Frances Jacquelin Leads in China

By Sports NetworkApril 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Volvo China OpenSHANGHAI, China -- France's Raphael Jacquelin stumbled to a pair of late bogeys, but still shot a 4-under 67 Friday at the Volvo China Open.
Jacquelin stands at 7-under-par 135 after 36 holes and is two shots clear of Adam Blyth. The Australian carded a matching 67 to move into second at minus-5.
Andres Romero and Scott Hend also posted rounds of 67 and share third place at 4-under-par 138.
Scotland's Simon Yates fired a 5-under 66, the low round of the week so far, to jump from 41st place into fifth place at 3-under-par 139.
Jacquelin got off to a flying start at Shanghai Silport Golf Club. He opened on the back nine and birdied the 10th.
The Frenchman, whose lone tour win came at the 2005 Madrid Open, came right back with birdies on 11 and 12 to move to minus-6.
'When we started, it was dead calm,' said Jacquelin of the wind conditions. 'I was lucky enough to make three birdies at the start and I was playing really well.'
Jacquelin kept rolling as he birdied the 14th, then the 17th from 20 feet to get to eight-under. He climbed to 9 under as he birdied the fifth from 15 feet out.
However, trouble loomed down the stretch. The 32-year-old tripped to back-to- back bogeys from the seventh to slide back to minus-7.
'Like yesterday I made two bogeys at the end, but that is the game, especially on this course in these conditions,' admitted Jacquelin.
Blyth, playing in the last group of the afternoon wave, also started on the 10th tee. After three straight pars, he stumbled to a bogey on the par-4 13th.
The Australian bounced right back with birdies on each of the next three holes. Those birdies moved him to minus-3.
Around the turn, Blyth faltered with a bogey on the first for the second straight round, but turned it on down the stretch. He birdied the fifth and came right back with a birdie on the par-3 sixth.
Blyth moved within two of the lead courtesy of a birdie on the par-5 eighth, then parred the ninth, his last, to finish two back.
'Now, I want to enjoy the ride over the weekend,' Blyth stated. 'It's a nice position to be in, so I hope to have fun and stay positive, so we'll see how it goes.'
Markus Brier posted a 3-under 68 Friday to climb to 2-under-par 140. He stands alongside Christopher Hanell (70), Graeme McDowell (70) and Damien McGrane (69) in a tie for sixth place. Stephen Dodd, Richard Sterne, Richard Lee and Jean-Francois Lucquin are one stroke further back at minus-1.
Thomas Bjorn, the lone player in the field this week that played at the Masters last weekend, carded rounds of 70-72 and is tied for 14th at even-par.
Ming-Jie Huang, who shared the lead with Jacquelin after the opening round, stumbled to a five-over 76 and tumbled into a share of 25th at plus-two.
The cut line fell at 4-over-par 146. Of the 25 players from China who teed it up this week, six made the cut and 19 were sent packing. Ren Han, an 18- year-old amateur, was among those sticking around for the weekend.
Among those missing out on the weekend were Marcus Fraser, Andrew Marshall, Thaworn Wiratchant, Christian Cevaer, Marcel Siem and Barry Lane.
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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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    Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

    The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

    "As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

    Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

    Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.

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    Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

    But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

    Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

    That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

    A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

    “Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

    “Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

    “And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

    “So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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    McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

    After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

    McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1, leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

    Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

    8/1: Tiger Woods

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

    16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

    18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

    25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Alex Noren

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

    80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

    100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner