Logjam at Aa St Omer Open

By Sports NetworkJune 19, 2004, 4:00 pm
ST. OMER, France -- Englishman David J. Geall fired a 4-under 67 on Saturday to grab share of the lead with five other players after three rounds of the Aa Saint Omer Open. Geall completed 54 holes at 3-under-par 210.
He is joined in the lead by Pasi Purhonen (68), Massimo Florioli (69), Jean- Francois Lucquin (69), Simon Dyson (70) and overnight leader Carl Suneson (73). Alessandro Tadini also carded a 67 to take seventh place at 2-under-par 211.
Geall, who turns 36-years-old tomorrow, was steady to start with seven straight pars on the Val Course at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club. He picked up his first birdie at the eighth, then posted six consecutive pars from there.
Down the stretch Geall caught fire. He dropped in a birdie at the 15th and came right back to birdie the 16th. After a par on 17, he closed his round with a birdie at the last.
'I played solid all day, with 14 pars and four birdies,' said Geall. 'I had 16 greens in regulation and the two that I missed I got up-and-down well, so I am very happy with that. It just came together that little bit more than it had at the end of the round and I managed to take advantage.'
Purhonen spread a bogey and a birdie over his first six holes. He then dropped in back-to-back birdies from the eighth to get to 2 under. He picked up another birdie at the 12th before faltering to a bogey on 14. He atoned for that mistake with a birdie on 16 for a share of the lead.
Florioli picked up consecutive birdies from the third to move to 3 under. After he bogeyed the eighth, the Italian ran off three consecutive birdies from the 10th to climb to minus-5. He stumbled to back-to-back bogeys from the 13th to fall back to the pack. He parred his final four holes to remain in a share of first.
Lucquin made a run midway through his front side as he posted three birdies in a row from the fifth to get to 4 under. He faltered to a double bogey at the eighth, but erased that error with back-to-back birdies from the 10th.
'That happened just after I had been plugged in the bunker on the eighth and had ended up with a double bogey,' said Lucquin of his tee shot off the ninth tee, which bounced off a tree to remain in bounds. 'I was trying to kill the ball and got very lucky to escape with a par. I am happy to be in among the leaders and feel good for tomorrow.'
The Frenchman climbed to minus-5 with a birdie on No. 14. Lucquin then dropped shots at 16 and 17 to fall into the logjam for the lead.
Dyson traded a birdie and a bogey at the third and fourth. He rose to 4 under with birdies at the ninth and 11th. After bogeys at 12 and 13, Dyson birdied the 14th before parring the final four holes.
'I do fancy my chances,' Dyson said. 'I'm playing nicely and if I can get to grips with the greens and keep making the birdie chances then I will be there or thereabouts. My positional play has been really good, using my head and managing the course really well.'
Suneson led by one stroke entering the round. He traded three bogeys for three birdies over a six-hole stretch from the fourth. He tripped to bogeys at the 12th and 13th to fall back to minus-3. He parred his final five holes to share first place.
First-round leader Kyron Sullivan struggled to a 4-over 75 Saturday. He slid to even-par 213, where he is joined by Didier de Vooght, Philippe Lima, Titch Moore, Johan Skold, Benn Barham, Stephen Browne, Murray Urquhart and Tom Whitehouse.
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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.