Hull shares lead in Bahamas; Creamer 2 back

By Associated PressJanuary 30, 2016, 1:00 am

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Megan Khang shot a 5-under 68 in strong wind Friday for a share of the lead in the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, her first event as an LPGA Tour member.

The 18-year-old Khang eagled the par-5 fourth hole and had four birdies and a bogey in wind gusting to 30 mph at the Ocean Club to match England's Charley Hull and Japan's Haru Nomura at 8-under 138.

''It was such a grind,'' Khang said. ''To come out with 68 is incredible. Can't wait for the weekend.''

Hull and Nomura each shot 70.

Khang, from Rockland, Massachusetts, tied for sixth at Q-school in December to earn a tour card.

''I think my game's at a good place right now and I definitely think I can hold my own,'' Khang said. ''I was confident in my game. I just didn't know how I was going to play right now being a rookie and under the circumstances. But I'm just having so much fun out here. I just love it out here.''

The 5-foot-1 Khang hits her drives in the 260-yard range.

''Sandra (Gal) was like, 'You hit it pretty far for a little one,''' Khang said. ''I was like, 'You're not the first one to say that.' ... I took it as a compliment.''

The 19-year-old Hull closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th.

''I've never played the golf course with that wind before,'' Hull said. ''It was a completely opposite direction. So, it was good fun to play in that direction. I like it in that direction actually. It was good. Just got to keep patient out there. Obviously, the same for everyone.''



Nomura bogeyed Nos. 14 and 16 after getting to 10 under with a birdie on the 13th.

''Wind is very heavy,'' Nomura said. ''Some holes yesterday downwind, today into the wind.''

Defending champion Sei Young Kim was a stroke back along with Anna Nordqvist, 46-year-old Catriona Matthew and Min Seo Kwak. Kim shot 68, Nordqvist 69, Kwak 70, and Matthew 71.

''Pretty windy today,'' Kim said. ''The greens are a little tough and then a couple holes when I on the putting green, really strong wind, almost 30 mph. Little adjust my stance more wide and just worked today.''

Paula Creamer and Hyo Joo Kim were 6 under. Creamer shot 72, and Hyo Joo Kim 70. Nine under with 5 holes left, Creamer dropped four strokes with a double bogey on 16 and bogeys on 14 and 17 before birdieing the 18th.

''It was howling right to left and I was kind of in between clubs and tried to use the wind and I used it too much and I hooked it too much,'' Creamer said about the double bogey. ''I was aiming literally 35 yards right, but I did too much with my golf swing. I should have hit it a little straighter.''

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a 68 to move up 35 places into a tie for 10th at 5 under.

''I woke up and saw the wind and actually saw it as a good thing,'' Lewis said. ''I knew it was going to be a hard day, but if I could shoot a good number, I could get myself back into contention, which I did. But it was definitely a hard round.''

Cristie Kerr matched the tournament record with a 65 to jump from a tie for 95th after an opening 77 to a tie for 13th at 4 under.

''After yesterday, it wasn't looking good,'' Kerr said. ''It was a very difficult day and I just came out and just did it.''

Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke a day after being stung by a bee on the palm of her right hand. She followed her opening 76 with a 73.

Second-ranked Inbee Park withdrew Thursday because of back pain after an 80, the second-worst round of her LPGA Tour career.

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.