McIlroy worn down by schedule, co-leading Hong Kong

By Associated PressDecember 2, 2011, 1:07 pm

HONG KONG – Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland retained a share of the lead at the Hong Kong Open on Friday after shooting a 1-under 69 in the second round.

The U.S. Open champion was joined at 7-under 133 by first-round co-leader Alvaro Quiros of Spain, who also had a 69.

Panuphol Pittayarat of the Philippines shot a 65 and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay had a 66 to sit a shot back in second.

McIlroy had a chance to grab the outright lead at the last hole, but missed a 4-foot putt for par to finish an up-and-down round with a bogey, his second over the last three holes.

Two-time Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and New Zealand’s Danny Lee were two shots behind the leaders at 5-under 135.

David Horsey of Britain, who had a share of the lead after the opening day alongside McIlroy and Quiros, slipped to 4 under after a 72.

Defending champion Ian Poulter shot a 68 that included an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys. He was among a group of eight tied for 21st six shots back.

McIlroy blamed his poor finish on a hectic schedule.

“I’m mentally and physically fatigued and it showed in a couple of tired swings toward the end. But I don’t think the season was long, I made the season long for myself. It was not as if I was obligated to play,” said McIlroy, whose round included four birdies and three bogeys.

McIlroy has had a busy two months, figuring in a number of lucrative unsanctioned events that included the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters, where he won golf’s richest purse of $2 million.

The 22-year-old also made a weeklong jaunt across China sponsored by a Hong Kong tycoon’s property company, playing 18 holes spread across seven cities.

“The last 10 weeks has been long. It has been an experience, something I can learn from in the future,” McIlroy said.

“It is all a matter of rest. I had two weeks off in the Maldives in-between the HSBC Champions in Shanghai and the World Cup (in Hainan last week), but I got sick during this time and I was on the drip for three days,” he added.

McIlroy shot a flawless opening round of 64, but managed to hold onto a share of the lead despite struggling to find his touch Friday.

“I was not feeling myself today. I didn’t feel as if I played as well as yesterday. It’s just my energy levels are low. But it is all not bad. I’m still tied for the lead,” said McIlroy.

McIlroy needs a top-2 finish to have a shot at overtaking Luke Donald in the European Tour money race.

Pittayarat, a last-minute entry, led Asia’s challenge after he shot a sparkling second round of 65 that included an eagle and three birdies.

“It’s a lucky day. I scrambled around the course well and hit a lot of good putts,” said the Thai teenager. “I had a good feeling today and my overall score came out great.”

Pittayarat, an Asian Tour rookie, was third on the reserve list for the tournament, and only found himself in the lineup of 138 after two no-shows.

“I didn’t expect this. I barely got in and my goal was just to make the cut. I’m up there now and I will try to keep it that way on the weekend,” Pittayarat said.

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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 Olesen 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.