McIlroy, Kaymer three back in Dubai

By Associated PressFebruary 9, 2012, 4:36 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rafael Cabrera-Bello made nine birdies in his first 11 holes to finish at 9-under 63 Thursday for a two-shot lead after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Marcel Siem and Scott Jamieson each shot 65.

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy was three shots back, making seven birdies on the last 10 holes. He’s tied for fourth with six other players, including 2010 PGA champion Martin Kaymer.

“I didn’t really get much going on the front nine,” McIlroy said. “And then I sort of got a few things going after that.”

Cabrera-Bello said he briefly thought about scoring 59, one shot better than his career-best 60 that helped him win the Austrian Open. But he ended the round with seven straight pars.

“It felt simple. I know it’s not and I know it’s really hard to repeat,” the 119th-ranked Cabrera-Bello said. “But it felt like everything was going nice and smooth today.”

Third-ranked Lee Westwood had a 69, and defending champion Alvaro Quiros shot 70. Robert Rock, who beat Tiger Woods and McIlroy at Abu Dhabi on Jan. 29, trails by 10 shots.

Cabrera-Bello said his consistent short game helped put him in contention for a second European Tour win and first since 2009. The 27-year-old Spaniard chipped within 3 feet on his fourth hole for birdie, then sank a 20-foot birdie putt on his fifth and made a 15-foot putt on his eighth.

Cabrera-Bello said it’s too soon to start thinking about winning the tournament.

“I don’t think anyone who plays good in any tournament in the first round thinks about winning,” Cabrera-Bello said. “I’m sure that is one thing you shouldn’t do. … You only need to think about how many times the first-round leader ends up winning, which I don’t think is a very good percentage.”

McIlroy, who won the tournament in 2009 and finished second last month at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, started with six straight pars and a bogey. He sank clutch birdie putts on No. 9 and 11 and missed a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th by a foot.

“Once I made a couple of birdies, you feel a bit more comfortable, you get a bit of momentum and you get into a bit of a flow, and that’s what happened,” McIlroy said.

Kaymer started slowly with a birdie and bogey on the front nine but had four birdies to go with a bogey on the back. He finished off with an eagle after an impressive drive on 18.

“I think I played very well. I hit a lot of good golf shots, hit a lot of good iron shots,” Kaymer said. “I had plenty of chances today.”

Siem managed to upstage his more famous German compatriot with his 65. He made a long birdie putt on No. 2, then chipped in on No. 6 for the third of his four birdies on the front. The 223rd-ranked Siem challenged for the lead with three birdies on his last four holes. But he found the water on the 18th with his second shot and finished with a bogey.

“It was one of my best days of golf to be honest,” Siem said. “At the beginning, I didn’t hit all the fairways. But on the back nine, I hit all the fairways and my iron shots were all straight at it.”

Jamieson had five birdies and an eagle in a bogey-free 65.

A colorful pairing included Fred Couples (70), John Daly (71) and Colin Montgomerie (71). Daly had a triple bogey on the ninth after his ball landed on the lakeside shelf and he needed a drop.

Rock didn’t have much luck during his round.

“It was a pretty poor round of greens today. Hit the ball quite nice, hit some good shots but my chipping was bad,” Rock said. “Ten is a long ways back. There are a lot of people under par, so I have a lot to do.”

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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

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.