Hansen leads French Open first round

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2013, 6:45 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Anders Hansen of Denmark shot a 5-under 66 to lead by a stroke after the first round of the French Open on a golf course that punished some of the main contenders on Thursday.

Hansen made seven birdies and two bogeys on the Albatross course of Le Golf National, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2018.

''You do want to stay out of the rubbish, and there's plenty of it out there,'' Hansen said. ''Every hole there's something. One bad shot and all of a sudden you're staring at double. It's just tough out there.''

Hansen finished fourth at the French Open in 2009 and his best result this year was a third place at the Malaysian Open in March.

Frenchman Romain Wattel was in second place, one stroke clear of nine players who shared third place, including Martin Kaymer of Germany.

The 22-year-old Wattel finished joint third at the Lyoness Open last month in Austria and wound up fourth in April at the Ballantine's Championship in Seoul.

Past winners Kaymer (68) and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain (69) stayed in contention, along with 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland (69) and American Matt Kuchar (70).

''If you hit off line out here, you lose your ball basically,'' McDowell said. ''It's a very punishing golf course.''

Kuchar is second in the FedEx Cup standings behind Tiger Woods and was making his French Open debut.

''It was an amazing reception on the first tee,'' Kuchar said. ''It just made me feel very welcome. I was excited to get around and going.''

Thomas Pieters of Belgium had a share of third place until the last hole where he made a double bogey for a 70 to slip to 24th.

The 21-year-old Pieters turned pro last month and was playing for the first time on the European Tour.

Former top-ranked Luke Donald of England birdied his last two holes to limit the damage with an even-par 71.

''This is a course that demands a lot of precision,'' Donald said. ''If you're a little bit off, it can bite you. It bit me on 18.''

Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter (73) of England, Matteo Manassero (73) of Italy, defending champion Marcel Siem (78) of Germany and Danish prodigy Thorbjorn Olesen (78) will need a good second round on Friday to make the cut.

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Inbee Park quietly reclaims world No. 1

By Randall MellApril 23, 2018, 6:44 pm

Inbee Park moved back to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings in about as ho-hum fashion as you’ll ever see a player take the top spot.

It isn’t that she doesn’t care about the top ranking. It just wasn’t a priority in her return to golf this year, after missing big portions of the last two years with injuries.

With an Olympic gold medal and seven major championship titles, the LPGA Hall of Famer isn’t done trying to top the scoreboards that matter most to her.

“To be honest, I never really think about being No. 1 again,” Park said early last week, before tying for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open. “If it comes to me, great. If not, it doesn't matter.”

It came to her for the fourth time in her career.

Park, 29, reigned at No. 1 for 59 weeks in her longest run on top, back in the 2013 and ’14 seasons.

Oddly, this run to No. 1 almost comes as a surprise to Park, who didn’t need long to get back to the top spot after returning to the tour. She won the Bank of Hope Founders Cup last month in her second after missing seven months with a back injury.

Park last lost the No. 1 ranking in October of 2015, doing so to Lydia Ko.

In six starts this year, Park has finished T-3 or better four times. She leads the tour in scoring average (69.13) and is second in greens in regulation (77.5 percent).

Just wait until her putter heats up.

Yeah, Park’s not very satisfied with her putting. She’s one of the greatest putters who ever played the women’s game, but she has been frustrated with the inconsistency of her stroke much of this season. Of course, her standards are high. She ranks second in putts per greens in regulation so far this year.

On Sunday, this is how Park summed up her putting in 2018: “Some days, I’ve been really good. Some days, I’ve been really bad.”

Park has led the LPGA in putts per GIR in five of the last 10 years. She switched from her preferred mallet-style putter to a blade earlier this season and won with a Toulon Madison blade at the Founders Cup last month. She was back with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet this past week. That’s the putter she used to win the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro two years ago. She used an Odyssey Sabertooth winged mallet in her 2013 run of three consecutive major championship victories.

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Goose takes down junior golfer - it's awesome

By Nick MentaApril 23, 2018, 6:33 pm

A goose evidently went into business for itself somewhere in Michigan and took down this high school golfer in dramatic, hilarious, photographed fashion. To the evidence we go ...

Per the Blissfield Athletics Twitter account, "The golfers just finished teeing off and were walking down the fairway. To the left there was a goose nest and the golfers did a good job of avoiding it but the guard goose hanging out on the far right thought differently."

Just so we can all continue laughing, the Blissfield account confirmed the kid was OK.

If you're looking for related content, check out Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and this video:

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It's official: Charles Schwab to sponsor Colonial event

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 6:30 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – The longest-running PGA Tour event still played at its original site has a new title sponsor, one already deeply involved in golf.

The PGA Tour and Colonial Country Club announced Monday that financial services provider Charles Schwab & Co. will take over as title sponsor starting in 2019. The four-year agreement goes through 2022.

Local companies are backing the event after upscale grocer Dean and Deluca withdrew as title sponsor after only two tournaments of a six-year deal. The companies include American Airlines, AT&T, XTO Energy and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway.

Charles Schwab is already a major sponsor on the PGA Tour. On the PGA Tour Champions, the Charles Schwab Cup is awarded to the season's top player.

Next month's tournament at Colonial, which has hosted since 1946, will be played as the Fort Worth Invitational.

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Rando withdraws name from Ryder Cup consideration

By Nick MentaApril 23, 2018, 6:11 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - In a legitimately unexpected move, Stephen Atkinson has removed his name from Ryder Cup consideration, according to a letter leaked by European captain Thomas Bjorn on Monday.

Atkinson, the 52,187th-ranked player in the world and recent winner of the West Hill monthly medal, penned the following letter to Bjorn, removing his name from consideration for September's biennial matches.

Atkinson, who also serves as the Captain of the Babalou Golf Society, immediately squashed speculation that he could instead serve as a vice captain - as Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia have in the past - writing that any such suggestion would be "unfair to both the society and the Ryder Cup team."

The decision leaves Bjorn potentially shorthanded and also appears to have sent him into some sort of existential malaise, the severity of which is not yet known.

Atkinson joins P.J. Willett and Central Standard Time in the Hall of Fame of off-course distractions for a European squad that hasn't lost on its home soil in 25 years.