Gustaffson Leads Els Stumbles

By Sports NetworkDecember 10, 2004, 5:00 pm
European TourMALELANE, South Africa -- Sweden's Peter Gustafsson posted a 4-under 68 on Friday to take the lead midway through the dunhill championship. He stands at 7-under-par 137 and leads by two shots over four players at Leopard Creek Country Club.
Warren Abery (70), Des Terblanche (70), Neil Cheetham (71) and Oliver Whiteley (67) are knotted in second place at 5-under-par 139.
The two biggest stars, and highest finishers, after Thursday's first round struggled in Friday's afternoon tee times.
Bruce McDonald, a 23-year-old sponsor's invite from Zimbabwe, held the opening-round lead after a 6-under 66. He only managed a 4-over 76 on Friday and is part of a group tied for 18th place.
He birdied his first two holes, but bogeys at 10, 11, 12 and 14, and a double bogey at No. 15 dropped him down the leaderboard.
Ernie Els, a three-time winner who owns a house on the course, shot a 67 on Thursday, but only posted a 75 on Friday. He is one of the 10 players tied with McDonald at minus-2.
Els struggled with the driver at two of the par-5s on Leopard Creek's back nine. He put two balls in the water at the 13th en route to a double bogey, then drove out of bounds at 15 and carded another double bogey.
The No. 3 ranked player in the world failed to get up and down for par at the 16th. Els recovered with his second straight birdie at 18, but the three-time major winner is five off the lead.
Gustafsson, a 28-year-old who played primarily on the European Challenge Tour in 2004, started on the 10th hole Friday and birdied No. 11 for the second time in as many days.
He made a spectacular run around the turn with three consecutive birdies from the 17th. Gustafsson dropped a shot at the second, then knocked his approach to a foot at the third to set up birdie.
Gustafsson parred his final six holes to take the lead through two rounds. Not bad for the medalist at Q School last month and that was only after he missed his card by finishing one place outside the top-15 on the 2004 Challenge Tour money list.
'I've never led anything like this,' admitted Gustafsson. 'I've been leading on the Challenge Tour a few times and in Austria last year, but nothing like this.'
The group tied for second place took different paths to get there. Abery recorded four birdies and two bogeys for his 70, while Terblanche mixed six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey for his 2-under-par round.
Cheetham tallied four birdies and three bogeys on Friday, while Whiteley, who matched the lowest round of the day, totaled six birdies, including three in his last four holes, and only one bogey.
South Africans David Frost (70) and Charl Schwartzel (69), Scotland's Euan Little (69) and Leif Westerberg (70) of Sweden are knotted in sixth place at 4-under-par 140.
Marcel Siem, who won the title last year, improved to a 3-under 69 and is part of a group tied for 42nd place at 1-over-par 145.
The 36-hole cut fell at 4-over-par 148 and 79 players advanced to the weekend.
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - dunhill championship
  • Full Coverage - dunhill championship
  • Getty Images

    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

    Getty Images

    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

    Getty Images

    Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

    By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

    PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

    Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

    Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

    Getty Images

    Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

    PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

    With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

    After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

    “I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

    It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

    Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

    “It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

    Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

    “Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

    Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

    Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

    “It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

    Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

    “This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

    Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.