Teen Star Wins 4th Futures Tour Event of 08
Hurst, winner of four events in eight entries, claimed the top prize of $11,200 and finished the tournament with a three-round total of 209 (-7).
She won by eight shots over special invitee Natalie Sheary (71) of West Hartford, Conn., an amateur and sophomore at Wake Forest University, who is close friends with Hurst. Sheary finished her second event with the Duramed FUTURES Tour at 219 (+1) after tying for 19th in last years CIGNA Golf Classic.
With wins in McAllen, Texas, Decatur, Ill., and Hammond, Ind., Hurst became the first player to win four events in a season since LPGA Tour pro Song-Hee Kim earned five victories in 2006. Hurst was the only player to finish under par for the tournament and joined Sheary and Jenny Suh of Fairfax, Va., as the three players to finish with an under-par final round.
Hurst came into Sundays round two shots back to rookie M.J. Hur (81) of Seoul, South Korea, who retained the lead through the first two rounds. But just as it was on Saturday, when she saw a five-stroke lead shrink to a two-shot advantage, Hur struggled from the start on Sunday with two bogeys on her first three holes and three consecutive bogeys on holes nine through 11.
Hurs first shot of the day was pulled left, and after saving par on her first hole, she was unable to put together any momentum during the day. Hurs errant drives along with a two-stroke penalty for removing sand to improve her lie on the 13th hole erased hope of her second career Tour victory.
The wind didnt bother me that much today, but I just couldnt do anything right, Hur said.
Just like the swirling winds Hurst overcame in Hammond, Ind., she mastered the problematic gusts that plagued the field on Sunday. Still, the rookie would not say the wind was worse than Saturdays gusts.
I just tried to focus on my own game today, Hurst said. Ive been hitting the ball really well all week and I wanted to put it to good use when it counted.
Hurst took the lead for the first time on the front nine with a birdie on the sixth hole and rolled home a 55-foot birdie putt to extend her lead to three shots. She led by as many as six shots, adding a birdie on the 11th hole. She spun her approach shot with backspin within five feet on the par-4 18th hole, setting the stage for her final birdie putt.
Next up for the 18-year-old Hurst is the LPGA State Farm Classic next week in Springfield, Ill., an exemption from her victory at the Michelob ULTRA Duramed FUTURES Players Championship in Decatur, Ill., the Tours major championship. Hurst didnt feel any extra pressure knowing she will be absent from the Tour next week in Syracuse, N.Y.
I go out there and treat every tournament the same, Hurst said. I just wanted to focus on my game.
Hurst will be wearing one of her signature Kangol hats stitched with the Duramed logo next week and gave fans a glimpse by wearing it during Saturdays second round.
Ive never worn something that someone has asked me to wear, Hurst said. When Im out there wearing it, Ill be proud of the Duramed FUTURES Tour for supporting me.
Sheary entertained Hurst at her home earlier this week, saying when theyre together, golf is the last thing they talk about. The friends couldnt have scripted the results any better, and were proud of the fact that they shared the top two spots on the leaderboard.
Im so proud of Vick because shes won three and is on her to way to number four, said Sheary after finishing her round. I hit the ball the same all three days, and other than a mess on 16 yesterday, I thought I played the course pretty smart.
The Duramed FUTURES Tour moves on to Syracuse, N.Y., next week for the Alliance Bank Golf Classic, set for July 18-20.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
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.
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).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open
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.
Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins
Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.
A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.
The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.
In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.
In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.
“The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”
The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.
According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”
The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.
A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.