Tight Race at Canadian Open

By Sports NetworkSeptember 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)ANCASTER, Ontario -- Four players share the lead after Friday's second round of the Canadian Open, but no less than 15 golfers are within two of the lead at a windy Hamilton Golf & Country Club.
Jesper Parnevik (68), Camilo Villegas (64), Arron Oberholser (68) and Jonathan Byrd (68) are knotted in first place through 36 holes. They stand at 7-under-par 133 and nine players, including overnight co-leaders Jim Furyk and Justin Rose, are only one shot behind.
Mike Weir
Mike Weir missed the cut for the second straight year in his National Open.
'It's fairly bunched up right now and in that sense, anyone can win,' said Parnevik. 'Whoever wins on Sunday is going to be the one that plays the best.'
The Swede, a five-time winner on the PGA TOUR who has not visited the winner's circle since 2001, started on the back nine Friday and flew out of the gate with birdies at 11 and 12.
From there, Parnevik valiantly battled windy conditions that featured gusts up to 30 miles per hour. He parred the next eight holes around the turn, but found trouble at the third.
Parnevik elected to hit driver and left himself with a sand-wedge approach. He hit a poor shot and walked off with a bogey. It took the former Ryder Cupper six holes to reclaim the lost stroke as he closed with a 9-foot birdie putt to grab his share of first.
'I'm happy playing the way I am now,' said Parnevik. 'This is a very tough golf course to start with. When you get winds like this, it's tough to figure out which direction the wind is coming from.'
Villegas, a PGA TOUR rookie, struggled early on Friday. He hit a terrible drive at one, then missed a 7-footer to save par. That would be the final mistake for the Colombian.
He birdied the second and fourth, then rolled in a 5-footer for birdie at No. 5. Villegas parred his next four holes to make the turn at 2-under-par 33.
Villegas parred the 10th, then hit two poor shots at the 11th. Luckily, he hit one good one, a chip-in birdie from 30 feet. Villegas made it back-to-back birdies with a 15-footer at the 12th.
On the 15th, Villegas sank a 60-footer for birdie and at 17, the rookie canned a 14-foot birdie putt to join the logjam atop the leaderboard.
'It wasn't easy out there, I can tell you,' said Villegas. 'It was gusting. I managed to roll some great putts. That makes up for it. Just got to keep doing what I'm doing.'
Oberholser, whose only win on TOUR came this year at Pebble Beach, teed off 10 first and rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt. He added another birdie on his opening nine when he knocked a pitching-wedge to 15 feet at the 14th.
On the second nine, Oberholser reached 8 under par thanks to a lob-wedge approach that landed 10 feet from the hole. Eight-under would be short-lived as Oberholser gave one back at the sixth, a hole he has bogeyed each of the first two rounds.
'I don't have a club for that hole,' admitted Oberholser. 'Five-wood is too much and 3-iron is not enough. Tomorrow, we're just laying up. I didn't bring all of the tools.'
Byrd was actually 1 over par with three to go, thanks to three bogeys and two birdies.
At the par-4 seventh, his 16th, Byrd ran home a 15-foot birdie putt to get to 5 under par for the championship. He holed a birdie putt from the same distance at eight, then converted a 9-foot birdie putt at his last to join the group at minus-7.
'Today was kind of a struggle all day,' acknowledged Byrd. 'It was windy and I was just kind of scraping it, making good pars. I made a couple of putts and made a couple of birdies.
Both Furyk and Rose struggled to rounds of 1-over 71. They were joined in fifth place by reigning Rookie of the Year Sean O'Hair (69), Nathan Green (70), Trevor Immelman (66), Tom Pernice, Jr. (68), Brett Quigley (63), Ryuji Imada (68) and Eric Axley (66). That group is at 6-under-par 134.
Former British Open champion Ben Curtis (66) and Brian Davis (68) are a shot back at minus-5.
Defending champion Mark Calcavecchia posted a 4-over-par 74 on Friday, but it was enough to make the weekend. He finished 36 hole on the cut line at even-par 140.
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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.