A. Jutanugarn takes 3-shot lead in Canada; Ko 4 back

By Associated PressAugust 27, 2016, 3:17 am

PRIDDIS, Alberta - Ariya Jutanugarn had five birdies in a six-hole stretch and shot an 8-under 64 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead in the Canadian Pacific Women's Open.

A week after withdrawing from the Rio Olympics because of a left knee injury, the 20-year-old Thai star played 20 holes Friday at Priddis Greens. She bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 68 in the completion of the delayed first round, then made eight birdies in her bogey-free second round.

"I just had to rest and take care of my knee," Jutanugarn said. "After that, I feel like just play golf. It didn't feel like anything changed."

South Korea's In Gee Chun and Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow were tied for second. Chun closed birdie-eagle for a 67. Meadow had a 69. The former Alabama player had a seven-hole stretch when she made three straight birdies, three straight bogeys and a par.

"It's a rough little stretch there in the middle, and I just kind of had to pull myself together." Meadow said. "I definitely saved myself on the back nine with my short game. It wasn't pretty, but I got it done, and that's what golf's about."

Three-time champion Lydia Ko was four strokes back, and Canadian star Brooke Henderson was eight behind.

"I played pretty solid the last few days," Ko said. "Hoped for a few more putts to drop, but it's just really tough out there with some pins being tucked and on little slopes. ... There's still a lot of golf to be played."

In the event before the Olympics, Jutanugarn won the Women's British Open for her fourth victory of the year. She won three straight tournaments in May, and shares the tour victory lead with the top-ranked Ko with four.

The second-ranked Jutanugarn began the second round with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, ran off four straight on Nos. 17-2 and added birdies on Nos. 4 and 8 to get to 12 under. Hammering 2-iron and 3-wood off the tee, Jutanugarn hit all 14 fairways in the second round.

"I don't think it's like so good, my game," Jutanugarn said about the tree-lined course. "Because to me it's a little bit narrow and I can't hit my driver. But right now I feel more confident because I can hit my iron on the fairway and my 3-wood on the fairway."

She considered skipping the tournament to get another week off.

"But I feel like I'm OK," Jutanugarn said. "I wanted to see how I'm feeling. But after like Monday, it didn't hurt that much. Today, it's getting a lot better."

Ko shot a 69, making four straight birdies in the middle of the round.

She has won the event three of the last four years, the first two as an amateur. The 19-year-old New Zealander won in 2012 at Vancouver Golf Club at 15 years, 4 months to become the LPGA's youngest winner and fifth amateur champion. She successfully defended her title in 2013, winning by five strokes in Edmonton. Last year back at Vancouver as a pro, she beat Stacy Lewis in a playoff.

Ko was second in Rio, five strokes behind Inbee Park.

South Korea's Sei Young Kim (67), Hyo Joo Kim (67), Mi Jung Hur (69) and Chella Choi (71) matched Ko at 8 under.

Henderson dropped a stroke in the completion of a first-round 72 and had a double bogey on the par-3 eighth - her 17th - in a second-round 68. The 18-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario, beat Ko in a playoff in June in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship for her first major title, and successfully defended her Cambia Portland Classic title in early July.

"I had massive crowds today and it was so much fun to play in front of them," Henderson said. "I kind of felt their energy, and I got it to minus 6 at one point today and was feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, I had a couple of mistakes coming in."

Alena Sharp (70) and Maude-Aimee Leblanc (69) topped the Canadians at 6 under.

"It's always good to see the Canadian flag on the leaderboard no matter where we are, but definitely this week," Sharp said. "I know in the past we've done well as a group, the Canadians, so it's nice to see halfway through we've got some people up there. Hopefully we can continue it on the weekend."

Sharp shot 68-70, and Leblanc 69-69.

Canadian amateur Jaclyn Lee was 5 under after a 70. The Calgary player is a sophomore at Ohio State.

"These past two days have been really fun, incredible," Lee said. "Just a great experience. It's been a bonus on top of that to play well."

Lewis was 5 under after a 72. Coming off a tie for fourth in Rio, the 11-time tour champion is winless in 57 starts since June 2014. Michelle Wie made the cut on the number with rounds of 71 and 72.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.