Monty Falters Trio Share Top Spot

By Sports NetworkJanuary 16, 2004, 5:00 pm
European TourSOMERSET WEST, South Africa -- Alastair Forsyth of Scotland posted a 3-under 69 on Friday to join Craig Lile and Nico van Rensburg atop the leaderboard midway through the South Africa Airways Open. The trio stands at 7-under-par 137 at Erinvale Golf & Country Club.
 
Brett Rumford, the overnight leader, bogeyed his last hole on Friday to shoot a 2-over 74. He is tied for fourth place with Stephen Dodd, who carded a 73, at 6-under-par 138.
 
Forsyth opened on the back nine Friday and notched back-to-back birdies from the 16th. He reached the green in two at the par-5 third and two-putted for his third birdie of the round.
 
The Scotsman seemed poised to drop his only shot of the round at the ninth hole, his last in the second round. Forsyth had 15 feet for par but calmly sank the putt to preserve his bogey-free round.
 
'It is a course that if you are playing well it does offer you chances,' said Forsyth, who won the 2002 Malaysian Open. 'I didn't take them all today and to be honest I still feel the putting is a little bit rusty after the winter lay-off but I am sure that will come in time.'
 
Lile mixed six birdies and two bogeys on Friday and both dropped shots were mistakes by the South African. He three-putted from 10 feet at the fourth and bogeyed the par-5 16th when he had only 80 yards with his third shot.
 
Lile overcame the mistake at 16 with a spectacular approach on No. 17, the toughest hole on the course. He knocked a 7-iron to four feet to shoot a 4-under 68 and tie for the lead.
 
'I had no real expectations coming into the week, I was just hoping to make the cut to be honest which I have done obviously!' said Lile, who played on the Nationwide Tour for a time last year. 'You never know what will happen at the weekend but if you put yourself in a position to win enough times, it will eventually come.'
 
Van Rensburg started on the second nine and bogeyed two of his first six holes. He rebounded with a birdie at the 16th then closed with three birdies in his last seven holes to polish off a round of 70.
 
The 38-year-old South African seems healthy for the first time in two years after breaking a bone in his wrist.
 
'It is a lot better now and I am finally hitting the ball with no pain which is great,' said van Rensburg. 'I came back a little earlier than my doctor advised but I found I was trying to hit the ball and guard my right side and you can't play like that.'
 
Raphael Jacquelin (71), Anders Hansen (69), Stephen Scahill (72) and Simon Wakefield (69) share sixth place at minus 5.
 
Defending champion Trevor Immelman posted a 3-under 69 and is part of a group in 10th place at 4-under-par 140.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over-par 147 and 76 players made it to the weekend. Colin Montgomerie was fortunate to get there. He took a seven on the third hole and an eight on the 17th to shoot a 6-over 78 and tie for 51st at plus 2.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - South African Airways Open
  • Full Coverage - South African Airways Open
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x