunday at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to top the four-event Web.Com Tour Finals money list and earn a full PGA Tour exemption. Fathauer finished with a 2-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Zac Blair. The 28-year-old former University of Louisville player earned $180,000 for his first professional victory to push his Finals total to $250,133.
"This is unbelievable," Fathauer said. "I was trying to force it for the first few events. I did a better job of staying patient this week and not looking too far ahead."
Fathauer had already earned a PGA Tour card with a top-25 finish on the Web.com Tour's regular-season money list. By topping the Finals money list, he earned fully exempt status for the 2014-15 PGA Tour season and a spot in The Players Championship. He played on the tour in 2009, but lost his card after making only eight cuts in 25 starts and wound up losing his card after finishing No. 201 on the FedExCup standings.
"It was tough my first year," Fathauer said. "I'm not sure I was ready for the tour. I think my all-around game is better now and I'm mentally tougher. I'm ready to give it another try."
Adam Hadwin topped the combined Web.com Tour money list to also earn a full exemption and a spot in The Players. The Canadian, also a former U of L player, tied for seventh this weekend at 6 under. He earned $30,125 for a total of $529,792.
Will Take Charge retired to Three Chimneys
Will Take Charge, the champion 3-year-old male of 2013, was retired to stand stud at Three Chimneys Farm after suffering a mild strain to a branch of his suspensory apparatus, it was announced Sunday.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Will Take Charge had been prepping for a start in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in New York on Sept. 27 and had posted a bullet move at Churchill Downs on Sept. 10, covering 5 furlongs in 1:00.40.
"Will Take Charge's retirement is particularly disappointing as we were primed, as an older horse, to win the (Breeders' Cup) Classic this year, which we lost by a whisker last year," Lukas said in a release.
Despite finishing off-the-board in all three Triple Crown races, Will Take Charge moved himself to the head of the 3-year-old class last season with victories in the Grade I Travers Stakes and Grade II Pennsylvania Derby before finishing just a lip behind Mucho Macho Man in the million Breeders' Cup Classic.
Though denied that day, Will Take Charge came back with a championship-clinching victory over older horses — including multiple Grade I winner Game On Dude — in the Grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29, his 11th start of 2013.
■ The Keeneland September Yearling Sale, the world's premier Thoroughbred auction, closed Sunday with results nearly equal to 2013, continuing a healthy trend toward market stability and confidence in the Thoroughbred industry.
Gross receipts for the 13-day sale totaled $279,960,500, nearly mirroring the $280,491,300 recorded during last year's 12-day sale. This year 2,819 yearlings were sold versus 2,744 in 2013. Cumulatively, the average price of $99,312 was down 2.8 percent from $102,220 last year. The median, the critical indicator of a healthy market, remained the same as last year at $50,000.
Ex-Cats Mobley, Whitlow share OVC honor
The Ohio Valley Conference named former University of Kentucky players Jalen Whitlow and Dy'Shawn Mobley its co-newcomers of the week.
Whitlow, now the quarterback at Eastern Illinois, set an school record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 137 in a 63-7 victory over Austin Peay. He ran for two TDs and threw for two more. Mobley rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns in Eastern Kentucky's 49-24 victory over Tennessee-Martin.
■ Former Franklin County standout Logan Woodside threw for 152 yards with a touchdown and rushed for two more scores as host Toledo defeated Ball State 34-23 late Saturday night.
France defeats U.S. women in exhibition
Sandrine Gruda had 26 points and 15 rebounds to help France stun the U.S. women's national team 76-72 in an exhibition game on Sunday in Paris. It's the first loss by the Americans in an international game since falling to a team from the Czech Republic in 2011 when the U.S. was on a European tour. The Americans, who beat the French by 36 points in the gold medal game at the Olympics in 2012, had a 12-point halftime lead and were up 60-52 with 6:39 left in the game before the hosts rallied.
■ Lexington's Mary Henson, competing at Weihai, China, in the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships, placed eighth Sunday in the women's 55-59 age group. Henson, 59, was timed in 9 hours, 28 minutes, 27 seconds to complete a 2.4-mile open-water swim, 74-mile bike course and a 12.4-mile run. Deborah Clark of New Zealand won the age group in 7:42:46.
The last word
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo after his team rallied from a 21-0 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday:
"We were able to execute under pressure or whatever you want to say, blah, blah, blah. We got it done."