McIlroy misses out on course record, shoots 64

By Will GrayMay 13, 2016, 10:07 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Much like his approach shot on his final hole, Rory McIlroy’s bid for a new course record at TPC Sawgrass came up just short. But it was still good enough to vault the Ulsterman back into contention at The Players Championship.

In dire need of a low round, McIlroy put together an 8-under 64 on the Stadium Course, and at 8 under for the tournament he is in position to contend for his fourth straight top-10 finish at this event – and perhaps his first Players title.

“I knew that the course was going to play much easier than it did yesterday afternoon. This course really does play so much differently from morning to afternoon,” McIlroy said. “It could have been a couple lower, but it’s still, it’s a great round and hopefully it moves me up the leaderboard and hopefully I’m just not too far away going into the weekend.”


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McIlroy started his round on the back nine and began in style, with birdies on each of the first four holes he faced. He added a 55-foot eagle from the fringe on the par-5 16th to play his first seven holes in 7 under, and he made the turn in 29 to tie the back-nine scoring record set by Shane Lowry just the day before.

While McIlroy’s front- and back-nine splits at this tournament have widened with increasing disparity in recent years, he was able to finish his day by breaking par on the front side for the first time in six attempts.

But McIlroy left TPC Sawgrass in a bitter mood after closing out a torrid round with a disappointing bogey. He had only 90 yards for his approach to the par-5 ninth, knowing a birdie would set a new course record. Instead, that shot came up short, and after a difficult chip he was unable to salvage even a share of the existing record of 9-under 63.

“I might have left myself a little bit too close,” he said. “It was a tough shot with it being downwind and the pin so tight. I was trying to get really sort of cute with it, I guess, and I just hit it too easy.”

Despite the closing stumble, McIlroy was able to produce a low score when he needed it most, and he’s now lurking once again near the top of the leaderboard at the Tour’s flagship event.

“I’m disappointed, but there’s still two more days to go,” he said. “That’s the nice thing, I’m in a good position heading into the weekend, but it really depends on what the guys do this afternoon.”

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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.