Montgomerie wins first Champions event in Japan

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2017, 1:54 pm

CHIBA, Japan – Colin Montgomerie made all the putts he needed Sunday on Narita Golf Club's massive greens to win the Japan Airlines Championship - the first PGA Tour Champions event in Japan.

The 54-year-old Scot two-putted for par from 50 feet on the par-4 18th, hitting his first to 1 1/2 feet, for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke victory over Billy Mayfair and second-round leader Scott McCarron.

''The greens were as good as any, and I mean this, as good as any as we have ever putted on, ever,'' Montgomerie said. ''And we've putted on some great, great surfaces. In the 30 years as a pro, these are as good as any we have putted on as a putting surface. Superb putting surfaces. And the way the course was manicured was exceptional.''

Montgomerie finished at 14-under 202 for his fifth victory on the 50-and-over tour and first in nearly a year. He won 31 times on the European Tour and topped the tour's money list a record eight times - seven in a row from 1993-99 and the last in 2005.

''It's a big deal, a very big deal,'' Montgomerie said about tour's first visit to Japan. ''And let's hope that the success of this event goes forward and not only allows the PGA Tour Champions to come back and compete but also allows the PGA Tour to come and play here. It will be fantastic if that time ever comes.''

Montgomerie ran in a 60-footer on the par-4 13th in the middle of a three-hole birdie spree, and made two key 6-foot putts - the first for par on the par-3 16th and the second for birdie on the par-5 17th to break a tie for the lead with Mayfair.


Full-field scores from the Japan Airlines Championship


''I think when I holed the putt on the 14th hole for my third birdie in a row, I felt that I had a chance then,'' Montgomerie said. ''I'm a big scoreboard watcher and knew I was leading. I just had to make sure I birdied 17 and par in, which I did.''

Mayfair, playing two groups ahead of Montgomerie, settled for a 66 after missing a 6-foot birdie try on 18.

''I hit a good putt and I knew it wasn't going to go in the center, but I thought it would catch the left edge and it just came out,'' Mayfair said. ''But I made so many putts today and the whole week.''

McCarron, tied with Bernhard Langer for the tour victory lead with four after winning three of the previous six events, birdied the final two holes for a 71. He opened with a double bogey.

''I've had kind of a cold that just got worse,'' McCarron said. ''My head's a little foggy and just didn't make a very good swing and I missed the first fairway, put myself in a really bad position. ... But no excuses. If I shoot 3 under, I win this thing. Just wasn't able to do it today. Unfortunately, just didn't put myself in position off the tee.''

Montgomerie birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine - also holing putts of 20 feet on No. 10, 15 feet on No. 12, and 14 feet on No. 14 - after playing the first nine in even par with a bogey and a birdie.

''It wasn't easy,'' Montgomerie said. ''The wind was swirling in the trees, the pins were located in some very difficult positions, very difficult, right on the edges of the greens on slopes.''

Sidelined 2 1/2 months in the spring by torn ligaments in his left ankle, Montgomerie won for the first time since beating McCarron late last September in a playoff in Canada in the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship - a title he will try to defend this coming week in Victoria, British Columbia. The Hall of Famer's first three Champions victories came in majors - the 2014 and 2015 Senior PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Senior Open.

''I'm just beginning to play the way that I have the last three years,'' Montgomerie said.

Glen Day was fourth at 12 under after a 67. Kevin Sutherland, a stroke back entering the round, had a 72 to drop into a tie for fifth with Jesper Parnevik (67) at 11 under.

Massy Kuramoto topped the six Japanese players in the field at 10 under after a 67.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen: