Bjorn shoots 66 to lead Dunhill Links
Bjorn, one of captain Colin Montgomerie’s five backups in the victory over America at Celtic Manor, led eight other members of the European Ryder Cup team in their return to stroke play.
The Alfred Dunhill Links was played over three courses, and Bjorn was tied at the top of the leaderboard with Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina, who also played at St. Andrews, Maarten Lafeber of the Netherlands, who shot 66 at Carnoustie, and Martin Laird of Scotland, who produced the same score at Kingsbarns.
Six players shot 67 and 14 more shot 68, including PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer.
Bjorn was not surprised to perform better than the rest of the Ryder Cup players just four days after their victory celebrations.
“I have done it before. I was vice-captain to Bernhard Langer (in 2004), so I knew how much the Ryder Cup would take out of me,” Bjorn said. “So on Monday night after the victory I knew that I needed to get myself to bed and not stay up until 4 a.m. But for the players, you have to remember that the Ryder Cup is such a big event, especially as it went into a Monday.
“They have never really had a chance to come back down to earth before they have had to start playing again, so the first round back was going to be tough for them.”
Germany’s Kaymer was closest to Bjorn at 4 under at Kingsbarns. He said he felt duty bound to recover quickly from the celebrations.
“I was still very tired,” he said. “But now after the Ryder Cup, it’s important for me to win this year’s Race to Dubai. That is my priority since I have obviously a very good chance of winning it.”
England’s Ross Fisher shot a 69 to get to within three shots of the leaders.
However, Montgomerie could shoot only 72 as he attempts to restart his playing career after two years concentrating on the match against the Americans.
Playing alongside Kaymer, Montgomerie knows he has work to do if he wants to win in Europe for the first time since 2007 and achieve his new ambition of playing in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, in suburban Chicago.
“The standard of golf now is very, very good,” said Montgomerie, who has slipped to 425th in the world. “And if I am going to compete again I have got to find another 20 yards, 30 yards.
“How can I do it? Get to the gym and lift those weights that I have never lifted before.”
All of the Ryder Cup members were still in contention after the first day. Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood opened with 70s, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy each shot 71, Francesco Molinari shot 72, his brother Edoardo Molinari 73 and Peter Hanson 74.
Westwood slipped on a slope by the No. 7 tee at Kingsbarns and hurt his right ankle again, but decided after his round to keep playing. His bid to replace Tiger Woods as the world’s top-ranked golfer will be helped by a top-20 finish. He’s tied for 47th.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president