Lang wins Open playoff after Nordqvist penalty

By Will GrayJuly 10, 2016, 11:54 pm

Another USGA championship, another event marred by a rules infraction. Here's how things ended up at the U.S. Women's Open, where a late penalty helped Brittany Lang win her first career major:

Leaderboard: Brittany Lang (-6, won three-hole aggregate playoff), Anna Nordqvist (-6), Lydia Ko (-4), Sung-Hyun Park (-4), Amy Yang (-4), Eun-Hee Ji (-4), Stacy Lewis (-3)

What it means: Nordqvist started the final round six shots off the pace, but she rocketed to the top of the standings with a bogey-free 67. Lang held sole possession of the lead until a three-putt bogey on No. 17, leading to a three-hole playoff. Things took a turn on the second extra hole when Nordqvist received a two-shot penalty for grounding her club in a fairway bunker, turning a par into a double bogey and giving Lang the victory with an easy par on the third hole of the aggregate playoff. Lang won the playoff by three strokes. She made three pars, while Nordqvist made par, double bogey, bogey.

Round of the day: Nordqvist was blemish-free through her first 19 holes, which will normally distinguish a player on a USGA layout. The Swede carded three birdies along with an eagle on the par-5 15th, and she seemed to be on cruise control until USGA officials informed her on the third extra hole that she had incurred the decisive, two-shot penalty.

Best of the rest: Lang appeared unfazed by the pressures of a major championship, with four birdies sprinkled against three bogeys en route to a 1-under 71. That included a lengthy birdie putt on No. 16 that gave her the lead, and Lang coolly strung together three straight pars in overtime. After finishing T-2 at this event in 2005 as an amateur, she now has her maiden major title.

Biggest disappointment: The seemingly unflappable Ko finally flinched. Starting the day with a one-shot lead, she followed a bogey on No. 8 with a sloppy double on the next hole after her attempted layup on the par-5 found a hazard. She wasn't able to get much going on the back nine as her trio was put on the clock on the 12th hole, and after carding a 3-over 75 the world No. 1 missed the playoff by two shots, having squandered what seemed like an ideal opportunity to add to her major trophy haul.

Shot of the day: Nordqvist's approach to the second extra hole didn't appear decisive in real time, but the two-shot penalty that the Swede incurred by touching a few grains of sand proved to be the difference between victory and defeat.

Quote of the day: "As a young American girl, this is what you dream of. You dream of winning tournaments, but the U.S. Women's Open, this is everything." - Lang

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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

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.