Former teammates now in a battle at PGA Championship

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2010, 2:49 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Bryce Molder watched in awe as Matt Kuchar birdied hole after hole during their practice rounds together this week in preparation for the PGA Championship.

Kuchar is the one that’s still shocked – that Molder hasn’t found more success on the PGA Tour.

The two highly touted college prospects during their time at Georgia Tech kept chasing each other on Friday at Whistling Straits, just like they’ve done over the past 12 years and the more than 100 rounds they’ve played with each other.

It just so happens this time it’s for the PGA Championship, with Kuchar at 8 under after a 69 on Friday and Molder three shots behind following a 67 in his second round.

Gone are the expectations that came with the powerhouse Yellow Jackets program when they were together from 1998-2000. Kuchar, the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion, has two Tour wins and Molder has yet to break through despite a stellar collegiate career of his own.

“We thought it might happen a little sooner. Things happened. This game’s tough,” Molder said. “There’s a lot of really good players. Sometimes it takes a little while to figure out how to play your best, how to maximize your efforts out here. I feel like he’s just hitting his stride and I feel like I’m doing the same.”

Kuchar turned pro a year earlier than Molder and watched his teammate’s game continue to develop, believing Molder would ascend rapidly in the pros.

“I thought Bryce had no chinks in the armor. I thought out of school, he was hands-down the best player in college golf. I thought, there was a guy that’s going straight to the big leagues and going to do well out there,” said Kuchar.

It hasn’t happened, though the 32-year-old Molder is taking it in stride.

“It’s funny, everybody, we’re finding out, has trouble throughout their career at some point or another,” Molder said. “I think 15 years from now, I’ll feel like I was fortunate to do it early and learn and be humbled by the experience.”

Molder’s brilliant collegiate career included receiving All-American honors four straight years, joining Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Gary Hallberg as the only players to do it. He seemed on a fast track to PGA Tour success.

“I think most people would have expected the two of us to be doing this earlier on in our career,” Kuchar said. “But I remember talking to some guys when I was fresh on Tour, talking to them about a 10-year learning curve out here. It didn’t make much sense.”

The pair played 27 practice holes together this week, and Molder said Kuchar birdied 13 of them while he struggled and missed putts. While Molder said he owes Kuchar some money from those rounds, it committed him to staying patient and wait for opportunities.

Molder needed 22 holes before building momentum on the par-5 fifth on Friday, with the blustery winds at his back.

“You have to assume at some point you’re going to get hot and trust yourself that you are, and I did. I’m sitting at even par through 20-something holes and it can go one way or the other,” he said. “You just kind of keep playing, and suddenly I’d birdied three holes in a row.”

He’d birdie three more over the 10-hole stretch before a bogey on No. 18. In the background, Molder heard the cheers for Kuchar, who made a run of his own on the back nine and nearly holed out at No. 13 for the second straight round.

“I told the guys in my group if it was anybody else, I wouldn’t believe it. But it’s Matt, so that was yesterday and then he almost did it today,” Molder said. “I knew he was playing really well.”

Molder finally believes he is, too – and that his breakthrough will come soon.

“I feel like I’m just on the way to where I can play, should play, expect to play,” he said. “It’s just a matter of trying to find what you need to get there. It took me a little while, but it’s been a really, really fun journey.”

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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.