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Rookie Duncan grabs lead with 18th-hole eagle

By Associated PressOctober 7, 2017, 3:11 am

NAPA, Calif. - Tyler Duncan chipped in from the fringe for eagle on the par-5 18th hole Friday to take the second-round lead in the season-opening Safeway Open.

Making his second career PGA Tour start, Duncan shot a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over defending champion Brendan Steele at Silverado Resort and Spa.

Duncan, the Web.com Tour graduate who shared the first-round lead with Steele and Tom Hoge, also had seven birdies and three bogeys to reach 13-under 131.

''It's crazy, it's nothing I could have ever dreamed of,'' said Duncan, whose only other PGA Tour event was as a regional qualifier in the 2015 U.S. Open. ''I don't think it's sunk in yet, to be honest. It's something I've dreamed about for a long time. I'm just happy to be playing here and to be in the lead is something special.''

Steele had six birdies and a bogey in a 67. He's 30 under is his past six rounds in the event.

''It was really a solid day, very similar to yesterday,'' Steele said. ''I hit a lot of good shots, rolled a lot of good putts and was able to watch Chesson go crazy.''

Chesson Hadley, who began the second round seven shots behind the leaders, broke the course record with a career-best 61 to get within two strokes. He parred the final two holes.

''It's just one of those days everything was going my way,'' said Hadley, the 2014 Puerto Rico Open winner who regained his tour card through the Web.com Tour. ''I was hitting great shots, good putts and got some good breaks. When you get that kind of momentum, things just go your way."


Safeway Open: Articles, photos and videos


He had an eagle, 10 birdies and a bogey. His previous career best was a 64 in the opening round of the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Zac Blair (66) and Tony Finau (65) were 9 under, and Graham DeLaet (67) and Brian Davis (66) were another stroke back.

''I just had a lot of good looks,'' said Blair, who doesn't have a bogey through 36 holes. ''I made 17 greens out there, left myself in some good spots, made a few of them and it was just kind of easy out there.''

Emiliano Grillo, who won the event two years ago, was 7 under after a 70

Phil Mickelson, seeking his first win in since 2013, shot his second 69 to reach 6 under.

''I expected to score a little bit better today, but I had some good chances today,'' said Mickelson, who had six birdies, one bogey and a double bogey. ''I drove it a lot better, I hit quite a few more fairways and gave myself some good birdie chances. But I let a few opportunities slide.''

Mickelson, playing in his 91st PGA Tour event since his last win, finished eighth in the tournament last year and has six straight rounds in the 60s at Silverado.

''A low round is out there,'' said Mickelson, who birdied three straight holes after double-bogeying the 14th - his fifth hole of the day. ''I feel like I'm getting close to it.''

John Daly, the two-time major winner who in May won his first PGA Tour Champions title and is playing via a sponsor exemption, birdied the 18th for second-round 69 to make the 1-under cut at 143. Daly had missed the cuts in his past 12 PGA Tour events.

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