Kuchar Stylish in Pro Debut
Australians Paul Gow and Peter O'Malley carded 4-under-par 68s Thursday at Kingston Heath to tie New Zealander Greg Turner for the top spot in Melbourne. Kuchar is tied for fourth place with defending champion Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby and Sweden's Pierre Fulke.
O'Malley was in position to distance himself from the field in the first round. The Aussie recorded six birdies in an eight-hole stretch to move to 7-under-par through 12 holes.
Then disaster struck.
O'Malley bogeyed the 15th and doubled the 16th to drop three shots in two holes. He parred out to finish the day in a three-way tie for the lead.
'Obviously I'm unhappy with the result of the finish because I had such a great round going, but it's not like I did anything wrong,' O'Malley said. 'I guess I hit two shots I thought were perfect and they got unlucky and went too far.
'I played a fantastic round of golf and I guess it's a shame to finish how I did because I didn't do that much wrong. I thought I played a great game today and I putted fantastic.'
Kuchar played the round of his professional life on Thursday. Then again, it was his first pro start. The man who succeeded Tiger Woods as the U.S. Amateur champion carded four birdies on the difficult Kingston Heath course, including one on his first hole.
Since winning America's most prestigious amateur event, Kuchar has steadily slipped off the public's radar. Despite a pair of inspired performances at the 1998 Masters and U.S. Open, the 22-year-old Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket has missed four cuts in eight PGA and European Tour starts over the past two seasons. His best finish in that time span came in a tie for 22nd at this year's Standard Life Loch Lomond.
Now, Kuchar finds himself where many expected him to be - near the top of the leaderboard alongside some of the game's best.
In addition to being tied with Allenby, who owns a pair of 2000 PGA Tour titles, Baddeley and Fulke, a multiple winner in Europe this season, Kuchar is slightly lower than a number of past major champions. Nick Faldo opened in 1-under-par 71, while Greg Norman carded an even-par 72. American Mark O'Meara didn't fare so well Down Under, the 1998 Masters and British Open champion posted a 4-over-par 76.
'It's definitely in my mind to win here,' said Kuchar, whose best performance in a professional tournament was a tie for 14th at the '98 U.S. Open.
Wednesday, Kuchar played his practice round with Greg Norman, who has become a mentor to him.
'Greg has been great to me,' Kuchar said. 'He has always been a role model of mine. I have emulated his swing and I have tried to conduct myself in the same way he does.'
Kuchar would also like to emulate Baddeley. Last year, as an 18-year-old amateur, the Aussie won his country's biggest event. He's back to defend in 2000, and he's trying to collect the $250,000 first-place check he missed out on a year ago.
Following his first-round 69, Baddeley said: 'I drove well and putted pretty well, but there were a few loose iron shots. A few things need fine tuning, and hopefully (Friday) I can shoot a better score.'
After Web.com Tour Finals, Peterson retires ... again
OK, now it’s official: John Peterson is done with professional golf.
With one last chance to secure his PGA Tour card for next season, Peterson missed the cut in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship. After failing to keep conditional status on Tour – in the most excruciating of circumstances – Peterson is now out of options to play the big tour in 2019, so he’s stepping away from professional golf, at age 29.
It’s been one of the most unusual storylines of the year. The former NCAA individual champion from LSU announced at the beginning of the year that he was done if he didn’t keep his card on his major medical extension. He’d grown tired of the nomadic existence on Tour, and as a new father and husband, he’d already lined up his next career, in real estate and business development in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.
In July, Peterson said that the Web.com Tour Finals would be his final opportunity. If he earned a full PGA Tour card through the four-event series, then he’d continue to play in 2018-19 because he’d be able to pick and choose his schedule. But he never threatened full status, missing three cuts and tying for 56th in the other start.
And so on Friday afternoon, Peterson tapped out this tweet, saying goodbye to the Tour:
It’s been a hell of a ride!! Got a ton of people to thank. Too many to list. I will always cherish my time competing on the @PGATOUR. I can also say I birdied my first hole as a pro and now my last. Thanks for the memories!— John Peterson (@JohnPetersonFW) September 21, 2018
Army vets get sneak peek at Callaway's new wedges
ATLANTA – Callaway Golf unveiled a new set of wedges to consumers on Friday, but U.S. Army veterans Kyle Butcher and Billy Paul were treated to an early peak on Wednesday at the Tour Championship.
Butcher and Paul were chosen to participate in a club fitting at East Lake that included three of Callaway’s new Mack Daddy 4 Tactical Wedges. The new wedges feature the company’s tactical package with a PVD finish, tour issued shafts and Groove-in-Groove technology. It was the company’s 13th “warrior fitting” this year.
Billy Paul (L) and Kyle Butcher (M) checking out Callaway's new Mack Daddy 4 wedges
The limited edition wedges became available at retail on Friday ($179.99) and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Birdies for the Brave. The company also made a $50,000 donation to Birdies for the Brave’s Special Operations Warriors Foundation.
Part of the company’s push to honor American military members also includes 15 percent discounts on purchases by all veterans.
GOLFNOW EXPANDS INTO EUROPE, NOW OFFERING TEE TIMES IN FRANCE
ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2018) – GolfNow today announced its expansion into France – its first entree into continental Europe – via agreements with two of the country’s leading multi-course management companies. The arrangement provides golfers residing throughout GolfNow’s footprint – including the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Australia – with the ability to book tee times on GolfNow at nearly 50 golf courses throughout France.
Coinciding with the growing anticipation of the 2018 Ryder Cup being contested next week at Le Golf National golf course outside of Paris, GolfNow’s agreements with Open Golf Club and UGOLF will showcase a collection of courses throughout France, which is considered to be one of the best countries in Europe to play golf due to its extensive variety of courses and year-round playing conditions. Tee times will be promoted across multiple GolfNow distribution platforms, depending on golfers’ geographic locations: GolfNow (U.S., U.K. and Ireland), Teeofftimes by GolfNow (U.K. and Ireland) and Qantas Golf Club by GolfNow (Australia).
“We’ve been planning this day for some time and are excited about our expansion into France through great partnerships with Open Golf Club and UGOLF,” said Brian Smith, general manager, GolfNow & Emerging Businesses International. “We anticipate that U.S. golfers will be motivated to play in France because of what they see whilst watching the Ryder Cup. Golfers worldwide can easily book tee times via GolfNow for a future trip, and because the U.K. and Ireland remain the number-one source of all golf tourism in France, GolfNow and Teeofftimes.co.uk now can be part of any golfer’s travel planning.”
“Open Golf Club is very happy to welcome GolfNow into France,” said Laurent Boissonnas, CEO, Open Golf Club. “As a leading high-end golf operator, we offer a portfolio of top quality courses, including three in the top-50 on the European continent. In addition to its famous ‘art de vivre,’ France offers a unique variety of golf courses and we are proud to give GolfNow customers the opportunity to discover them.”
“UGOLF is proud to join the GolfNow marketplace and, thus, offering special access to its French golf courses to international golfers,” said Pierre-André Uhlen, Director General, UGOLF. “Customer satisfaction is a UGOLF priority and we strive to offer our golfers the best services and technology at the forefront of innovation.”
Among the more than 600 golf courses throughout France, among the top-rated Open Golf Club courses that are making tee times available via GolfNow and TeeOffTimes are:
- Golf des Yvelines – just 35 miles west of Paris, in the heart of the Île-de-France region and nearby Ryder Cup host Le National Golf, these two courses are nestled in a natural environment, bordering the forest of Rambouillet.
- Le Touquet Golf Resort – An award-winning 45-hole golf destination, with its La Mer (The Sea) course among continental Europe’s Top 35 and ranked first in France.
- Golf d’Hardelot – Home to Les Pins (The Pines), this 36-hole club is a top French golf destination located inside a lush forest and one of the most beautiful golfing sites in Europe.
Among the top courses available on GolfNow and featured within the UGOLF portfolio are:
- Golf de Courson – host of the French Open qualifiers for 12 years, this property offers two distinct, 18-hole designs of varying difficulty that were crafted by architect Robert von Hagge.
- Golf du Château de Cely – located less than 50 miles south of Paris on the edge of the Fountainebleau Forest, this recently renovated gem has been transformed.
- Château de Rochefort – Designed by famous British architect Fred Hawtree, this par 71 is surrounded by the natural beauty of a French forest in Yvelines.
Reviews about golf courses located throughout France, including many that now can be booked via GolfNow, can be found at Golf Advisor, which currently features more than 700,000 golf course reviews of more than 15,000 golf courses around the world.
GolfNow is an innovative technology company specializing in golf-related products and services that is creating frictionless ways for golfers and golf courses to better connect. GolfNow operates the largest online tee-time marketplace in the world, offering more than 3.5 million registered golfers a variety of ways to stay connected to their favorite courses and the ability to easily book tee times online and via mobile devices any time of day. With offices in Orlando, Fla., and Belfast, Northern Ireland, GolfNow also provides technology, support and marketing services to nearly 8,000 golf courses in 24 countries around the world. GolfNow is included in the suite of digital businesses owned by NBC Sports and managed by Golf Channel, which is available to more than 500 million viewers worldwide. For more information, go to GolfNow Business.
About Open Golf Club
Open Golf Club is the first high-end French golf management company. Founded in 1987, it provides management services to 55 internationally renowned golf courses in Europe, including the full management of 15 courses in France and Belgium, and a network of partners of 40 clubs in six countries, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Open Golf Club partnered with the French Golf Federation in hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup 2018 at Le Golf National.
UGOLF is the leader in French golf course management, currently operating 50 golf courses in France and employing 700 people. Nearly 20,000 subscribers and 27,000 licensees trust UGOLF every year for golf enjoyment. UGOLF Academy trains 3,500 new golfers each year. Through its subsidiary, LeClub Golf, UGOLF operates a network of more than 140 golf courses in France, more than 300 golf courses in Europe and approximately 700 courses around the world. UGOLF is a subsidiary of Duval Group, a family-owned company operating in real estate, tourism and golf management.
-NBC Sports Group-
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.
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