Defending champ Ko leads New Zealand Open by one

By Associated PressFebruary 13, 2016, 3:42 pm

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - Lydia Ko will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the New Zealand Women's Open after shooting a 5-under 67 Saturday.

The South Korean-born New Zealander, who is defending her national title, started the day in a tie for fifth after an opening 69. On Saturday, she had six birdies and a bogey which moved her one shot ahead of Justine Dreher of France, who shot 70.

The 18-year-old Ko had a 36-hole total of 8-under 136 at Clearwater Golf Club in the 54-hole tournament co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and Australian Ladies PGA.

Dreher is one shot ahead of Pamela Pretswell (70) of Scotland, while Denmark's Emily Kristine Pedersen (66) and Nanna Koerstz Madsen (68) are two strokes behind and tied for third.

Ko, who holds the course record at Clearwater with a 61, played the front nine Saturday in 4-under 32, then had two birdies and a bogey on her back nine.

Ahead by one stroke, she dropped a shot on the par-4 13th at the same time Dreher birdied the par-5 second to move to eight under and a tie for the lead.

But Ko reclaimed the lead when she hit her tee shot to seven feet on the par-3 16th and made a birdie putt.

''When you are at the top of the leaderboard, everyone is chasing you, but I would rather be leading than a few shots behind,'' Ko said.

Dreher, 23, turned professional last year and has only $3,000 in career earnings.

''I am excited and nervous,'' Dreher said. ''Just putting next to (Ko) yesterday was a bit new. I am watching and learning from them.''

Ko said she expects a tough challenge from Dreher in the final group on Sunday.

''She copes with pressure well,'' Ko said. ''If I think about what she is doing then there will be way too much thinking going on.''

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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

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.