Strong Start for Ochoa in Portland

By Associated PressAugust 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
Safeway Classic Logo 2007PORTLAND, Oregon -- Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was a shot back of leaders Sophie Gustafson and rookie Ji-Young Oh after the first round of the Safeway Classic on Friday.
 
Ochoa, who has won the past two tournaments, threw up her arms after making a long birdie putt on the par-4 18th hole to finish the day with a 5-under 67.
 
Oh and Gustafson each had 66s on the course at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.
 
Ochoa won the Canadian Women's Open in Edmonton, Alberta, last week. It was her second straight victory and fifth of the season. Her previous victory at the Women's British Open was her first major title.
 
'I'm going to try very hard to get three in a row,' said Ochoa, who is from Mexico. 'That would be very special.'
 
Ochoa finished the day with six birdies and a bogey. She made a 25-foot putt from the fringe on the 18th.
 
'To be honest, I was confused,' she said. 'It's not that I hit the ball bad, I was just confused with the greens. I couldn't get it adjusted.'
 
The 19-year-old Oh, from South Korea, had never shot a round that low.
 
'It's the first time,' she smiled. 'I'm so very happy.'
 
Oh sparred a bit with caddie Doug Wilbur over the length of her seven birdie putts. She estimated one, on the par-5 10th hole, at three feet. But he said it was more like seven.
 
'That's how well she's putting,' Wilbur said. 'Everything looks so close.'
 
Leta Lindley and Angela Stanford were two shots back of the leaders with 68s.
 
Michelle Wie, playing in Portland on a sponsor's exemption, continued her struggles this season with a 79. Wie has made the cut just once in four previous appearances this year on the tour.
 
The 17-year-old has had trouble with her left wrist, but played down the injury's impact on her round, saying she was a bit sore 'but not bad.'
 
Defending champion Pat Hurst was 5 over on the 6,377-yard course near the Portland airport, where temperatures climbed into the mid-80s on Friday.
 
The biggest gallery followed a group that included Hall of Famers Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Nancy Lopez.
 
Webb had the best round of the group with a 70, while Inkster shot a 75 and Lopez was among those in last place with an 82.
 
Lopez, who has 48 tour victories, is playing in her fifth tournament in a comeback bid. She has yet to make a cut. But she has won three times in Portland over her career.
 
Ochoa also had a large contingent of fans in her gallery, including a pair that carried a large Mexican flag. A sponsor's group of some 150 fans traveled from Guadalajara to watch her.
 
'It was like playing at home,' she said.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Safeway Classic
  • 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.”

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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