Overton out front early at Turning Stone

By Associated PressOctober 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
Turning Stone Resort ChampionshipVERONA, N.Y. ' The sky cleared just in time for Jeff Overton.
 
Teeing off on what became a bright late afternoon after a cold, soggy morning, Overton shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Turning Stone Resort Championship, the second stop on the PGA Tours Fall Series.
 
Overton, who started at the 10th hole, made three birdies on the front side to take a one-shot lead over Michael Allen and Steve Allan.
 
Tag Ridings, Carlos Franco, and Jason Day were tied for fourth at 69. Another shot back were Briny Baird, Bo Van Pelt, Kent Jones, Mark Hensby, Tommy Gainey, Sterling Scott, Paul Claxton and Troy Matteson, who had a bogey-free round.
 
Defending Turning Stone champ Steve Flesch, a black knit cap pulled tightly over his ears in brisk conditions that never rose much above 50 degrees, shot a 74.
 
The inaugural Turning Stone Championship last September was played under near ideal conditions with little wind and temperatures in the 80s. At the start of play Thursday, it was 48 degrees with intermittent rain and a steady 20 mph wind, a day to watch Canada geese fly south, not little white balls soaring where they werent meant to go. Only 27 players broke par.
 
It can tire you out, and itll get you towards the end of the round, said Ridings, who teed off in early morning. I think it helps more than anything starting the round. You get rid of jitters and you get rid of wayward thoughts because you have to concentrate on that stuff.
 
When the sun broke through, it made playing more bearable.
 
My last six holes, it definitely played a little bit easier, said the 25-year-old Overton. The morning was so nasty. The wind was just howling.
 
Allen, who finished second to Flesch last year, finished his round wearing a golf shirt and was smiling despite having left 100-degree weather at his Arizona home to come to upstate New York.
 
The conditions made the 7,482-yard Atunyote Golf Club course play much longer and promised to make it difficult to match Fleschs winning total of 18 under in 2007. Its totally different, Allen said. Its playing a lot more difficult.
 
The adverse conditions didnt prevent some great shots, though. Day holed out from 117 yards for eagle at the par-4 14th hole, Franco chipped in from 20 feet for eagle at the par-5 fifth hole and also drained a 70-foot birdie putt at the par-3 sixth hole, and Van Pelt hit a hybrid from 235 yards to 15 feet and also made eagle at No. 5.
 
Wow, this is tough talking because I cant believe I shot 3 under, said the 43-year-old Franco, who birdied three of the four par 3s. The days conditions are really, really difficult. Every shot is difficult. Its cold and your hands, you lose the feeling, and the wind, it didnt stop, then it rain and stop and rain and stop. Thats very difficult to focus.
 
Despite the inclement weather, the greens remained firm, perfectly smooth and lightning quick.
 
I mean, I was pretty lucky, said Allan, who had five birdies to go with one bogey. One of my birdies I was actually in the trees. I had a go at getting it through the tree, which got it on the green, and then holed a really long, like probably a 70-footer, which was the first birdie of day. That kind of got me going.
 
Of the leaders, Van Pelt might have been wearing the biggest smile. A former star in college at Oklahoma State, he was well-versed in playing in difficult conditions.
 
I like it when its windy. The tougher the better, Van Pelt said. We had plenty of days like this in Stillwater. You knew it was going to be bad for everybody, so you just try to have a good attitude.
 
But it wasnt easy. It was pretty darn cold and nasty this morning. I dont think anybodys got an advantage. I think the best advantage you have is if youve got a good attitude. You get a bad attitude in weather like this, and you might as well just go home.
 
Home is where Brad Faxon has been for more than a year, and he could have picked a different tournament to start his comeback from surgery on his right knee last December. But Turning Stone is within driving distance of his Rhode Island home, and he was glad he made the trip, even after shooting a 76.
 
Its hard to stay focused, said Faxon, who still has trouble squatting to line up putts. Im still a little bit timid, dont think Im swinging as hard as I can. But I thought today was OK. Its a good story just getting back and playing 18 holes.
 
The top 125 players on the money list at the end of the season will retain fully exempt status to play on the PGA Tour in 2009.
 
That makes this event, the richest in the Fall Series with a $6 million purse, oh-so-meaningful. Day is ranked 129th in money with just under $600,000, three spots ahead of Allen, Overton is 142nd, Ridings 152nd, Franco 163rd, Hensby 164th, Allan 167th, and Jones 185th. First place pays $1.08 million, which would vault the 20-year-old Day near the top 50 and the others inside the top 100.
 
You get to this point in the season, youve got to play well, Allen said. Your jobs on the line.
 
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  • 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

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    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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    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm