South Korea's S.H. Park races to LPGA lead

By Associated PressJune 24, 2017, 1:11 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Sung Hyun Park has said one of her goals this season is to win the LPGA Rookie of the Year award.

The South Korean might add the title of ''winner'' to her resume well before any season-ending awards, particularly after opening the NW Arkansas Championship with an 8-under 63 on Friday.

Park finished with nine birdies on her way to nearly matching the course record of 62, needing only 24 putts to take a two-shot lead over Mel Reid, Ally McDonald and So Yeon Ryu.

''My play was best with the putter today, very good,'' Park said.

Reid also reached as low as 8 under midway through her round, making a hole-in-one on the par-3 11th. She used a 9-iron on the 135-yard hole, hitting it just past the flag before it spun back and rolled into the hole.

''As soon as I hit it, I thought, 'Oh, it's got a chance,''' Reid said.

Local favorite Stacy Lewis and 56-year-old Juli Inkster were at 66 along with Felicity Johnson, Moriya Jutanugarn and Katherine Kirk. Defending champion and second-ranked Lydia Ko opened with a 70

The 34-year-old Park won seven times and was the top earner last year on the Korean LPGA tour, but she also played in seven LPGA events with an eye on making the move to the U.S. She has finished in the top 10 four times this year, nine times in her 19 total LPGA appearances.

All that is lacking to solidify her rapid rise into the ranks of the LPGA's elite is a victory, possibly this weekend in advance of next week's KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

''I wasn't really surprised to see how well (Park) is (playing),'' fellow South Korean Ryu said. ''Even last year, she played a few LPGA tournaments as a non-member, but she would finish top-five, top-10. I think she is a really great golfer, and it's a matter of how comfortable she is on the tour.''

Park played in the humid and overcast conditions during the morning at Pinnacle Country Club, avoiding a 46-minute weather delay and gusty conditions during the afternoon.

She entered the tournament fourth in the LPGA in driving distance, and she lived up to that Friday, booming 290-yard drives on the 7,001-yard course.

Ryu was the only player in the afternoon to come within two shots of Park's morning round, capping her round by reaching the par-5 18th in two and two-putting for her sixth birdie and a bogey-free round.

''I had two weeks off and was really fresh to play,'' Ryu said. ''I think was everything was really smooth from start to end, and it feels really great to be back.''

Former world No. 1 Ai Miyazato shot a 72 in her first round in the U.S. after announcing last month that she plans to retire at the end of the season.

Michelle Wie opened with a 68.

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 was the low amateur at the 2014 Aussie Open, 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:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.