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Nordqvist wins second major in rainy Evian playoff

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2017, 4:06 pm

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France – Anna Nordqvist beat unheralded American Brittany Altomare in a playoff in driving rain and hail at the first extra hole to win the Evian Championship on Sunday.

Nordqvist sank a 4-foot putt for a bogey 5 on the soaked 18th hole while the 102nd-ranked Altomare had a six.

Course workers removed pools of standing water from the 18th green as the players approached the putting surface after their third shots. The par-4 hole had played long all afternoon and was near-treacherous for the playoff.

''I am from Sweden and I'm freezing,'' said Nordqvist, who just two months ago was confined to bed for two weeks by a bout of mononucleosis.

The 30-year-old Nordqvist earned $547,500 for the win, her first major since the 2009 LPGA Championship.

Altomare got $340,000 for only her second career top-10 finish, three weeks after the 26-year-old secured a third-place tie at the Portland Classic.


Evian Championship: Articles, video and photos

Full-field scores from the Evian Championship


Nordqvist and Altomare both shot 66 for 9-under totals of 204. It was a 54-hole event after weather-affected play on Thursday was scrapped.

Second-round leader Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand and two-time major winner Lydia Ko of New Zealand fell out of the playoff by dropping shots on the 18th.

Jutanugarn (72) and Ko (69) finished in a tie for third with Katherine Kirk of Australia, whose 70 included bogeys at the 16th and 17th as the chilling rain fell.

Nordqvist's victory ensured 10 different major winners in the last two seasons.

Last year, Nordqvist lost a playoff for the U.S. Women's Open after a rules violation on the second extra hole - for touching sand with her club in a fairway bunker - was relayed to her on the next hole. Brittany Lang of the U.S. won that major title.

Jutanugarn was seeking to follow her younger sister Ariya, the 2016 Women's British Open winner, as the first siblings ever to each win a women's major title.

Leading by one hole overnight, Jutanugarn reached the turn two shots ahead at 10 under after sinking a 10-foot putt for birdie at the ninth.

She lost her lead when Nordqvist surged, going five under over five holes. While the 23-year-old Thai was making bogey-6 at the 13th, Nordqvist got an eagle-3 at the 15th and a birdie at the 16th to move into sole possession of the lead at 10 under.

Nordqvist fell back on the 18th, getting a bogey-5 after pulling her tee shot into the rough. As she approached the 18th green, Altomare sank a short birdie putt at 17 to advance to 9 under.

It was soon a five-way tie for the lead when Kirk made birdie at the par-5 15th and Jutanugarn managed only par when her birdie putt rolled round the lip of the hole.

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