Byrum Andrade Share Vegas Lead
After three consecutive rounds of 65 on three separate courses, Byrum stumbled to a fourth-round 3-under-par 69. Andrade, who began the day two shots back of Byrum, fired a bogey-free 67 to tie his counterpart at 24-under-par. Scott McCarron is just one off the 72-hole lead following a 66. Shaun Micheel tied the low round of the tournament, a 9-under-par 63, to climb to within two shots of Byrum.
Playing on the host course, the TPC at Summerlin, Byrum appeared to be headed for another spectacular round. The 15-year Tour veteran birdied three of his first four holes, and then added a fourth red number at the par-3 8th to move four strokes clear of the field at 25-under-par.
Following a bogey at the par-5 9th, Byrum steadied himself with four straight pars on the back nine, before regaining his form with a birdie at the 14th. Byrum carded his sixth, and final birdie of the day at the 16th to move to 26-under, but limped home bogey-bogey.
After making a 25-foot birdie putt at the 16th, Byrum three-putted the 17th and made a poor chip from off the green on the 18th.
'I just lost my feel,' said Byrum following his 5 -hour round. 'There was a little fatigue, and maybe my confidence went. I think I'll feel fresher tomorrow. It was hard to concentrate and focus on what I needed to do out there.
'But I'm still tied for the lead and have a chance to win the tournament. So I'm very happy about that.'
This is the first time Byrum has held at least a share of the lead entering the final round of a PGA Tour event since the 1989 Kemper Open. He went on to win that tournament for his first, and thus far, only Tour triumph.
All of the top- four players on the leaderboard are in dire need of a good finish this week. Byrum stands in 125th place on the money list. Andrade sits in the 159th position. McCarron is currently 123rd, while Micheel resides in 130th place.
The top 125 by season's end earn their 2001 PGA Tour playing privileges. There are two full-field events remaining after this week.
Next week, Phil Mickelson and Stewart Cink will be representing their country at the Presidents Cup in Lake Manassas, Va. This week, they're fine-tuning their games in Las Vegas.
Mickelson carded a Saturday 66 to move to 21-under-par for the tournament, three shots off the lead. Cink is just four back following a fourth-round 7-under-par 65. At 20-under, Cink is tied with Blaine McCallister for 6th place.
'If I can get to eight, nine or 10 under tomorrow, I might have a good shot,' Mickelson said.
It might not even take that.
Said Byrum: 'I wouldn't be surprised if (Andrade and I) were sitting there watching each other and somebody blows by us.'
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