Aphibarnrat wins playoff thriller in China

By Associated PressApril 19, 2015, 12:58 pm

SHENZHEN, China – Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat captured the inaugural Shenzhen International on Sunday after rallying in regulation with an eagle on the 17th hole and beating Chinese teenager Li Haotong in a playoff.

Kiradech and Li shared the lead after the turn, but the 19-year-old Chinese player looked to be heading for the biggest title of his career when he birdied the 17th and Kiradech bogeyed the par-4 15th to open up a two-stroke lead.

Kiradech rebounded, however, with an eagle on the par-5 17th to pull even with Li again and force the playoff. He had a chance to win on the 18th, but his birdie putt skirted to the right of the hole.

On the playoff hole, Kiradech hit his approach shot to the middle of the 18th green and made a birdie, while Li two-putted for par.

The 19-year-old Li shot a 5-under 67 in the final round, while Kiradech, the overnight leader, had a 72. Both finished at 12-under 276.

Tommy Fleetwood was third at 11-under 277.

Kiradech had only won one previous title on the European Tour at the 2013 Malaysian Open. He was coming off a joint-sixth place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month on the PGA Tour.

Li has been improving over the past year. He won the last two tournaments on the PGA Tour of China last year to earn a card on the Web.com Tour, where he has made five cuts this year. He's also risen to No. 194 in the world rankings – surpassing established players Liang Wenchong and Wu Ashun to become the highest-ranked Chinese player.

Fleetwood played steady all week, carding 70, 69, 69 and 69 in his four rounds. The 24-year-old Englishman, who had been aiming for his second European Tour title, pulled within a stroke of Li with a birdie on the 17th, but could get no closer.

France's Julien Quesne also had an eagle on the 17th and a birdie on the 18th to shoot a 65.

''My long game was very good. I've got some trouble with putting, but I made some putts at the end. So, it's a good week for me,'' he said. ''I do my best to make the birdie at the end to be minus-10, to be maybe top 5 or top 10.''

Quesne finished in a tie for fourth with Marco Crespi, Huang Wenyi, David Howell, Tom Lewis, Y.E. Yang, and Peter Uihlein.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson finally seemed to acclimate to the conditions after three subpar rounds, making eight birdies to shoot a 7-under 65. It was the first time he'd broken 70 this week.

''I wish I would have putted better the first three rounds,'' he said. ''I putted good the last round, but all in all, it was a good test. It shows what I need to work on. It shows me that I can play outside the U.S., especially today.''

Watson finished in a tie for 29th place at 5-under 283.

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.