Van Der Nest Tops Leaderboard in Zambia

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 16, 2001, 5:00 pm
South Africa's Graeme van der Nest finds himself at the top of the leaderboard for the second week running, sharing in a five-way tie for the first round lead of the Cock of the North tournament at the Ndola Golf Club on Friday.
 
Van der Nest, who was in contention for last week's Stanbic Zambia Open, opened with a round of 3-under par 70 to share the lead with countrymen John Bele and Andre Cruse, Zimbabwean Mike Lamb and Kenya's Peter Njiru.
 
Defending champion Titch Moore finished in a group of 10 golfers only one shot adrift of the leaders.
 
The first day of the R200,000 event tested the patience of the 53-strong field. The grainy greens of the par-73 Ndola golf course embarrassed some of the finest putters on the Sunshine Tour. Van der Nest three-putted two of his final three holes, one from as little as three feet.
 
'At the par-5 16th, I hit it left of the green for two and went on to three-putt from only three-feet. I three-putted 18 as well which is very frustrating. It's really tricky out there, but you've just got to stay positive,' said the Johannesburg professional.
 
Van der Nest's sublime form began in Lusaka last week, where he led the second round of the Stanbic Zambia Open. But two indifferent rounds on the weekend earned him a seventh-place finish behind winner Mark Barry Foster.
 
'I was disappointed with my finish in Zambia,' he said. 'I hit the ball really well, and my game is slowly coming back. Hopefully I can follow through on the weekend this time. It wasn't a great round of golf, but at least I'm off to a fairly good start.'
 
Lamb managed to birdie his final four holes for a share of the lead, while Moore carded 16 pars and two birdies. Moore has Bobby Lincoln and Brett Liddle as two of his companions on 2-under par 71.
 
Zimbabwe's Nasho Kamungeremu enjoyed another solid start and is only two shots off the pace along with veteran John Mashego and talented Zambian amateur Madeliso Muthiya.
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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.