Ko 2 back; Canadian Women's Open Rd. 1 suspended

By Associated PressAugust 26, 2016, 3:12 am

PRIDDIS, Alberta - Three-time champion Lydia Ko was back on the Canadian Pacific Women's Open leaderboard. Canadian star Brooke Henderson got left behind after a late start.

The top-ranked Ko shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday at Priddis Greens in the round delayed for nearly three hours because of lightning, leaving her two strokes behind leader Chella Choi.

''I had lunch like three times and I had fro-yos,'' Ko said. ''I wish there could be a switch where we could put out the sun or put some overcast. But when it comes to weather, we can't control it, so when it's that case, you just have to go with it.''

The 18-year-old Henderson was 1 under with three holes left when play was suspended because of darkness. Henderson, 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.

Choi was 7 under with four holes left. Celebrating her 26th birthday, the South Korean player made consecutive birdies on the par-5 18th and first holes and also birdied the par-4 second and fourth.

Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow was a stroke back after a 66. France's Karine Icher - playing alongside Choi - was 6 under with four holes left.

Ko has won the event three of the last four years, the first two as an amateur. The 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.

The 19-year-old has four LPGA victories this season, winning the ANA Inspiration in April for her second major title. She was second last week in the Rio Olympics, five strokes behind Inbee Park. On Thursday, Ko had six birdies and one bogey.

''I played really solid, birdied the first hole straight off the bat,'' Ko said. ''I was putting really well and hit the ball pretty good throughout the round.''

Meadow, the 24-year-old former Alabama player, birdied the final two holes, closing with a right-to-left breaking 20-footer on the par-4 ninth.

''It was gray and it looked like it was rain and windy, so that's pretty much Ireland in a nutshell,'' Meadow said. ''But definitely I think it's nice to know that I can play in those conditions. I've done it a lot, even though it's when I was little. But I've still done it and scored, so I know I can do it.''

South Korea's Mirim Lee and Mi Jung Hur matched Ko at 67, and second-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand also was 5 under with four holes to play. Jutanugarn won the Women's British Open for her fourth victory of the year, then withdrew during the Olympics because of a left knee injury.

Past champions Suzann Pettersen and So Yeon Ryu shot 68. Pettersen won in 2009 at Priddis Greens, and Ryu two years ago at London Hunt in Ontario.

''I have a really good confidence vibe here,'' Ryu said.

Lewis was 4 under with four holes left. Coming off a tie for fourth in Rio, the 11-time tour champion is winless in 57 starts since June 2014. The Texan has 11 runner-up finishes during the drought.

Michelle Wie, the 2010 winner in Winnipeg, Manitoba, had a 71.

Juli Inkster holed out from the fairway for eagle on the ninth. The 56-year-old Hall of Famer finished off a 70 just before dark.

Lorie Kane matched Hollis Stacy's tournament record with her 26th straight appearance in the event, Inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, the 51-year-old Kane shot 73.

Karrie Webb also had a 73. She won the 1999 du Maurier Classic at Priddis Greens, the then-major championship that folded because of Canada's restrictions on tobacco promotions.

The tour will remain in Canada next week for the Manulife LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ontario.

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.