Jutanugarn two off pace at Manulife LPGA

By Associated PressSeptember 3, 2016, 10:42 pm

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario - Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday in the LPGA Manulife Classic, leaving her two strokes back in her bid to win three straight events for the second time this season.

The second-ranked Jutanugarn was chasing South Koreans Mi Hyang Lee and Hjo Joo Kim at Whistle Bear. Lee also had a 66 to top the leaderboard at 14-under 202, and Kim was a stroke back after a 68.

''I'm not really worried about like leader,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I feel like I want to be happy on the course, and tomorrow final day.''

Jutanugarn closed with a birdie to join Thailand's P.K. Kongkraphan (69) at 12 under.

Using a driver in competition for the third straight day after shelving it for months, Jutanugarn had eight birdies and two bogeys. She has improved each day, following an opening 70 with a 68.

''I just missed like two tee shots and I had two bogeys,'' Jutanugarn said.

After winning three straight events in May, the 20-year-old Thai player began the latest streak at the Women's British Open. She rebounded from a knee injury that forced her to withdraw during the Rio Olympics to win the Canadian Pacific Women's Open last week in Alberta for her fifth victory of the year.

Lee eagled the par-5 ninth and had six birdies and two bogeys. She won the 2014 Mizuno Classic in Japan for her lone tour title.

''I want to play my golf. That's it,'' Lee said. ''I want to think my golf.''

Kim eagled the par-4 13th and had four birdies and two bogeys. She won the season-opening event in the Bahamas for her third LPGA Tour victory.

Australia's Minjee Lee (66) and Germany's Caroline Masson (68) were 11 under.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko had the round of the day, shooting a bogey-free 64 to move into a tie for seventh at 10 under. The 19-year-old New Zealander has four LPGA Tour victories this year.

''It's a little calmer today than the past two days,'' Ko said. ''Especially around a course like this when the wind is calm, you know that there are going to be some low numbers out there.''

Marina Alex, the second-round leader after a 64, had a 73 to drop into a tie for 10th at 9 under.

Canadian star Brooke Henderson was tied for 29th at 6 under after a 69. The 18-year-old Henderson beat Ko in a playoff in June in the KPMG Women's PGA for her first major title, and successfully defended her Portland Classic title in early July. She has attracted the biggest crowd at Whistle Bear.

''It's really been so much fun to play in front of them,'' Henderson said. ''I just thank everybody for coming out.''

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