Fore Things: Hadwin lurking in mix

By Will GrayMarch 17, 2017, 11:03 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – The weather is beginning to heat up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and so are the scores. Here are Fore Things that you should know heading into the weekend at Bay Hill, where Charley Hoffman holds a one-shot lead:

1. Jason Day working out the driver kinks. The world No. 2 is lurking just off the pace, tied for 13th after rounds of 70-71. The biggest issue through the first two rounds, according to Day, has been with the driver as off-center hits have led him to find only 16 of 28 fairways.

2. Course history matters. Francesco Molinari continues to feast on Bay Hill’s penal layout. The Italian moved into solo seventh place after a second-round 68 and is in line for what would be his fourth straight finish of T-17 or better in Orlando. For Molinari, it continues a recent stretch of overall form that includes eight top-20 finishes in his last nine worldwide starts dating back to a win in September at the Italian Open.

3. Or maybe it doesn’t. In four prior appearances at this event, Hoffman has missed three cuts and finished T-59 – so don’t feel bad if you left him off your fantasy roster. The veteran has corrected a few recent putting woes and poured in a pair of lengthy birdies en route to a second-round 66. He’s looking to win for the third straight season.

4. The honeymoon rolls on for Adam Hadwin. Hadwin received plenty of attention for winning the Valspar Championship last week, as well as his decision to bump his upcoming honeymoon to instead prepare for his first Masters. But the Canadian has kept up the momentum following his breakthrough victory and sits inside the top 10 at the halfway point after matching rounds of 2-under 70.

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

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.