Davison Leads Tough Day at Sun City
Davison signed for a round of 4-under-par 68 at the Lost City Golf Club to lead by one over the trio of German Sven Struver, Jean Hugo and Chris Williams, who also all played the Lost City course on Thursday. The first two rounds of the tournament are played on both the Lost City and Gary Player Country Club courses, with the final two rounds played solely at the Gary Player Country Club course.
But on a day when both courses took their toll on the field, the Lost City layout yielded far more easily than Gary Players other collection of fairways down the road. The leading score there was 2-under-par 70, held by a collection of players including Nick Price, twice a winner of this event.
Nicholas Lawrence crumbled to an 11 on the par-5 18th, which traditionally plays as the ninth but the nines have been switched for this event, and Lebo Ramukosi signed for a 12 on the same hole. Veteran professionals Nico van Rensburg and Justin Hobday were other more surprising victims of the Gary Player Country Club course.
Van Rensburg, who was in contention for the South African Airways Open, signed for a first round of 82, while Hobday carded an uncharacteristic 85 including a back nine of 48. Only 15 players managed to break par on Thursday. Of those, only five came from the Gary Player Country Club course.
But thats not to say it was a walk in the park for the likes of Davison and company at the Lost City course. If you miss the fairways here, weve got a golf competition on our hands because the ball just disappears in the kikuyu. If youd offered me a 68 at 5:30 this morning, I would have gladly taken it, Davison said. The greens were a bit slow which will make things tough on us in the second round because we go from these slow greens to the much quicker ones at the Gary Player Country Club for the second round.
Davison, who last week claimed a hole-in-one during the dunhill championship at Houghton, came close to two holes-in-one during his round on Thursday. At the par-3 13th Davisons 7-iron pitched once and hit the back of the cup, rolling back to 12 feet from where he made birdie. He used the same club on the par-3 15th, with the ball finishing inches form the cup for a tap-in birdie there.
Im going to have to re-grip that club I used it so much today, said Davison, whose last and only win on the Tour since 1994 was in the 1999 Vodacom Players Championship at Royal Durban Golf Club.
Rd. 1 Scores:
68 - Chris Davison
69 - Sven Struver (GER), Chris Williams (ENG), Jean Hugo
70 - Joachim Backstrom (SWE), Albert Kruger, Brett Liddle, Callie Swart, Nick Price, Grant Muller
71 - Adilson da Silva (BRA), David Frost, Warrick Druian, Omar Sandys, Bradford Vaughan
72 - Alan Michell, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Darren Fichardt, Etienne Bond, Andr Bossert (SUI), Mark Mouland (WAL), Doug McGuigan (SCO), Andrew McLardy, Louis Oosthuizen, Keith Horne, Andrew Butterfield (ENG)
73 - Scott Dunlap (USA), Wickus Myburgh, Marco Gortana, Bobby Lincoln, Dean van Staden, Steve van Vuuren, Ben Mason (ENG), Dijon Tintinger; Sean Ludgater, Titch Moore, Wallie Coetsee, Stuart Manley (WAL), Bruce Vaughan, Michiel Bothma
74 - Kevin Stone, Alan McLean (SCO), Vaughn Groenewald, Robbie Stewart, Gerlou Roux, Johan Edfors (SWE), Divan van den Heever, James Hepworth (ENG), David Dixon (ENG), John Mashego, Shaun Norris, Henk Alberts, Craig Lile, Niki Ferrari (GER)
75 - Derek Crawford (SCO), Simon Hurd (ENG), Obed Sithole, Mawonga Nomwa, Shane Pringle (ZIM), William Morgan (ENG), Thomas Aiken, Roger Wessels, Ulrich van den Berg, Sandeep Grewel (ENG), Nikki Zitny (AUT), Richard Mudd (US), Mike Michel
76 - Schalk van der Merwe (NAM), Dougie McCabe, Nico Le Grange, James Kamte, Mike Lamb (ZIM), Cliffie Howes, Andr Cruse, David Carter (ENG), Ian Palmer, Desvonde Botes, Ciaran McMonagle (IRL), Ryan Reid, Mark Murless, Makhosonke Mlotshwa, Steve Basson, Lindani Ndwandwe, Richard Sterne, Michael Kirk, Joseph Daley (US), Bafana Hlophe, Barry Painting (ZIM)
77 - Steven Waltman, Michael Scholz, Anil Shah (KEN), Gary Thain, Travis Frazer (ZIM), Lee Slattery (ENG), Colm Moriarty (IRE), Des Terblanche, Nicolas Lawrence, Sean Farrell (ZIM), Marc Cayeux (ZIM), Bradley Davison, Ian Kennedy, Ian Hutchings, Nic Henning, Deon Fourie
78 - John Bele, Jeff Inglis (ENG), Sammy Daniels, Jean van Zuydan, Thabang Simon
79 - Lewis Atkinson (ENG), Johan Geldenhuys, Brandon Pieters, Alexander Mogridge, Tyrol Auret, Clinton Whitelaw, Hennie Walters
80 - Alain Norris, David Ryan, Padraig Dooley (IRE)
81 - Michael McGill, Stevie Phytides, Wilhelm Winsnes
82 - Nico van Rensburg
83 - Gavan Levenson
85 - Justin Hobday, Teboho Sefatsa
86 - Eddie Lombard, Stephen Moloi
87 - Forster Sikolobo, Jason Jackson (ZIM)
88 - Irvin Mosate, Lebo Ramukosi
89 - Peter Msiza DSQ - Eugen Marugi, Ashley Roestoff
South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team
South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.
Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.
Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.
Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.
So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.
Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.
The fourball results:
LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def. Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.
LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.
KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee
LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.
NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.
Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer
In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.
The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.
Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.
“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”
Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.
Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.
This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.
Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.
Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.
The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.
Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”
Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”
The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.
First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.
“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”
A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.
“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.
For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.
Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.
“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”
Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?
“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”
Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.
Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.
Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.
Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.
“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”
Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.
While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.
Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ
Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET
An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.
Here are some other social media posts that have surfaced:
Trump Jupiter Tiger, Johnson, Faxon,Trumps staff &team treats everyone the best, members and media guests alike, FACT pic.twitter.com/TB61q7Qe3y— Dr. Eric Kaplan (@drekaplan) November 24, 2017
Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
After Turkey call I will be heading over to Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, to play golf (quickly) with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. Then back to Mar-a-Lago for talks on bringing even more jobs and companies back to the USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017
Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.
Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong
HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.
Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.
''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''
Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.
Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.
''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''
Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).
''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''