Daly, Langer, Toms one behind leaders in Victoria

By Associated PressSeptember 16, 2017, 9:46 am

VICTORIA, British Columbia – Steve Flesch and Jerry Smith each shot 7-under 64 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship.

Flesh is making his 12th senior start after turning 50 in late May.

''It's kind of an awkward golf course off the tee, so you need to be decisive about what club you are going to hit and if you can hit it in the right places, you can make some birdies,'' Flesch said. ''You have to pay attention out there. There are some tough tee shots out there and some awkward greens, so you can't put yourself in the wrong place.''

The four-time PGA Tour winner had four birdies in a five-hole stretch on Bear Mountain's Mountain Course and capped the bogey-free round with a birdie on the par-5 18th.

''I hit a lot of good tee shots and set myself up for a lot of short irons,'' Flesh said. ''I didn't make a lot of putts early one, but I got it going in the middle of the round and ran off a few. It surprised me how much the golf course has dried out just in the last few days.''

Smith also closed with a birdie and had six birdies in a seven-hole span before bogeying the par-3 14th. He has one senior title.

Charles Schwab Cup points leader Bernhard Langer was a stroke back along with John Daly, David Toms and Jerry Kelly. Coming off a two-week break, the 60-year-old Langer opened eagle-birdie-birdie.

''Pretty easy eagle on No. 1 after a 3-wood,'' Langer said. ''I pretty much stiffed it on the next two holes, so suddenly I was 4 under after three. I played pretty solid, although there were a couple of loose shots. Overall, it was pretty decent. I had a couple of chances coming in, but didn't make any putts.''

The German star won three of the tour's five majors and is tied with Scott McCarron for tour victory lead with four.

''The greens have really toughened up and are really firm and really fast,'' Langer said. ''We don't get conditions like this very often, so you have to be aware of it. You have to be on your toes and know what greens are firm and what fairways are running out.''

Daly won the Insperity Invitational in May in Texas for his first senior title. The fan favorite eagled the par-5 12th.

''Over the years, Canada has been just a wonderful place to come and play,'' Daly said. ''I always feel the support of the fans. I always love the fans and love playing for them, but it's a hell of a lot better when you are playing good, however.''

Kelly took the Boeing Classic three weeks ago outside Seattle for his first tour victory.

''I wasn't very happy with the way I started the year, but since I won, I have started to play much better,'' Kelly said. ''Took a change of putters, a change of irons, a change of drivers, a change of shoes to play better. These courses are not pitch and putts. They are tough golf courses, period. You need to shoot low every single week. You need to make putts.''

Canadian Stephen Ames topped the group at 66.

Defending champion Colin Montgomerie opened with a 70. He won last week outside Tokyo in the 50-and-over tour's first event in Japan.

McCarron had a 71. He lost a playoff to Montgomerie last year at Bear Mountain, and tied for second last week in Japan after winning three of the previous six events.

Nick Faldo shot 73.

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 six 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.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."