Lexi leads, but Ko in rearview mirror in Indy

By Randall MellSeptember 7, 2017, 11:53 pm

Lexi Thompson is looking to make the most of what feels like the pole position at the inaugural Indy Women in Tech Championship.

And Lydia Ko is drafting nicely.

The LPGA’s first event at the Brickyard Crossings Golf Course, with the final four holes inside the 2.5 mile oval track that is home to the Indianapolis 500, was played on what racing fans would call a “fast track,” with Thompson leading the first round’s low scoring.

Thompson opened with a 9-under-par 63 Thursday, good for a one-shot lead on Kris Tamulis and Sandra Gal.

Ko is just two shots back as she seeks to shake a summer swoon and win for the first time in more than a year.

“It’s nice to get off to a really solid start,” Ko said. “I’ve been struggling the last few months, so it’s nice to be able to put myself in a different rhythm.”

Moriya Jutanugarn is also just two shots back.

Stacy Lewis, coming off an inspired victory at the Cambia Portland Classic, where she donated the entire first-place check ($195,000) to the relief effort helping her Houston hometown recover from Hurricane Harvey, was off to another fine start until making triple bogey at the 16th, one of those four holes inside the oval. She opened with a 72.

Those four holes have captured the players’ attention.

“It’s cool, it’s funky,” Gal said. “I really do like the course. It has really good challenges off the tee and the greens, and it’s cool being inside the track. It’s just so big. It’s unbelievable to be in there.”

Full-field scores from the Indy Women in Tech

The event was originally scheduled as a 72-hole tournament, but the LPGA announced earlier this year that it would be trimmed to 54 holes, with a Saturday finish that would give players more time to travel to the year’s final major, next week’s Evian Championship. The change helped bolster the field’s strength.

Thompson’s 63 equaled her best score in the opening round of an LPGA event.

“It was just, overall, a very solid round,” Thompson said.

Thompson, No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, appeared to still be riding some Solheim Cup momentum. The last time golf fans saw her, she was mounting a memorable comeback against Europe’s Anna Nordqvist in Sunday singles. After losing the first four holes, Thompson ended up halving the match.

The rally left an imprint on Thompson.

“That round definitely gave me the confidence that I can make those birdies if I just let it go and fire at pins and just commit to my shots and don’t doubt,” Thompson said. “That’s how golf is. It’s a lot about confidence and just committing to yourself and believing in yourself, something I’m learning along the way.”

Thompson made 11 birdies against two bogeys. She is seeking her eighth LPGA title, her second this season. She won the Kingsmill Championship in May.

Ko opened with a round of seven birdies and no bogeys. It’s been an off year for the 14-time LPGA winner and former Rolex world No. 1. She is coming off missed cuts in two of her last three starts.

“It was a fun day,” Ko said. “Made a really good putt on the last to make an up and down for that 7 under. So, hopefully, I’ll take this momentum into tomorrow.”

Ko was solid, hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 16 greens in regulation while taking 28 putts.

“Consistency is something that I was kind of lacking the past few months, so I’ve been working hard on that,” Ko said. “It kind of showed today. So, I’m hopeful that will carry on. Fingers crossed.”

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.