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Indy finish boosts Ko's confidence

By Randall MellSeptember 13, 2017, 5:17 pm

Lydia Ko fell short in her bid to win the Indy Women in Tech Championship last weekend, but she arrived this week for the Evian Championship feeling some lost confidence returning.

Ko shook off her summer struggles to finish second last week to Lexi Thompson. It was her first top-10 finish since the calendar turned to summer.

“It was nice to be in that position again,” Ko said. “Even though I wasn't the one holding the trophy at the end of last week, I still felt like I played good golf and tried my best out there, and the most important thing was just being in that atmosphere, being in that kind of position again, and it just builds your confidence.”

Ko, who is looking for her first victory in 13 months, broke through to win the first of her two major championships at Evian two years ago.

In Indianapolis last week, Ko put up scores of 64 and a 65 to grab a share of the lead with Thompson going into the final round. Ko was especially pleased with her putter, though it cooled on her in the final round. She entered the week 18th on tour in putting average after finishing first in that category in 2016.

“Just seeing those putts go in, I think, gave me a lot of confidence, and it gave me more belief in myself,” Ko said.

Evian Championship: Articles, video and photos

Ko began the year with a new caddie, new equipment and a new coach. Though she consistently said she felt good about all the changes, she acknowledged she needed to break through some of frustration in not being able to produce the results she wanted.

“I think I have gotten frustrated, but I think I've been frustrated at myself, more so than anybody else, or media, or anything that kind of goes around,” Ko said. “Because I felt like, `Man, I feel like things are there, but why can't they show? Why can't I commit to it while I'm playing?’ I think that was really huge. That's why playing well, especially the first two days of last week, really helped to kind of give belief in myself, and sometimes those are the big things, where there's nothing really a huge difference, physically or within the game. You just kind of need to have that confidence and that belief to go out there and not worry about it.”

Ko lost the Rolex world No. 1 ranking in June and sits at No. 8 entering the year’s final major. Sky Bet lists her at a 22-to-1 to win Evian this week. Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are co-favorites at 8-to-1.

“It's still a work in progress,” Ko said. “I know that I need to work hard to keep getting better and be more consistent, but I think it's been great that I've had those people around me to take my mind off it, and just let me enjoy whatever I do off the golf course. And then when I'm playing and practicing and trying to focus and trying to improve the areas of my game that I feel like needs to be improved a bit more.”

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."