Thompson leads Wie, Gustafson in Dubai

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2011, 1:33 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – American teenager Lexi Thompson has taken a two-shot lead after the second round of the Dubai Ladies Masters.

The 16-year-old Thompson, who is the youngest LPGA Tour winner, had six birdies en route to a bogey-free, 6-under 66 Thursday and 136 total.

“I just made a few more putts today,” Thompson said. “I hit it a little bit closer. I was just thinking ‘stay steady’ and playing consistent.”

Swedish veteran Sophie Gustafson (67) and Margherita Rigon (68) shared second place, while Julieta Granada and Becky Morgan trailed the leader by three shots.

Michelle Wie is four shots behind after a 67. The 22-year-old American, who is looking for her first win of the year, rallied after an opening-round 73. She had five birdies overall, including four on the back nine.

“I made a couple more putts,” Wie said. “I have two more days to try and shoot some more low scores.”

Overnight leader Lotta Wahlin of Sweden needed eight more strokes on Thursday, scoring a 74.

Thompson got her short game working after finishing 16th in the first round. She hit a lob wedge within 10 feet of the pin on the second hole and sent a 178-yard iron shot on the next hole within 15 feet to birdie both.

Thompson has started to match the hype that has surrounded her arrival on the tour, winning the Navistar LPGA Classic by five strokes in September.

A victory in Dubai would make her the second-youngest winner on the European Tour after Amy Yang of South Korea, who won the ANZ Masters in 2006 at 16 years, 191 days. That is just over five months younger than Thompson.

“This is such a great tournament and it would be an honor to win this,” Thompson said. “So I’m just going to try and take it easy and play one shot at a time.”

Wie also got her start on the LPGA Tour at 16 – turning pro two years ago.

However, she has struggled to meet expectations, winning only twice on the LPGA Tour and this year falling to 17th in the rankings because of nagging injuries and a drop in form.

On Thursday, Wie had a bogey-free round in the season-ending event and made several key birdie putts, including a 30-footer on No. 12.

“A little frustrated after the last two holes, but I kept steady out there today,” said Wie, who missed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18. “I’m still in contention, and going to go out there tomorrow, shoot another low round.”

Playing alongside Wie, the 38-year-old Gustafson is also looking for her first victory of the year. She was five shots back after the first day, but had five birdies in a bogey-free second round.

“I was striking the ball very well, so it feels good,” Gustafson said. “I was actually hitting the ball awful on Tuesday during the pro-am, but the Swedish coaches that are here this week from the Swedish Golf Federation helped me find my ball striking.”

Four-time major winner Laura Davies (81) continued to struggle in Dubai. The 48-year-old Englishwoman will miss the cut for the second week in a row.

She made an early exit at the Indian Open – only the fourth time she had missed a cut on tour – after her caddie failed to show up for the first round because of visa problems. She carried her own bag and shot 3 over the first day.

This week, Davies said her problems came down to poor play. Needing a sub-par round Thursday for any chance to play into the weekend, Davies had three bogeys and two double bogeys on the front nine to end her chances.

“I started nicely. Three-putted the first and had an eagle chance on 3 and just missed it,” Davies said. “On the fourth hole, I hit what I thought was a good chip and it went in the water. Triple bogey, 6 over. The cut is obviously going to be 1 or 2 (over) and that is a long ways back from there.”


Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

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 held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, 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: