Bjorn shares second-round lead in Portugal

By Associated PressJune 11, 2010, 5:27 pm

European TourESTORIL, Portugal – Thomas Bjorn and Carlos Del Moral share the lead at 12 under after the second round of the Estoril Open at Penha Longa.

For Bjorn, the two-time European Ryder Cup player, his 7-under 65 marked a welcome return to form after a long slump that has coincided with the duties he undertakes as the chairman of the European Tour's Players Committee.

The last of his nine tour victories was at the Irish Open back in 2006 and before playing all four rounds last week in the Wales Open he had missed six straight cuts.

Bjorn actually held the outright lead at 13 under until the 18th hole when a poor drive ended up in the trees. After missing the par-5 green with a straightforward fairway approach he recorded a bogey.

“The first 17 holes of my round I hit every fairway and only missed one green,” Bjorn said. “I was really steady and golf felt easy for once, which is a new feeling.

“I have felt I have been playing a bit better recently and I just needed to hole some putts to get momentum. In both of the two rounds here in Portugal I have holed a couple of early putts to get that momentum I needed.”

The 24-year-old Del Moral, ranked 524th in the world, thought his 65 owed much to a radical rethink about his attitude toward the sport after missing the cut at last month's Spanish Open.

“I decided I need to be fitter and started running,” Del Moral said. “I needed more energy for hilly courses like this one and I don't think I have ever felt so fit as I have done over the first two days here.”

England's Steve Webster shot a second straight 67 to get within two shots of the leaders and share third place with countryman Robert Coles and Damien McGrane of Ireland, who could only follow his opening 64 with a 2-under 70.

Rookie Englishman Luke Goddard, the former Walker Cup player who had shared the first-day lead with McGrane, fared even worse in the second round with a 1-over 73 dropping him down into a share of 15th place.

Chris Wood, the pre-tournament favorite and highest-ranked player in the field at 81, shot a second straight 69 to reach 6 under and lie 6 off the lead.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

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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