Fraser, Zanotti lead BMW International; Daly 4 back

By Associated PressJune 21, 2012, 8:18 pm

PULHEIM, Germany – No Australians have won on the European or PGA Tours this season, and Marcus Fraser thinks that will change soon.

He could end the drought this weekend.

Fraser shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday and is tied for the lead after the opening round of the BMW International Open.

Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay, who is without a win on the European Tour, had two eagles while also posting a 64. Chris WoodDanny Willett and Paul McGinley were next at 65.

Fraser birdied two of his opening three holes and five of his last six, including a long birdie putt on No. 18 at the Gut Larcenhof course outside Cologne.

It was Fraser's lowest score in 21 rounds in the prestigious German event.

''It's a great start and I just drove the ball really straight, missing just one fairway,'' he said.

''The greens were also quite nice this morning and I managed to make a few putts while that one at the last, a good 35 to 40 feet, was great to see drop.''

No Australian has won in Europe or the U.S. since August, when Adam Scott captured the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

''I am sure that will change shortly, as there's a lot of great Australians playing over in the States and a good few playing here in Europe,'' Fraser said.

''It's maybe just one of those things, as a few years ago everyone was just accustomed to a lot of Australians winning in America. So I am sure another Australian win is not too far away.''

Zanotti also had seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey during his wild first round.

''I made a lot of good putts today and the only bad shot I hit was in taking a double bogey,'' he said. ''It is very good for me to share the lead in a big tournament like this and it helps me getting used to it.''

McGinley finished his round with three threes, including an eagle on 16 and a birdie on 18.

''That was a great finish and it's turned a good day into a great day,'' McGinley said.

France's Gregory Havret, South Africa's Keith Horne, Sweden's Pelle Edberg and India's Shiv Kapur all shot 66s.

John Daly rewarded one of the biggest galleries on the course with a 4-under 68, and outplaying partners and potential European Ryder Cup qualifiers Paul Lawrie of Scotland (72) and Alvaro Quiros of Spain (73).

Daly, who won this event in 2001, attributed his good form to a putting tip from longtime friend Lance Awe.

''I have pretty much loosened up my grip on everything and particularly the putter, so as to get more feel,'' Daly said. ''Lance caddied for me at the Colonial and a few other events, and said 'Why don't you do what you did when you were 16?' so I figured I would take his advice.''

The two-time major champion also had five woods in his bag for the first time in his career.

''I've always played with blades as I hit my long irons really low but I saw how soft the course was, and the fact that so many other guys out here have hybrids,'' he said. ''They are a lot easier to hit and I am really still getting used to them, and no offense to the senior players but I feel like they're senior clubs.''

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."