Gal increases Titleholders lead to three through 36

By Will GrayNovember 22, 2013, 9:16 pm

With several players near the top of the leaderboard struggling in the wind Friday at Tiburon Golf Club, Sandra Gal remained in control throughout much of her second round. Here's how things look heading into the third round of the CME Group Titleholders, where Gal leads by three shots at the halfway point:

Leaderboard: Sandra Gal (-11), Sun Young Yoo (-8), Cristie Kerr (-6), Gerina Piller (-6), Pornanong Phatlum (-6), Morgan Pressel (-5), Anna Nordqvist (-5)

What it means: A runner-up at this event in 2011, Gal is in position to finish one spot higher this time around. The German got off to a somewhat slow start, playing her first 12 holes in even par, but caught fire coming home to card a 3-under 69. At 11 under through 36 holes, she now leads by three shots as she looks to claim her second career LPGA title.

Round of the day: After an opening-round 71 left her in the middle of the pack, Piller shot up the leaderboard thanks to a bogey-free, 5-under 67. The recent Solheim Cup member carded a pair of birdies on her outward nine and added two more on her inward half, including at both Nos. 17 and 18. Piller found every fairway and reached all but two greens in regulation, and now finds herself tied for third heading into the weekend.

Best of the rest: A major winner last year at Mission Hills, Yoo failed to drop a shot en route to a 4-under 68 during Friday’s second round. The South Korean recorded three birdies across a six-hole stretch from Nos. 2-7, and at 8-under 136 she will have a spot alongside Gal in Saturday’s final group. Yoo capitalized on a strong short game Friday, needing only 24 putts while shooting one of the day’s lowest rounds despite reaching only 10 of 18 greens in regulation.

Biggest disappointment: Coming off a win last week in Mexico, Lexi Thompson appeared poised to contend again this week but was derailed somewhat by a 2-over 74. The teen struggled to garner any momentum during her second round, bogeying four holes en route to an outward nine of 2-over 38. One day after a bogey-free 66, Thompson made five bogeys on Friday, and she will now head into the weekend at 4 under, seven shots off the pace.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: All signs point to this week belonging to Gal. Though she leads by three, she’s five shots clear of all players outside of Yoo with 36 holes to play and has shown no signs of slowing down. Still, the event is far from over, as major champions like Kerr, Pressel and Nordqvist all remain within striking distance heading into the weekend.

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Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.

"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."

Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.

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Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.

Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.

The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:

Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

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New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 12:48 am

AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.

But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.

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

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

The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.

“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”

The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.

“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”