Cabrera Bello, Na share lead at Wyndham

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2016, 12:13 am

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Rested after the Rio Olympics, Rafa Cabrera Bello shot a 7-under 63 on Thursday in the Wyndham Championship for a share of the first-round lead with Kevin Na.

Cabrera Bello eagled the par-5 fifth and closed the bogey-free round with a birdie on Sedgefield's par-4 ninth. On Sunday, the 32-year-old Spaniard tied for fifth in Rio.

''Last week was a big adrenaline week,'' Cabrera Bello said. ''It was the first time I was really not playing for myself, just playing for my country and obviously it's a huge honor, but also big responsibility. I wanted to do good and I was pleased with my result. ... Coming into this week, I felt the game was good, just needed a bit of rest.''

The four-time European Tour winner is trying to stay in position for a Ryder Cup spot, with more ranking points available in North Carolina than the European event in the Czech Republic. The shorter travel also played a role in his decision to play the tournament.

''There was a chance of me not making it through the money list and making it through the world ranking points list, that's what I wanted to focus on,'' Cabrera Bello said. ''I'm pretty sure this week has a stronger world ranking than the one in Europe and I also felt that it was going to be easier to travel south to north than from Rio to Czech Republic, jet lag-wise.''


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Na had seven birdies in his bogey-free round in the PGA Tour's final regular-season event. The American tied for eighth last week in the John Deere Classic. He won his lone tour title in 2011 in Las Vegas.

''Hit it well,'' Na said. ''Made a lot of putts. That putter has not been all that hot this year and it was nice to see a lot of putts go in. It's usually over the years been my strong part of game but I felt like I really found something.''

Luke Donald, Brandt Snedeker, Derek Fathauer, New Zealand Olympian Danny Lee and Peter Malnati shot 65. Donald made a hole-in-one on the 16th.

''Had a perfect number, downhill a little bit, 159 (yards) and it was playing straight downwind and good 9-iron for me and looked good all the way,'' Donald said. ''Hit a foot short and went in the hole. Bonus when it goes in, obviously, and nice to win a holiday for life. Apparently that's what I got for it.''

Snedeker, the 2007 winner at Forest Oaks, bogeyed the final hole. He's fighting for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

''I want to be on that team. I love playing Ryder Cups,'' Snedeker said. '''m going to use that as motivation to go out there and work hard and grind my tail off the next three days.''

Jim Furyk had a 66 in his first round since shooting the first 58 in PGA Tour history two weeks ago in the final round of the Travelers Championship.

''Right now, a touch frustrating,'' Furyk said. ''If I went back, I think I hit a bunch of greens. I might have hit every green. Two three-putts were the two bogeys. The greens are just really difficult. They're very quick. There's a ton of slope in them.''

Patrick Reed also had a 66. He won the 2013 event for his first tour title.

''Just a special place to us and one of the places I need to come back and play,'' said Reed, coming off a tie for 11th in Rio. ''I'm off to a good start.''

U.S. Olympic teammate Rickie Fowler birdied his last two holes for a 67. He tied for 37th in Rio.

''We enjoyed being down there and the big thing coming from there up to here is not how much of a time change, there's only an hour back,'' Fowler said. ''That makes things a lot easier.''

Davis Love III, the tournament winner last year at age 51, is sidelined following hip surgery.

''It's disappointing not to get to play,'' said the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, a three-time champion in the event. ''The surgery went well. Rehab is going even better.''

The top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings will qualify for The Barclays next week at Bethpage Black. It the next-to-last chance to earn Ryder Cup points, with the top eight players determined after The Barclays. Love will make his first three captain's picks Sept. 11 after the BMW Championship. The final pick comes two weeks later after the Tour Championship.

Robert Allenby had two double bogeys in a 74. The Australian was arrested outside a casino in Rock Island, Illinois, last week after missing the cut in the John Deere Classic. He was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. In January 2015, Allenby was found with severe bruises several hours after visiting a restaurant with friends. Allenby, who had missed the cut in the Sony Open, claimed to have been abducted and beaten. A Hawaii man was sentenced to five years in prison for using Allenby's credit cards and identification.

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.



Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''


Full-field scores from the BMW International Open


Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.