Late-Surging OMalley Takes Title in England
Peter O'Malley talks about his win
OMalley fired a gorgeous final round 66 over the Marriott Forest of Arden to end at 13-under-par 275, one stroke better than Frances Raphael Jacquelin (70) and two better than Adam Scott, who struggled Sunday with a 73.
Entering the final day, Jacquelin was looking to become the first back-to-back French winner in European Tour history, after his countryman Thomas Levet took the Victor Chandler British Masters last week, while Scott ' the young Australian who has been so much compared to the World No. 1 Woods ' was searching for his second win this season.
Everyone seemed to have a story developing. Everyone, that is, except OMalley.
Starting the day at minus-seven and five shots back of leader Scott, OMalley wasnt even given a remote shot to win, and after he had made the turn in a rather boring 1-under 35, nothing had changed much.
But just then, the 35-year-old Australian suddenly got his game in gear, birdieing the 10th and 11th, and then eagling the par-5 12th. Another birdie at No. 14, and the two-time winner on the tour was suddenly at minus-13.
In the meantime, Scotts once pristine game had tuned sour, as the long-bombing 20-year-old bogied three of his first six holes. He managed to recover some of his lost ground with birdies at Nos. 7 and 12, but another bogey at the 13th, combined with OMalleys superb run, and the younger Aussie had quickly fallen two back, where he would stay for the duration of the round.
I just played badly today, said Scott. I didnt make any putts. It is disappointing but I am sure I will have another chance.
In the end on Sunday, it was only Jacquelin who had any sort of a chance of catching OMalley.
Entering the par-4 16th, the smooth-swinging Frenchman was just one shot back of OMalley at 12-under, and faced a 35-foot left-to-right swinging putt for birdie. Needing just to get it close so as not to lose any ground, the three-time winner on the Challenge Tour promptly rolled the ball into the cup for birdie and a tie of the lead.
However, on the difficult finishing par-3 18th, Jacquelin hit his tee shot short and into a bunker. He blasted out to 10 feet past the hole, and then missed his par attempt which would have forced a sudden-death playoff.
I enjoyed being in contention very much, stated a contented Jacquelin. If someone had said at the start of the week that I would be second then I would have been very happy.
For OMalley, this win marks his third victory in 12 years on the tour. While his last came at the 1995 Benson and Hedges International Open, his inaugural occurred at the 92 Scottish Open at Gleneagles, when he fired another low round on the last day ' a 62 which beat out Colin Montgomerie by 2 shots.
He commented on the similarities of the two rounds: On that occasion I didnt see anyone else finish because I was told no one could beat me, but I was watching this time. Certainly my run from the eighth to the 14th was similar golf to that tournament.
Speaking of Montgomerie, the big Scot withdrew this week because of a bad back. While initial word had it that he might miss next weeks U.S. Open at Southern Hills, the latest is saying that he was back on the practice range Sunday and feeling much better. He is expected to make the trip to Tulsa.
Darren Clarke is another who will certainly venture to the States next week. The two-time defending champion of this English Open is finding some good form as well. He did not make it three-in-a-row this week, but did record a respectable finish of fifth at 7-under.
Young Englishman Justin Rose did not fare quite as well. Hanging around the top of the leaderboard all week, Rose blew up Sunday at the Forest of Arden with a 79 to finish at level-par for the tournament.
Full-field scores from the English Open
Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
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.”
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
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:
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.
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.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
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.
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).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18