Tom Watson shoots 64 leads Senior Players by four

By Associated PressOctober 4, 2009, 12:17 am
Champions Tour

TIMONIUM, Md. – Tom Watson is feeling good and likes his golf game these days.

The 60-year-old Watson celebrated his one-year anniversary from successful left hip surgery by shooting a 6-under 64 and building a four-stroke lead Saturday at the Senior Players Championship.

Watson, bidding to become the oldest major winner on the Champions Tour, attacked the Baltimore Country Club course and put together a bogey-free round – he’s made only one during the tournament – with six birdies to finish at 12-under 198 and four shots clear of Loren Roberts (65), John Cook (65) and Mark Wiebe (66).

Watson nearly won the British Open back in July, but a balky putter on the 72nd hole cost him the Claret Jug. Now, Watson said he’s more confident on the greens and, three months removed from his dramatic performance at Turnberry, happy about his play.

He’s also healthier. Last season, Watson walked with a limp and had trouble sleeping because of pain in his hip. After the surgery, Watson said he immediately saw results.

“I heard a lot of good things about hip replacement, people getting great results and having more flexibility, more range of motion,” he said. “I can get up on a horse, over a fence, all kinds of things now. It is something, to think you’ve got this metal, ceramic piece of merchandise in there. It works so well, I hope it lasts a long time.”

Watson started the round with a two-shot lead over Wiebe and Jay Haas (7-under 203) and birdied three holes on the front nine to get to 9 under. Three more birdies and a key par save on the par-3 11th hole put Watson into the lead. It also drew praise from his competitors.

“Tom’s played three great rounds,” said Cook, who carded six birdies and one bogey to stay close. “We’ve got our work cut out for us, no doubt.”

Cook’s lone blemish came on No. 18, one of the most difficult holes on the course.

“I didn’t lose a lot to the field by making bogey there, although you don’t want to give Tom Watson four shots,” he said. “That’s a pretty tall order.”

Cook, Wiebe and Roberts are in contention thanks to good putting days, too. Wiebe made five birdies and a par on 18 to give him a chance in the final round. As for Roberts, the 2007 Senior Players champion, he credited a solid third round to the notion of playing in the final group once again.

Two years ago Roberts, paired with Watson and Fred Funk, crafted a 5-under 30 on the front nine and pulled away from the field to win his third career Champions Tour major title.

“We’re going to have to really go hard the first six holes tomorrow. It’s going to be the pedal to the metal on that one,” said Roberts, who birdied 10, 11 and 12 to finish with six on the day. “Tom will be really hard to catch. He’s got a healthy hip now and obviously he’s playing really good.”

Watson seemed relaxed Saturday, chatting off and on with playing partner Wiebe about non-golf related topics such as college football and his hometown pro team, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Afterward, Wiebe told a television reporter that Watson had just played one of the best rounds he’d ever seen. If Watson puts together another quality performance Sunday, it could add up to his sixth major title on the Champions Tour.

“If I drive the ball in the fairway, I should do OK,” Watson said. “I’m pretty happy with the way I’m putting, and that’s the first time I can say that in a long time. That’s what I’ve been looking for.”

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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
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.