Feng leads Kraft after Round 1; Wie one off the pace

By Associated PressApril 4, 2014, 1:05 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Shanshan Feng shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the early lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major tournament of the year.

The 24-year-old Chinese player had seven birdies and a bogey in her morning round in perfect conditions at Mission Hills.

''This morning, it was playing easier because there was no wind,'' Feng said. ''This course, usually in the afternoon, the wind will pick up. So, afternoon is actually the big challenge.''

Feng won the 2012 LPGA Championship to become the tour's first Chinese winner and had two victories late last year. She tied for 16th last week in the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, her best finish of the year.


Kraft Nabisco Championship: Articles, photos and videos


''The beginning of this year I was kind of a little lost because I lost a little weight and my swing kind of changed a little,'' Feng said. ''I wasn't swinging very comfortably when we were playing over in Asia. But I do think that my condition is better and better.''

Karrie Webb, a two-time winner this year, was in the afternoon group along with Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Lexi Thompson.

Paired with 58-year-old Hall of Famer Amy Alcott, Feng rebounded from a bogey on the par-4 15th with a birdie on par-4 16th and closed with two pars.

''She was actually encouraging me,'' Feng said about Alcott. ''Like I made a bogey on 15, and she was like, 'OK, let's make two birdies back in the last three holes.' I was like, 'Yes, ma'am.' Then I only made one. I didn't make two, but I thought that was good enough.''

Alcott shot an 81 in her 36th start in the tournament she won in 1983, 1988 and 1991. In 1988, she became the first player to take the now-traditional victory leap into Poppie's Pond.

Angel Yin, a 15-year-old high school freshman from the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia, was second after a 68. She also played the event last year, tying for 55th.

''I think this course suits me really well just because the greens,'' Yin said. ''I really like the greens here, so my putting really is better than any other course I play.''

The long-hitter missed the cut last week in Carlsbad, shooting 83-72 after earning a spot in the field as a Monday qualifier.

''I got really nervous,'' Yin said. ''The first hole I picked up the ball on the fringe and got penalized, which is pretty bad.''

She was asked if there was a player she wanted to meet, but was too shy to approach.

''Michelle Wie,'' Yin said. ''If she sat next to me and said 'Hi' to me, I'd probably run.''

Cristie Kerr and Jennifer Rosales were tied for third at 69.

''I kept it together,'' Kerr said. ''I hit a lot of bad shots out there, actually, and recovered well. I kept my calm and made some big par putts when I needed to.''

Anna Nordqvist, the winner last week in Carlsbad for her second victory of the year, opened with a 71. Playing partner Stacy Lewis, the 2011 winner, had a 73. She struggled off the tee, hitting a number of drives to the right.

''The good thing is I'm hitting my irons well and hitting some good putts,'' Lewis said. ''If I can straighten out my driver I'll be right there.

Sixteen-year-old Lydia Ko also shot 73. She had problems off the tee, too.

''I didn't hit my driver that well,'' Ko said.

Defending champion Inbee Park opened with a 74. Last year, she won by four strokes for the first of her three straight major victories.

''The pin positions were very tough for the first day,'' Park said. ''Half of the pins, we couldn't go at. There were very tough pins out there. I just didn't give myself a lot of opportunities. Obviously, the opportunities I had, I didn't make the putts.''

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