Bello, Cink, Crane share St. Jude lead through 54

By Associated PressJune 10, 2017, 10:39 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Stewart Cink felt the familiar emotions and butterflies and savored every minute of it on Saturday.

He had some great moments and tough ones at TPC Southwind, making five birdies and four bogeys on the way to a 1-under 69. Now he's in a three-way tie with Rafa Cabrera Bello and Ben Crane for the lead at the St. Jude Classic after three rounds.

Win or lose on Sunday, the 44-year-old Cink is relishing his status as a contender, especially after all the personal and professional adversity he and his family have been through over the past few years.

''It's a moment you don't really get to experience that often, even if you've played on the Tour for 21 years,'' Cink said. ''This may only happen a handful of times. Maybe a few more. So it's a really sweet feeling.''

Cink has gradually improved his game since missing several weeks last year to help care for his wife Lisa, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. He qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday in Ohio and has now had three solid rounds at the par-70 TPC Southwind course to be in the hunt for his first victory since winning the 2009 British Open.

Cink said Lisa is at the course this weekend and her health is good.

The six-time PGA Tour winner wasn't very competitive from 2014 to 2016, with just one top 10 finish during those three years. But he's enjoyed quite the resurgence this season, with two top 10s and eight top 25s in 18 events.

Now he's got a real chance to add his seventh PGA victory.

''I'm probably not supposed to be doing this,'' Cink said. ''But I don't really care about that. My golf ball doesn't know how old I am.''

Cabrera Bello shot a 65 and Crane - who won the St. Jude Classic in 2014 - shot a 68 to join Cink at 9-under 201 for the tournament.

Cabrera Bello, a 33-year-old from Spain, has four international victories, but has never won on the PGA Tour. He's 30th in the World Golf Ranking and chipped in on back-to-back holes on the front nine to jumpstart his round.

''It got me laughing because I don't know if I've ever done that before,'' Cabrera Bello said. ''So obviously very pleased. It took away a little bit of pressure, just brought the smile to my face.''

Crane is one of Cink's good friends on the tour and said it's been rewarding to watch Cink overcome so much adversity. The two played in the same group on Saturday.

''The past year for Stewart has been something that you wouldn't wish any couple to go through,'' Crane said. ''But we've watched Stewart and Lisa get closer to each other, get closer to God and be a light out here on the PGA Tour in the midst of these trials.''

Cink had a good start on Saturday, with birdies on three of his first five holes. He opened up a three shot lead at 11-under after a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 5, but dropped back to the field after three bogeys on the back nine.

Luke List and Chad Campbell both shot a 66 and are one stroke behind the leaders. List made two eagles on the back nine to vault into contention.

Campbell, who recently turned 43, hasn't won a tournament since the 2007 Viking Classic. He started Saturday five shots back of the leaders, but charged up the leaderboard with five birdies and only one bogey.

Chez Reavie, Charl Schwartzel and Sebastian Munoz started the third round with a one shot lead over Cink, but all of them struggled. Reavie is still in contention after shooting a 72 and is tied with Matt Jones and Kevin Chappell at 7-under, two shots behind the leaders.

Schwartzel shot a 74 and Munoz a 75.

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.