Hole-In-One Affords Rose Early Advantage

By Associated PressNovember 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
2005 Volvo MastersSOTOGRANDE, Spain -- Justin Rose had a hole-in-one in his 1-under 70 Thursday in the first round of the Volvo Masters and is one shot ahead of Padraig Harrington in the Order of Merit race.
Rose, who trails Harrington by $948 for the European Tour money title, nailed the ace with a 6-iron at the third hole. The Englishman also had three birdies and four bogeys at the Valderrama course.
Order of Merit leader Ernie Els is $313,892 in front of Harrington, last year's winner, but the South African is playing in Singapore on the Asian Tour and Rose and Harrington are likely to pass him with their winnings at the Volvo Masters.
'At the top of its flight I said 'go' and when it landed I said 'in' and it disappeared,' Rose said of his sixth hole-in-one.
Harrington recovered from being 4 over after the front nine to hole five of his six birdies and shoot a 71. He would have finished tied with Rose if not for a penalty stroke he received at No. 7 when his ball moved after he had grounded his putter.
'I'm not going to change my (putting) routine,' the Irishman said. 'These things, they happen.'
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland played the swirling winds best to head the field with a 3-under 68, leading 2005 champion Paul McGinley of Ireland by one stroke. The wind gusted to 25 mph and is expected to pick up for Friday's second round.
Peter O'Malley of Australia (70) was the only other player in the 55-man field to finish under par.
Rose, who was on an intravenous drip before his round because of a virus, was at 3 under by the fifth before bogeys at the seventh and ninth dropped him to 1 under.
At the 547-yard 11th, the Englishman pulled his second shot into the left rough, but recovered by sticking his wedge from 86 yards to within 15 inches for a birdie.
After three-putting for bogey at No. 14, Rose sank his birdie at the par-3 15th, but missed a par-saving putt at the last.
Harrington stuck his approaches at the 10th and 11th for easy birdies, and then curled in birdie putts at No. 16 and 17 from about seven feet to climb back from being six shots behind Rose after five holes.
'I think he helped me, no question about it. The fact that he was 3 under par through eight, nine holes ... certainly showed me that it was possible to do it,' the British Open champion said. 'He hit some good shots and no question, that was very positive affirmation to me that it could be done.'
Swedish players Niclas Fasth (75) and Henrik Stenson (76) are also in contention for the Order of Merit, while defending Volvo Masters champion Jeev Milkha Singh of India shot a 5-over 76.
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    Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:31 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.

    Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.

    Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.

    “It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”

    The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.

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    “I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.

    A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.

    “I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.

    He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.

    “It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”

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    Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:18 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

    Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.

    “It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”

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    The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.

    He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.

    Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    “I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”

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    Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 10:45 pm

    Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

    Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.

    With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.

    All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.

    “This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”

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    Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.

    “It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.

    Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.

    “Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”

    Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

    “My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”

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    Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 10:12 pm

    We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.

    Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.

    If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.

    It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.

    Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.