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Leishman wins BMW Championship by five

By Nick MentaSeptember 17, 2017, 9:56 pm

Thanks to a final-round 67, Marc Leishman rode a five-shot 54-hole lead to a five-shot victory Sunday at the BMW Championship. Here’s how things played out at the second-to-last event of the PGA Tour season.

Leaderboard: Leishman (-23), Justin Rose (-18), Rickie Fowler (-18), Jason Day (-16), Matt Kuchar (-15), Jon Rahm (-15)

What it means: This is Leishman’s third PGA Tour victory and his second this year following his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. Up five to start the final round, Leishman ceded ground at different points throughout the day and saw his lead shrink to just two shots on two separate occasions on the back nine, as Rose gave charge. But each time the lead slipped to two, Leishman responded with a birdie, at the 15th and 16th holes, to pad his cushion and pave his walk to the winner’s circle. The victory moves Leishman to fourth in the FedExCup standings, meaning he would be guaranteed to claim the FedExCup and its $10 million prize with a follow-up win next week at the Tour Championship.

Who advanced to East Lake: Four players who started the week outside the top 30 are now heading to season finale. They are Tony Finau (39th to 24th), Sergio Garcia, (34th to 25th), Xander Schauffele (32nd to 26th), and Patrick Cantlay (41st to 29th). Jason Dufner dropped five spots from 25th but held on to the 30th and final position. Players who qualify for the Tour Championship are automatically exempt into the following year’s Masters, U.S. Open, and Open Championship.

Who did not: Four players moving into the top 30 meant that four players had to slide out. They are Louis Oosthuizen (24th to 31st), Henrik Stenson (26th to 32nd), Brendan Steele (27th to 33rd), and Bill Haas (30th to 35th). Other notables who saw their season come to an end on Sunday included Phil Mickelson (34th), Players champion Si Woo Kim (55th), and next week’s defending champion Rory McIlroy (58th). Mickelson missed the top 30 by a single shot. Had this pitch shot on the 72nd hole gone down, he would be on his way to East Lake.

Round of the day: Brooks Koepka and Kevin Na fired the rounds of the week with 8-under 63s. Koepka will move on to the Tour Championship, while Na will call it a season after finishing 45th on the points list.

Best of the rest: Finau, Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson carded 64s. Finau capped his round with a chip-in birdie at 18, guaranteeing him his first Tour Championship and Masters appearances.

Save of the day: Garcia needed upwards of 20 minutes to finish the 18th hole after finding the greenside creek with his second shot. Garcia – after a lengthy discussion with a rules official – was able to move his ball within the hazard without incurring a penalty stroke. He needed yet more relief one shot later from the grandstands. But an up-and-down from the rough resulted in a closing par and a trip to the Tour Championship.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

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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