Five Share Lead at KLM Open

By Sports NetworkJune 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourHILVERSUM, Netherlands -- Five players share the lead after Thursday's first round of the KLM Open at Hilversumsche Golf Club.
Paul Broadhurst, Guido Van der Valk, Adam Groom, Henrik Nystrom and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, are knotted in first after opening with rounds of 4-under-par 66.
Former European Ryder Cupper Pierre Fulke shot a 3-under 67 and is tied for sixth place with Raymond Russell and Markus Brier.
Broadhurst opened with a pair of birdies, then parred the next four holes. He collected his third birdie of the round at seven to make the turn at 3-under 32.
The 39-year-old Englishman dropped his first shot of the round at the 11th, but rebounded with a birdie at 12. Broadhurst bogeyed 16, but ran home a 25-foot birdie putt at the 17th. He reached the fringe in a two at the par-5 closing hole and two-putted for birdie and a share of the lead.
'Although I have been consistent recently, I was a little bit disappointed with Italy and the Forest of Arden because I got up there after a couple of days, but then fell away both times,' said Broadhurst, who won the Open de Portugal in April. 'We are just trying to get it a little more consistent but, with anything new, it feels a little bit odd.'
Van der Valk, the only Dutchman among the leaders, was only 1 under par through his first 11 holes. He recorded four birdies in a five-hole span from the 12th to take the lead at minus-5.
Van der Valk, who has been playing mostly on the Asian Tour this season, bogeyed the 18th hole to fall into the group at 4 under par.
'Of course, it is nice to play in front of your friends and family,' said Van der Valk. 'It is great. I live about 35 minutes north of here which means I can stay at home. It is great to stay at home for a week because we travel so much that it is great to sleep in your own bed for a week.'
Groom, a Challenge Tour member, had a much more up-and-down round than his co-leaders. The Australian completed his front nine at 1 under par, but his second nine featured only three pars.
Groom tallied three birdies, two bogeys and an eagle to grab his share of first.
'It was great today and I putted really well,' he said. 'I missed a short one at the last, but that was about my only mistake. If I hadn't putted so well I would have probably shot about level par. That was the reason.'
Fernandez-Castano, who along with Nystrom, teed off later than their co-leaders on Thursday, was 2 over after his front nine. He polished off his second nine in 29, including six birdies and one at the last.
'I played solid enough golf on the front nine, but I just made a few mistakes,' said Fernandez-Castano. 'But on this course you have to be really patient and see how it goes because if you are able to hit a few fairways in a row, you can make some birdies as I showed, but I was a little lucky too.'
Nystrom took sole possession of the lead with only three holes to play in the first round. He dropped back-to-back shots at 16 and 17 to fall to minus-3.
Nystrom birdied the last to get into the logjam in the lead.
Maarten Lafeber, the first local winner in 56 years when he titled in 2003, Joakim Backstrom, Robert-Jan Derksen, Marcus Fraser, James Heath, Fredrik Henge, Ben Mason, Damien McGrane, Mark Roe, Johan Skold, Kyron Sullivan and Benoit Teilleria are knotted in ninth at minus-2.
Defending champion David Lynn shot an even-par 70 and is tied for 36th place.
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.