Coetzee making late bid to join Match Play field

By Will GrayFebruary 8, 2014, 3:16 pm

George Coetzee will be eyeing more than just the winner's trophy Sunday during the final round of the Joburg Open in his native South Africa.

Following a 3-under 69, Coetzee sits among a tie for fifth through 54 holes, four shots behind co-leaders Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters as he looks to win for the first time on the European Tour. His results thus far mark a continuation of good form, as the 27-year-old notched top-five finishes in both Abu Dhabi and Qatar last month during the Tour's Desert Swing.

A second goal, though, may require a calculator. Coetzee entered this week at No. 73 in the latest world ranking, still with a chance to crack the field for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. While the top 64 players in Monday's ranking will qualify, the decision by a trio of top players - Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson - to skip the event extends the bubble down to No. 67 in the rankings. Coetzee will likely need a top-four finish Sunday to move into the top 67 and return to Dove Mountain for the third straight year.

Of course, Coetzee's results are not occuring in a vacuum and his ranking could be affected by the results at Pebble Beach. Namely, Ryan Palmer and Robert Garrigus are both tied for sixth through two rounds and could jump Coetzee in the rankings with a high finish; Palmer began the week at No. 81, while Garrigus started at No. 98.

Coetzee's possible rewards do not end with a plane ticket to Arizona, though. The Joburg Open also serves as part of the Open Qualifying Series, meaning that the top three players not already qualified will punch a ticket to the Open Championship this summer. Gregory Bourdy is the only player currently exempt to Royal Liverpool who will begin the final round inside the top 40, so it's likely that the three berths will go to the top three names on the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon. Coetzee has played in the season's third major each of the last three years, finishing a career-best 15th in 2011 at Royal St. George's.

Getty Images

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.


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.

Getty Images

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).

Getty Images

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.