Cook on Fire at Western Open

By Associated PressJuly 5, 2002, 4:00 pm
LEMONT, Ill. -- John Cook birdied three of the last four holes Friday to open a two-stroke lead heading into the weekend at the Western Open. He posted a 36-hole total of 11-under-par 133, and his second-round 66 marked his best-ever score at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club's Dubsdread Course.
'I really didn't miss a shot, and made a couple good putts, but I gave myself opportunities almost every single hole, so you're bound to tap a couple in,' said the 44-year-old Cook, who hasn't made a bogey since his first hole on Thursday. 'And I finished up well, so that was a good way to end the day.'
Stuart Appleby roared out of the gate with six straight birdies en route to a 7-under 65, the low round of the day. He finished tied for second at 9-under 135 with Vijay Singh (67) and Buy.Com Tour graduate Jonathan Byrd (68).
'I missed a few very good opportunities the last two days, but I made a couple of nice ones, too,' said Appleby, an Australian who captured the last of his three PGA Tour titles in 1999. 'I probably missed more than I made.'
Appleby's 65 was his best score in 24 career rounds at Cog Hill. His previous best was a 66 in the second round of the 1999 Western Open.
Cook, an 11-time winner, is in the midst of an interesting season, his 23rd on the PGA Tour. He is currently 24th on the money list with a strange mix of six missed cuts and four top-10 finishes in 15 events. Twice he's finished second, most recently at the Memorial. His runner-up showing in Jack's tournament helped earn him a spot in the U.S. Open, where he wound up missing the cut.
This tournament wouldn't seem like the best place for Cook to bounce back. His best showing in his 13 previous Western Open appearances was a tie for 21st in 1997, and he's missed the cut twice in his last three starts at Cog Hill.
Cook faired even worse at the event's prior home, Butler National. During the seven times he played the Oak Brook, Illinois layout between 1980 and '88, Cook never registered a round in the 60s.
'I came here with no expectations,' Cook said. 'Maybe that's the key.'
Cook missed a five-foot par putt on his first hole Thursday, but has made three birdies on each nine since. And while he's hit under 70 percent of his fairways and greens thus far, Cook is No. 1 in the field in putting with only 50 putts taken through two rounds.
On Friday, Cook tied Appleby, Singh and Byrd at 9-under with a pitch to eight feet for birdie at the par-5 15th. Cook birdied the 16th to claim the outright lead, then padded his cushion by knocking a 6-iron four feet behind the hole to set up a closing three at the par-4 home hole.
Singh's name near the top of the leaderboard is a familiar site at Cog Hill. The two-time major winner from Fiji has four top-10s in the Western Open since 1996, including a runner-up finish behind Joe Durant in '98.
'For some reason I play well when I come over here,' he said. 'I like the golf course, I like the way it's set up. You have to maneuver the ball a lot over here, and for some reason I do well.'
Byrd followed up a bogey at 14 with an eagle at the 15th, where he set up his chip-in with a 6-iron that landed pin high in the thick rough.
'I was only 15 steps from the hole, and I had a kind of into-the-grain, grassy lie,' said the 24-year-old Clemson grad. 'Made good contact and it just came out perfect and trickled into the edge.'
Robert Allenby, who won the 2000 Western Open in a playoff with Nick Price, shot a 67 to tie for fifth with Durant (68), Neal Lancaster (68), Scott Verplank (69), Jerry Kelly (69) and Bob Estes (70) at eight-under.
Rocco Mediate (68), Paul Gow (68) and 2001 runner-up Davis Love III (70) finished four shots off the pace. First-round leader David Gossett (73) was part of a five-way tie at minus 6.
Last year's winner Scott Hoch turned in rounds of 72-72 to miss the cut by one stroke. He became the third defending champion in the last four years to miss the cut.
Full-field scores from the Advil Western Open
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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
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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.

Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins

By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.

A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.

The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.

In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.

In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”

The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.

According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.

A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.