Defending champ Henderson leads by 2 in Portland

By Associated PressJuly 1, 2016, 2:28 am

PORTLAND, Ore. - Defending champion Brooke Henderson shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic on Thursday.

Picking up where she left off from a year ago, when Henderson shot a 21-under 267 to win her first LPGA tournament, the 18-year-old Canadian hit 16 greens and made nine birdies on a warm, cloudless day at the 6,476-yard Columbia Edgewater course.

Henderson said a combination of factors allows her to feel at home at Columbia Edgewater.

''I love tree-lined courses, and that's very much what this course is. With the bent grass, which is kind of what I grew up on, I really like it. It suits my eye,'' Henderson said. ''Then winning here, that gives me those extra vibes and adrenaline, which I think will help as the week goes on. This golf course, being out here in the Northwest, in the beautiful temperature, I like wearing long sleeves and pants.''

Angela Stanford, Demi Runas and Mariajo Uribe each shot 67 to trail Henderson.

Runas, whose best career finish is a tie for 25th, and Uribe are looking for their first LPGA victories. Stanford lost in a playoff in the 2003 U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge, which has previously played host to the Portland Classic. Uribe and Stanford shot bogey-free rounds.

Stanford, who tied for fourth last week in Arkansas, is somewhat of a surprise among the leaders. She hasn't had much success at the Portland Classic, her best finish a tie for eighth in 12 tries.

''Poa annua greens are usually not very friendly to me. It's nice to watch the ball go in the hole here. I haven't always played well here, so I tried to just put that on the back burner and see if I could carry it over from last week, and it did,'' Stanford said.



Carlota Ciganda, Jaye Marie Green, Ayako Uehara and Daniela Iacobelli shot 68. Four strokes back at 69 are No. 18 Suzann Pettersen, Sarah Jane Smith, Lee-Anne Pace, Briana Mao and Jiayi Zhou.

Pettersen is a two-time Portland winner, claiming the 2011 and 2013 tournaments.

No. 15 Anna Nordqvist is among 12 players at 70. No. 9 Stacy Lewis shot even-par 72, as did Austin Ernst, the 2014 Portland champion.

Henderson, starting early in the morning on the back nine, was only 1 under through seven holes. But she birdied three of the next four holes, then finished on fire while playing the front nine, making consecutive birdies on holes 5 through 8. Henderson just missed a fifth consecutive birdie, sliding a 15-foot putt past the left side of the hole at the par-4 ninth.

It was a bogey at the par-4, 391-yard fourth that helped ignite Henderson's string of four consecutive birdies.

''That was a dumb hole ... a hole with my length I could have taken advantage of. The bogey bothered me a little. I knew I had two par-5s coming up, so I tried to focus on them,'' Henderson said.

In her last six rounds at Columbia-Edgewater, counting last year's Monday qualifier, Henderson is 32 under par, all six rounds in the 60s.

Last year, Henderson won the Portland Classic by eight strokes, and became the third-youngest champion in LPGA history. Since winning her maiden event, Henderson has soared to become No. 2-ranked, and two weeks ago won the Women's PGA Championship.

Henderson is attempting to become Portland's first back-to-back champion since Annika Sorenstam won the 2002 and 2003 tournaments.

The Portland Classic is normally played in late August, but moved up because the LPGA is taking three weeks off for the Olympics. The Portland stop is typically popular among the tour's best players, but with the U.S. Open scheduled for next week in California, only 13 of the world's top 50 entered this year.

The Portland Classic is the LPGA's longest-running non-major, now in its 45th year. The purse is $1.3 million, with $195,000 going to the winner.

Getty Images

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).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.