Gainey 36-hole leader in Greensboro

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2011, 11:19 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Tommy Gainey is struggling with his tee shots. He’s having a tough time with his irons. He’s fighting a nagging wrist injury.

And he’s got one of the best two-round scores in Wyndham Championship history.

Gainey shot a 65 on Friday to move to 12-under 128 and take a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the final event before the start of golf’s postseason.

Gainey, who shared the first-round lead with Jeff Quinney, had six birdies and has the second-best 36-hole score in the history of the tournament.

Ernie Els (66), Webb Simpson (65), Stuart Appleby (67) and Daniel Summerhays (65) were at 131. Jim Furyk (67), Alexandre Rocha (66), Paul Casey (67) and Retief Goosen (65) were four strokes back at 132.

After recording five birdies and an eagle a day earlier during his career-best-tying 63, Gainey said he was “going to light it up” against the fresh greens he would face Friday morning.

It didn’t happen quite like that, but he did turn in another solid round that kept him in contention for his first PGA Tour win.

Starting on the back nine, the South Carolina native had his first bogey of the tournament on the par-4 No. 11. Then, he warmed up. He birdied four of his final nine holes and closed his round with consecutive birdies, rolling in a 13-foot putt on No. 9 to finish.

A left wrist he sprained while hitting out of the rough last month at the RBC Canadian Open has made it tougher to keep his tee shots in the fairways and hampered his work with the irons.

“I hit it worse today than I did yesterday off the tee. I hit my irons worse than I did yesterday,” Gainey said. “It’s just hard to make birdies when you keep putting yourself … in the rough. … The harder you swing at it to get it out, just the more shock that goes into the wrist.”

Still, only Carl Pettersson’s 125 in 2008 was better than Gainey’s score through 36 holes at the Donald Ross-designed, par-70 Sedgefield Country Club course.

“I haven’t really accomplished anything in two days,” Gainey said. “The only thing I’ve accomplished is, I’ve set myself up in good shape going into the weekend. But, still, there’s a lot that can happen in one day … but two days, that’s like an eternity in a golf tournament. I’m trying to do the same thing I did these first two days tomorrow.”

Will MacKenzie began the day four strokes off the pace, but moved up the leaderboard with eagles on both of the course’s par 5s, Nos. 5 and 15, during his 65. The one-time prodigy from Greenville, N.C., is trying to reclaim his PGA Tour card after losing it last year, and the Wyndham represents one of his last chances to do that.

“For me to get my Tour card back some possible way, through (the) Nationwide Tour or just have a freak week, obviously I’m going to have to have a humongous week,” MacKenzie said. “I can’t be that top-25 guy and string it together. I’ve only got here and maybe another event, if I’m lucky, so I’m going to have to win or come in second.”

Quinney, who has conditional status on the Tour, is facing a similarly desperate situation, playing for both his card and a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He arrived at No. 215 in the standings and needed a high finish to crack the top 125 and make the playoffs, but he slipped off the pace after his triple bogey on the par-4 11th.

Numerous others are playing for their more immediate futures.

The field is littered with players trying to play their way off the bubble and into golf’s postseason, which begins next week at The Barclays in New Jersey.

Among those who made it to the weekend: Padraig Harrington, No. 130 on the points list, birdied two of the final four holes of his 68 to make the cut of 3 under. No. 121 Heath Slocum and No. 125 Camilo Villegas each shot 64s, with Slocum’s round highlighted by separate streaks of three and four birdies.

“Look at the order of names, everybody around me seems to be in the same position with me,” Harrington said. “Obviously, I’m going to (need to) have a good weekend in order to get through.”

Els, at No. 126, charged up the leaderboard with three birdies in a late five-hole span.

“I’ve got quite a large goal for me this week, and you know, I’m feeling like, fine, my game is turning around a little bit,” Els said.

And while Derek Lamely didn’t make the cut and won’t make the playoffs, the 31-year-old is leaving Sedgefield with quite the parting gift: a lifetime of vacations, courtesy of Wyndham, for his hole-in-one on the 165-yard, par-3 No. 16.


Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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).

Getty Images

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.