Alex takes 1-shot LPGA lead; Jutanugarn 4 back

By Associated PressSeptember 3, 2016, 12:04 am

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario - Marina Alex eagled her final hole for an 8-under 64 and the second-round lead Friday in the LPGA Manulife Classic.

Alex played the final five holes in 5 under for the lowest score in her LPGA career, setting up the 18-foot eagle putt with a 5-wood approach on the par-5 ninth.

''Super happy,'' Alex said. ''Just kind of everything fell together, ball-striking, putting. I actually left a couple of putts out there, but I'm not going to complain about the score that I shot.''

The 26-year-old former Vanderbilt player had a 10-under 134 total at Whistle Bear for a one-stroke lead over Thailand's P.K. Kongkraphan and South Korea's Hyo Joo Kim.

Second-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn was four strokes back after a 68 in her bid to win three straight events for the second time this season. Using a driver in competition for the second straight day after shelving it for months, the 20-year-old Thai player had an eagle, six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.

She began the streak at the Women's British Open, and rebounded from a knee injury that caused her to withdraw during the Rio Olympics to win the Canadian Pacific Women's Open on Sunday in Alberta.

Playing in the second group of the day off the 10th tee, Alex took advantage of calmer conditions than she faced Thursday afternoon in a first-round 70.

''I think we were fortunate,'' Alex said. ''Right now, it's totally scorable.''

She had eight birdies and two bogeys.

''It actually is a pretty wide-open course, which is sometimes for me a little challenging because it's hard to pick out targets,'' Alex said. ''But I'm trying really hard to focus, be as narrow as possible off the tee and into the green and just be very specific with what I'm trying to do.''

Kongkraphan had a bogey-free 66. She recently went through coaching and club changes.

''I have a problem with my iron pretty bad,'' Kongkraphan said. ''I tried to get better, so I switched the club and changed the coach. ... From last week I have so much more confidence.''

Kim closed with a birdie for a 67. She won the season-opening event in the Bahamas.

South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee was 8 under after a 67. She had a hole-in-one on the fifth hole.

''I think just less wind and the greens more better condition,'' Lee said. ''So just everything is perfect.''

U.S. Open champion Brittany Lang, second last year at Whistle Bear after winning the inaugural event in 2012 at Grey Silo, was 6 under after a 71.

First-round leader Chella Choi also was 6 under after a 72. The South Korean player three-putted three times. ''Hope tomorrow is better,'' Choi said.

Defending champion Suzann Pettersen had a 71 to reach 4 under.

Canadian star Brooke Henderson, playing alongside Jutanugarn, was 3 under after a 71. She eagled the par-5 12th and closed with a birdie.

''Not exactly what I was looking for,'' Henderson said. ''That birdie on my last hole kind of made me feel a lot better about the day, which is always nice, and 3-under par, I can't complain too much.''

The 18-year-old Henderson beat top-ranked Lydia Ko in a playoff in June in the KPMG Women's PGA for her first major title, and successfully defended her Portland Classic title in early July.

Ko was 2 under after a 72.

''I putted much better today, so it was good to see some putts go in,'' Ko said. ''Without the putter, I don't think I would have been able to shoot even par.''

Alena Sharp was the top Canadian, shooting a 70 to reach 5 under. She tied for fourth last week at Priddis Greens for her best finish on the tour.

''I didn't make many putts,'' Sharp said. ''It was tough to get it close to the pins. I thought they were a little trickier today. The greens are definitely firming up, so you got to hit high shots in.''

Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke with her second 72. She has missed 12 of 20 cuts this season and is 112th on the money list with $55,375.

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.