Van der Nest Leads Through Two in Zambia

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 9, 2001, 5:00 pm
Graeme van der Nest's determination to rediscover his winning form following a two-year absence from the game because of a cancerous tumor took another positive step in the second round of the Stanbic Zambia Open on Friday.
 
The Johannesburg professional carded his second successive 68 to lead the tournament by two strokes at 10-under-par 136 after the second round at the Lusaka Golf Club. Van der Nest's only victory on the Sunshine Tour came in the 1995 Sun City Classic before he was hospitalized with a tumour in his left leg, forcing a two-year absence from the game.
 
'It's been quite a dry patch since my last victory, but I'm back playing fulltime again and I'm playing some really solid golf,' Van der Nest said.
 
Only one shot off the lead overnight, Van der Nest produced a round of five birdies and an eagle, with two bogeys at the first and 15th holes.
 
'I'm hitting the ball really well. That's the secret to this course. You have to set yourself up with a good drive. I've also managed to hole a couple of putts which makes all the difference because the other guys seem to be struggling on these greens,' he said.
 
Van der Nest is fighting for his exemption on the Sunshine Tour this year.
 
'That's my priority at this stage. I need to get off to a good start so I can be exempt. I had a really frustrating summer tour because I had to pre-qualify for all the events. I managed to get into four of them, but made the cut in only one (the Zimbabwe Open),' he said.
 
Wallie Coetsee kept himself in contention with a 69 to move to 8-under 138 despite missing five four-foot putts during his round. 'I still can't seem to find my A game,' Coetsee said. 'I'm hitting the ball well, but my putter is letting me down.'
 
Swede Mattias Nilsson, who shared the first round lead with Ulrich van den Berg, also finished on 138 following his round of 71, while Van den Berg fell four shots off the pace after a level-par 73 on Friday.
 
The halfway cut was made at 1-over-par 147, with 61 professionals making it through to the weekend.
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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 25, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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Hahn jabs USGA over possible ball rollback

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 4:43 pm

As debate continues to heat up over possible sweeping changes to the golf ball amid distance concerns, PGA Tour pro James Hahn chimed in to question the merits of a potential rollback.

The ball and distance debate gained traction earlier this week when Jack Nicklaus offered that the ball should be rolled back to the approximate distances achieved in 1995, and he put blame for the current situation squarely at the feet of Titleist. That drew a response from former Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who put the onus back on the governing bodies.

It's an issue that will likely be discussed for months to come, but Hahn took to Twitter to throw a jab toward the USGA and play devil's advocate on some key arguments related to a possible rollback:

Hahn, who has two career PGA Tour wins and lost in a playoff last month at the Sony Open, ranks 55th on Tour this season in driving distance with an average of 301.2 yards off the tee.

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Na fires back over slow play criticism from cricketer

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 4:00 pm

Kevin Na fired back over recent criticism he received about his purported slow play at last week's Genesis Open.

Kevin Pietersen is a retired English cricketer with more than 3.6 million followers on Twitter. He tweeted a video of Na, known as one of the slower players on the PGA Tour, taking more than a minute to line up and hit what he described as a "Tap In" during the final round at Riviera:

He then added another video of himself on a green in Dubai, where he again called out Na and showed how long he believed it should take for a player to brush in a short putt:

Na has faced his fair share of slow play criticism, but this time he decided to defend himself. Na isn't on Twitter, but he took to Instagram to tell Pietersen to "stick to your own sport," pointing out both the length of the putt in question and the stakes that were involved during the final round, when Na went on to tie for second behind Bubba Watson:

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Pepperell wins his first European Tour title in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2018, 3:31 pm

DOHA, Qatar - Eddie Pepperell survived a tense finish to win the Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club on Sunday for his maiden European Tour title.

The 27-year-old Englishman held off a spirited challenge from compatriot Oliver Fisher, who needed a third successive birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff, but had his putt from six feet slip past the hole for a par.

Pepperell shot a 2-under-par 70 for a four-day tally of 18 under 270, while Fisher, who started the day tied for the lead, could only manage a 71.

Sweden's Marcus Kinhult (68) finished third at 16-under.

The No. 154-ranked Pepperell made things difficult for himself with a bogey on the 15th hole, but hit a superb wedge to three feet on the next to get back to 18 under again.

Fisher, who appeared to have fallen out of contention with three bogeys starting on the third hole, stormed back with birdies on the 14th, 16th and 17th holes.

On the last, Pepperell laid up with his second into the thick rough, made wet and unwieldy by rain in the Qatar capital, but found the green in three and two-putted for the win when Fisher missed his birdie putt.


Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


''I did the things I needed to do, I didn't play fantastic but I won ugly and for the first win to be ugly is good. Hopefully, I'll have some prettier ones in the future,'' said Pepperell.

''I knew I was playing well, especially tee to green, so I expected a lot of myself this week and I guess to pull it off is amazing. When Oli birdied the 17th, that was when it really caught up with me that I was only one ahead. I was in my own zone, I knew I had a couple of shots of lead but Oli did great. It was a tough front nine for him and I had to stay right in my own way and out of the two guys' way because they were struggling a bit and it's sometimes easy to get dragged into that.''

Fisher was disappointed, but saw the silver lining in the way he fought back.

''It went all the way to the last hole which, after my front nine, was what I was hoping for on the back nine,'' said Fisher, who won the 2011 Czech Open, but recorded his first top-three finish since the 2014 Africa Open.

''I hit a lot of good shots coming down the back nine and gave myself a lot of good chances, but there were just too many bogeys today, four in total, so you're never going to win a tournament making that many mistakes on a Sunday. But at least I pressed him all the way.''

Italian Renato Paratore (66) had the low round of the day and finished tied for fourth place at 15 under par, where he was joined by the Spanish pair of Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Pablo Larrazabal along with Gregory Havret of France.