Levy builds 4-shot lead at China Open

By Associated PressApril 25, 2014, 1:26 pm

SHENZHEN, China – Alexander Levy of France shot a career-best 10-under 62 to open a four-shot lead after the second round of the China Open on Friday.

Henrik Stenson tried to keep alive his chances of taking over the No. 1 world ranking with a 70 to sit at 3 under overall, 11 shots behind Levy. The Swede can nudge Tiger Woods out of the top spot with a win here.

Levy, whose best finish on the European Tour was third place at last year's BMW International Open, sunk a 20-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole to cap a front-nine 30.

He then birdied four more times on the back nine to finish at 14-under 130, four shots clear of Spaniard Adrian Otaegui in second.

''I played unbelievably,'' Levy said. ''I shot 63 at Kingsbarns during the Dunhill Links in Scotland last year, but this course is a lot tougher and I am only starting to realize how good that score is.''

Ian Poulter, meanwhile, saw a promising round fall apart on a disastrous par-5 13th hole where he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong spot after hitting into dense foliage and incorrectly measuring his own drop. He took a triple-bogey and ended up with a 74, still good enough to make the cut.

The cut was at par, which U.S. PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner barely made after shooting a 71.

The 15-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang, however, was sent home after a 76. He's only made one cut on the U.S. PGA and European Tours after his sensational debut at the Masters last year, when he became the youngest player to complete 72 holes.

Levy began his climb up the leaderboard in the Thursday twilight when most golfers were already in the clubhouse or long gone. Playing in one of the last groups, the Frenchman was tied for the lead but bogeyed the eighth hole in the faltering light before play was finally suspended.

''It was tough because it was dark and I made some bogey and I wasn't happy in my bed last night,'' he said. ''I just focused on finishing the first round well this morning and continuing this afternoon.''

Levy was a newcomer to the tour - he gained his playing card only last year - but he's been in these types of high-pressure situations before. He had a share of the lead with Ernie Els heading into the final round of the BMW International Open, but faltered with four bogeys in Sunday's opening nine holes.

He said he's been inspired by the recent performance of his good friend and fellow Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson, who held off Tiger Woods, Stenson and Poulter to win his first European Tour title at the Turkish Airlines Open in November.

''What he has done over the past few months has been amazing and it has really had an effect on all the French players, so hopefully I can try to emulate that,'' Levy said.

If he stumbles, Stenson is close enough to make a move.

The No. 3-ranked Swede is on the mend after coming down with the flu this week, which prevented him from practicing before Thursday's opening round. He said he felt better that night but then woke up on Friday weak and tired again.

Still, he believes he's playing well enough to challenge the leaders this weekend.

''I made six birdies out there today and missed a few good opportunities to make more,'' he said. ''But then I threw a silly double in there and a few bogeys as well so I need to cut that out.''

Poulter was upset with himself, as well, after his mistake on the 13th. He measured two club-lengths for his first drop from the foliage, but that landed on a cart path, requiring a second drop. He measured two club-lengths again but should have just taken one.

''We make mistakes, I guess, and that was a fun one,'' he said. ''Guess I need to get the rulesbook back out and start chewing it.''

Dufner is happy just to be sticking around for the weekend after curling in a 15-footer for birdie on No. 6 and scrambling to make par on No. 9, his final hole.

''It's been a struggle all year for me, so far, with scoring,'' he said. ''Luckily I play a lot of the tougher events so you don't have to shoot a lot of low scores, but guys are shooting pretty good scores out here.''

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Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Sweet 16

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2018, 4:00 pm

Here is how things played out in the Round of 16 on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The week began with 64 players taking on Austin Country Club,but the field is dwindling. Click here for Day 3 match results:

Match 97: Bubba Watson (35) def. Brian Harman (18), 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month. Watson will advance to play the winner of the Kiradech Aphibarnrat/Charles Howell III match in the quarterfinals.  

Match 100: Justin Thomas (2) def. Si Woo Kim (50), 6 and 5. Thomas remains on fire in this format, steamrolling Kim a day after completing a round-robin sweep of his group by blowing away Francesco Molinari, 7 and 5. The Kim match felt like it was over shortly after it started, with Thomas making the turn 5 up. Thomas will advance to play the winner of the Sergio Garcia/Kyle Stanley match in the quarterfinals.  

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.