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New dad Fleetwood (63) sets Carnoustie record

By Associated PressOctober 6, 2017, 5:40 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood broke the course record at Carnoustie by shooting 9-under 63 to tie for the lead with defending champion Tyrrell Hatton after two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Friday.

Hatton also tamed the tough Open venue, shooting 65 to move to 11 under par for the tournament. The English golfers were a stroke clear of Nicolas Colsaerts, and two ahead of Paul Dunne and Marcel Siem.

Playing his first event since becoming a father for the first time last week, Fleetwood birdied six of the last eight holes to complete a bogey-free round and beat the course record by a shot.


Full-field scores from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship


Carnoustie is regarded as the most difficult of the three courses that stage the tournament. Kingsbarns and the Old Course at St. Andrews are the others, with players alternating between the three in the first three rounds before playing at St. Andrews again for the final round.

Fleetwood holds a big lead in the Race to Dubai rankings despite playing in only one of the last seven tournaments on the European Tour. This season, he has won the Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open, finished second at a World Golf Championship in Mexico, and placed fourth at the U.S. Open.

He has three top-five finishes at the Dunhill Links, which he says is one of his favorite events.

Hatton followed up a 68 at the Old Course with an even better round at Carnoustie, featuring birdies on four of the last six holes – including chipping in at the par-3 16th.

Winning the Dunhill Links, amid a strong finish to last season, helped lift Hatton to No. 14 in the world ranking. He made just two cuts in nine events from the Masters to the U.S. PGA Championship this year, but has back-to-back top 10s since.

Colsaerts has had consecutive 67s, at Kingsbarns then the Old Course.

Rory McIlroy shot a 71 at Carnoustie and was even par after two rounds. Eleven shots off the lead, McIlroy is likely to finish a season without a victory for just the second time in his pro career.

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