Trio Share Opening Lead in France - COPIED

By Sports NetworkJune 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
European TourLUMBRES, France -- Peter Fowler, Marcus Higley and Carl Suneson finished the second round tied atop the leaderboard Friday at the Open de Saint Omer.
Fowler posted the best round of the leaders with a 4-under 67. Both Higley and Suneson managed rounds of 1-under 70 to join Fowler at 5-under-par 137.
Stuart Davis (70), Santiago Luna (71) and Mikael Lundberg (68) are knotted in fourth place at minus-4 at the Val Course at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club.
Fowler began his round on the 10th tee Friday and promptly made birdie at his opening hole. He bogeyed the par-4 12th for the second consecutive day, then birdied 16 to make the turn at two-under par for the championship.
He parred his first six holes of his second nine, but closed with three straight birdies to match the group at minus-5.
'I'm a happy man after that finish,' said Fowler, who is the only European Tour winner of the second-round co-leaders with a victory at the 1993 BMW International Open. 'You have a few opportunities there when you are finishing on the front nine, you just have to pull off a couple of shots. I managed to do that.'
Higley played the course as intended and parred his first five holes. Like Fowler, Higley rattled off three straight birdies, although his run started at No. 6.
Higley, a tour rookie, bogeyed the 10th again, but collected another birdie at the 15th. He made bogeys at 16 and 17 to lose sole possession of first place, a fact that weighed on the Englishman.
'I was a bit disappointed to drop two strokes in the last three holes, but it was a good round considering the conditions,' said Higley, who played in windy conditions in the morning. 'My putting was very good today and I went to see an old friend of mine, Martin Cummings, who specializes in putting, so I went to see him and changed my setup, ball position, grip, stance and stroke. So just a few minor changes.'
Suneson started off with a birdie at the first, but parred his next five. He traded a bogey and a birdie over seven and eight and parred four in a row around the turn.
Suneson mixed two birdies and two bogeys over a five-hole span on the back to get his share of first.
'I am playing all right so it's good for me to be playing here right now,' said Suneson. 'And I do like the course. You don't have to shoot 15-under par to win and if you have experience and don't force situations then you have a chance.'
Steve Alker, Paolo Terreni and Julio Zapata all shot 3-under 68s on Friday to share seventh place at 3-under-par 139.
Overnight co-leader David Higgins struggled to a 5-over 76 and is tied for 19th place at minus-1. David Bransdon was one shot worse with a 77 and is in a group at even-par 142.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over-par 145 and Edoardo Molinari missed the cut by a stroke.
Related Links:
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

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    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.