Duke fires 65 that Knox calls 'best round of golf ever'

By Will GrayMay 15, 2016, 12:32 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – After feasting on soft conditions for the first two rounds of The Players Championship, many players bristled at the firm and fast layout that greeted them for the third round.

Don’t count Ken Duke among that group, though.

Duke is one of the shortest hitters on the PGA Tour, averaging only 276 yards per drive, and he struggles to keep up when conditions are soft. But when the course is slick and dried out, as TPC Sawgrass was on Saturday, Duke can’t help but grin.

“I think this is our championship, The Players, and it should be set up as difficult as possible,” he said. “The conditions today, it shows it. You have to play your best golf around here, and obviously the best players in the world are here.”

While the field averaged 75.8 shots for the round, Duke bettered the average by more than 10 shots. His 7-under 65 included only one dropped shot, while he reeled off five straight birdies on Nos. 3-7.

It vaulted Duke – who didn’t even start his third round on the front nine – from a tie for 56th into a tie for second, four shots behind Jason Day.

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It was a round that Rory McIlroy estimated was better than the 63s shot earlier this week on a softer golf course by Jason Day and Colt Knost, a sentiment echoed by the tournament leader.

“What course was Ken Duke playing today? Can anyone tell me? Was he playing across the road?” Day said. “I mean it was just, to be able to shoot that score is better – I think that should be the course record. It was just an absolute joke.”

“I looked up on the board and saw Ken Duke shot 65, and I was like, ‘What?’” added Russell Knox. “That’s the best round of golf ever, probably. It was incredible how hard it was out there.”

For Duke, the low round couldn’t have come at a better time. He is playing off a medical exemption after breaking his wrist in September, and his lone top-50 finish in nine starts this season came at the Honda Classic, where he finished T-37.

“I’ve been putting some good rounds together, but not putting four good rounds together,” he said.

Duke had even missed his last four cuts at TPC Sawgrass, but he played the third round alongside James Hahn – who showed last week in Charlotte just how quickly a player’s fortunes can change.

“That’s golf for you. We all know that,” Duke said. “You see it every week out here on the Tour. The big guys play good every week, but there’s those guys that put it all together.”

Duke appears to be among that latter group this week, and he now has a chance to add a second title to his resume after winning the Travelers Championship in 2013.

At age 47, Duke still feels he has plenty of game left, but he also expressed gratitude to simply be healthy and back inside the ropes and playing against the game’s best.

“I’m just thankful that I can play out here, and compete, and enjoy the ride,” he said. “I’m thankful for what I have and what this game has given me, and I just enjoy it.”

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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.


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

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.