Big Names Trailing in China

By Sports NetworkApril 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Volvo China OpenBEIJING, China -- France's Michael Lorenzo-Vera posted a 5-under-par 67 Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over seven players after one round of the China Open.
 
New Zealand Open winner Richard Finch leads a pack of players at minus-4, and is joined in second place by Simon Griffiths, Jason Knutzon, Chao Li, Joost Luiten, Damien McGrane and Zane Scotland.
 
Lorenzo-Vera stumbled out of the gate with a bogey on the first, but he bounced right back to birdie the second.
 
He moved into red figures with a birdie on the par-3 sixth at Beijing CBD International Golf Club, and a birdie on the ninth helped him turn in minus-2.
 
Lorenzo-Vera, who was the top player on the Challenge Tour last year, moved within one of the lead with a birdie on the 11th. He gained a piece of the top spot when his birdie effort on the 14th found the bottom of the cup.
 
The Frenchman birdied the par-5 closing hole to take the outright lead. This is the first time in his brief European Tour career that Lorenzo-Vera has held the lead after any round.
 
Lorenzo-Vera admits that he is still adjusting to the regular tour.
 
'I am just learning on the season,' admitted Loreonzo-Vera. 'I like to learn in competition, that's the best way to learn. We have a very good group, the French caddies and players. They all tell me to be calmer and more confident in my game.
 
'When I first came out, I was on the practice range and saw Vijay Singh and Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson and I was thinking 'where is my game?' I just have to be more confident in what I am doing. That's what I am trying to do.'
 
Griffiths had a flying start with birdies on two, five and six. He kept rolling as he holed a five-wood from 200 yards out for eagle on the par-four seventh to jump to 5 under.
 
After birdies on eight and 11, Griffiths was in the lead at 7 under. However, he stumbled to three straight bogeys from the 13th to fall into a share of second.
 
Finch had an up-and-down round. He birdied the 10th, then made eagle on the 355-yard 11th. Finch dropped a shot on 12, but birdied the 13th.
 
A bogey on 14 dropped Finch to minus-2, but he atoned for the error with a birdie on 15. After five pars around the turn, he birdied the third then tripped to a bogey at five before a birdie at the eighth gave him a share second place.
 
Knutzon and Luiten each posted bogey-free rounds, while Li and McGrane each posted five birdies and a bogey. Meanwhile, Scotland collected six birdies and two bogeys.
 
Rafael Echenique, Jose-Filipe Lima, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Airil Rizman are tied for ninth place at 3-under-par 69. There are five more players one stroke further back at minus-2.
 
Defending champion Markus Brier is part of a large group tied for 18th at 1-under-par 71.
 
Four-time European Tour winner David Howell was tied for the lead late in his round before trouble struck. He played the back nine first and was 5 under through 13 holes. However, he stumbled to bogeys on six and eight before faltering to a triple-bogey on the par-5 ninth to end at even-par 72.
 
'Five under would have been miraculous, 3 under great, but level is disastrous,' Howell stated.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Volvo China Open
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.