Bowditch holds 36-hole lead at Valero Texas Open

By Associated PressMarch 29, 2014, 1:06 am

SAN ANTONIO - Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number in the Texas Open on Friday, blasting out of a greenside water hazard to 5 feet to set up a birdie on the final hole.

Mickelson shot a 2-under 70 after opening with a 77 - his worst score of the season - on TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course. Lefty was 11 strokes behind leader Steven Bowditch, the Australian who had a 67 to reach 8-under 136.

Mickelson was in the stream that runs in front of the 18th green after attempting to reach the par 5 in two from 288 yards with a 3-wood.

''I needed to make a birdie to have a chance at playing tomorrow,'' Mickelson said. ''Fortunately, barely went in, and it looked like the water overlapped the grass. It was not that hard of a shot.''

Bowditch holed out from 83 yards for an eagle on the par-4 12th. The 30-year-old topped the leaderboard at the end of a round for the first time in his PGA Tour career.


Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


''My wedge shots have been pretty good,'' Bowditch said. ''I was trying to hit (the one on No. 12) a little past the pin and hope it came back to a reasonable distance. Got lucky.''

He closed the round with a double bogey on the par-4 ninth, taking two chips to get out of the heavy rough.

Chad Collins and rookie Andrew Loupe were a stroke back. Collins shot 66, and Loupe had a 70.

Mickelson has struggled this year and entered the Texas Open for the first time in 22 years to put his game under competitive conditions as a preparation for the Masters. He knew he had a chance to make the cut even after a bogey on No. 15 dropped him to 3 over.

''I was on the green for five minutes and (the 3-over score) went from 74th to 71st in five minutes,'' Mickelson said, ''so I figured that 3 over had a pretty good chance of making it because the scores were coming back.''

On the 18th, Mickelson pulled off his left shoe and rolled up that pants leg and gave it a shot with his foot in the water.

''It's important that I get more mentally into the round like I did today,'' Mickelson said. ''Yesterday, I was very sloppy. I like the way I'm driving the ball. My speed is back. My back feels great. My body feels great, and I'm able to hit the ball hard again.''

Plus, after having 17 putts on his second nine Thursday, he opened his second round Friday with one-putts on eight of his first nine holes. He was 3 under for the round until taking two shots to get out of a greenside bunker and bogeying No. 8.

Only two of the top 15 players on the leaderboard are in the top 100 of the world ranking. Sixth-place Kevin Na is 78th in the world and ninth-place Zach Johnson is 10th.

Bowditch is 339th, Collins 315th and Loupe 505th.

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