Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Amateurs Lamb and Buchan share Alliance

honours at Peterhead

By COLIN FARQUHARSON
With pros Greig Hutcheon and Greg McBain playing in Turkey and John Duff not threatening to score his seventh win of the season, the North-east Alliance honours at Peterhead Golf Club today (WED), were shared by two amateurs - local scratch man Drew Buchan and young Newmachar prospect Chris Lamb.
They headed a field of 83 players by shooting matching three-under-par 67s. It was a first NE Alliance this season for both.
Buchan crammed eight birdies into his round which included a double bogey 5 at the short 10th and three bogeys. He staged a grandstand finish by birdieing the last four holes for 34 home.
Lamb also had a double bogey on his card - a 6 at the fifth, but it was his only slip of the day and birdies at the sixth, seventh, eighth, 12th and 17th gave him halves of 34-33.
Buchan and Lamb finished a shot ahead of joint runners-up, professionals Laura Murray (Kippie Lodge) and Sean Lawrie (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre).
Laura would have won but for a triple bogey 8 at the seventh. She almost made up the lost ground by coming home in five-under 30, highlighted by an eagle 2 at the 17th and birdies at the 11th, 15th and 18th.
Sean had four birdies in a much steadier round.

SEE www.SGV ALLIANCES FOR ALL THE SCORES, PRIZEWINNERS AND TOP CARDS

2017 ALLIANCE FIXTURES TO COME:

January
25 Royal Tarlair

February
1  Buckpool
8  Newmachar Swailend
15 Spey Bay
22 Montrose Links

March
1  Fraserburgh
8  Duff House Royal
15 Portlethen (Championship Round 1)
22 Craibstone (Championship Round 2)
23 Craibstone (foursomes)
29 McDonald Ellon
Scotland trio slip back to fourth in PGAs of Europe title chase in Turkey


By COLIN FARQUHARSON
Scotland's Greig Hutcheon, Graham Fox and Greg McBain slipped back to fourth place over the second round of the PGA of Europe team championship at Gloria Golf Resort, Antalya, Turkey today (Wednesday).
Germany, with a team score of 134 - eight better than the Scots - jumped into the lead with a 13-under-par aggregate of 275, three shots ahead of Ireland, with England (279) third, Scotland (280) fourth and Wales (282) fifth in a field of 18 teams.
Germany's hero was Dennis Kupper who shot a nine-under-par 63 to lead the individual table by five strokes with a 36-hole tally of 137.
Greig Hutcheon is joint third on 139 with scores of 67 and 72.
Greg McBain has had a pair of 71s for a share of ninth place on 142, one ahead of Fox (72-71) who is tied for 21st place.

TEAM LEADERS
Par 288 (4x72)
275 Germany (D Kupper, F Jahn, C Godson) 141 134
278 Ireland (D Mooney, E Brady, McDermott) 137 141
279 England (A Raitt, P Hendriksen, S Brown) 142 137
280 Scotland (G Hutcheon, G Fox, G McBain) 138 142
282 Wales (G Houston, S Runcie, L Bond) 143 139
286 Netherlands
287 Finland
288 Turkey, Denmark, S Africa.
295 Russia, Italy.
303 Czech Rep
304 Poland
305 Switzerland
306 Slovenia
319 Bosnia
339 Serbia

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
132 D Kupper (Ger) 69 63
137 D Mooney (Ire) 67 70
139 P Hendriksen (Eng) 71 68, G Hutcheon (Sco) 67 72

OTHER SCOTS' SCORES
142 G McBain 71 71 (T9)
143 G Fox 72 71 (T12)

European Tour membership a must for Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain

By     
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Keith Pelley has issued his strongest message possible since taking over as chief executive in August 2015: give up European Tour membership in future and you can forget about becoming Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain.
Forever.
Four players will gain automatic selection from an enhanced European points list, with tournaments immediately before the match carrying more points.
 Starting from the 2018 BMW PGA Championship, Race to Dubai points and world points will be multiplied by 1.5. That dynamic helps the Tour maximise most of the new events on the Rolex series.
So should the fact that no points will be available from tournaments that clash with Rolex Series events. It should mean Bjorn gets players who are performing at their best just before the match.
“For example, if a player right now at age 33 is playing on both tours and plays in the Ryder Cup, and then decides for whatever reason that he is eligible to play on the European Tour but he decides to just play the PGA Tour and gives up his membership, then he is no longer qualified to become a vice-captain or a captain of the Ryder Cup team.
“Just like you couldn’t be President of the United States if you are not a U.S. citizen, we felt it was important that not if you’re just living in America, you have to have some ties to Europe.
“You have to actually embrace what’s happening on the European Tour, and you have to be conscious of the young players and what’s coming up and developing relationships with them and we felt that was very important.”
The regulation comes into effect from 2018 onwards.
Cameron only one off the pace as Law crashes out of Red Sea Egyptian Classic

By COLIN FARQUHARSON
Peterhead's Ross Cameron (Saltire Energy), Chris Robb (Meldrum House) and Kevin Duncan (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) survived the halfway cut with ease in the Pro Golf Tour's Red Sea Egyptian Classic at Sokhna Golf Club, near Cairo today (WED).
But David Law (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) crashed out with a nine-bogey round of 77 for a 36-hole tally of 147 - one shot too many.
Team-mate Philip McLean from Peterhead (73) and former Scottish amateur champion Alex Culverwell (72) from Dunbar) failed to make it on 150.
Cameron, tied for fourth place on seven-under 137, only one stroke behind the three joint leaders, has amassed 11 birdies over his first two rounds of 69 (5) and 68 (6), making gains at the second, third, fifth, eighth, 12th and 17th in halves of 32-36 today.
Robb, from Banchory, had an eagle 3 at the par-5 eighth and birdies at the 13th, 14th and 16th in compiling a second-round 71 for a share of 11th place on 141.
Ellon's Duncan ran up a double bogey 6 at the seventh but birdies at the 10th, 14th and 17th in an inward 33 for a par 72 helped him share 20th place on 142.

RED SEA EGYPTIAN CLASSIC
Sokhna Golf Club, nr Cairo.
LEADING SECOND-ROUND SCORES
par 144 (2x72)
136 I A El Ela  (Egy) (am) 67 69, S Matus (Cze), J Steiner (Aut) 69 67,
137 R Cameron (Sco) 69 68, R Van West (Ned) 71 66

OTHER SCOTS' SCORES
141 C Robb 70 71 (T11)
142 K Duncan 70 72 (T20)
MISSED THE CUT
(146 and better qualified)
147 D Law 70 77
150 P McLean 77 73, A Culverwell 78 72









TO VIEW ALL THE SECOND-ROUND TOTALS

CLICK HERE
Ramsay signs ambassador agreement with Dionach
 
Dionach, one of the world’s fastest growing Cyber Security specialists, has signed an ambassador agreement with three time European Tour winner Richie Ramsay.   

 James Byrne T23 after opening 71 in Malaysia

Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, January 18: Martin Dive of Australia fired a sparkling eight-under-par 64 to lead by three shots in the opening round of the Asian Development Tour's PGM CCM Seriemas Championship on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old Dive traded eight birdies and one eagle against two bogeys to get off to a flying start in the first Asian Development Tour (ADT) event in 2017.
Steve Lewton of England, an Asian Tour winner, Dino A. Giacomazzi of the United States, Lion Goh of Malaysia and Thai duo Sorachut Hansapiban and Panuwat Muenlek fired matching 67s to trail the leader at the Seriemas Golf and Country Club.
Malaysian trio Kiishaan Tharmalingam, Solomon Emilio Rosidin and Ali Reza Khairuddin were a further shot back in tied seventh place at the RM220,000 (approximately US$49,000) ADT event. 
Starting from the first nine, Dive carded five birdies and one bogey on the front nine before bouncing back with an eagle on hole one. He slipped back with a bogey on the next hole but recovered nicely with three birdies including two on his closing holes. 
He missed out on an Asian Tour card at Qualifying School in Thailand last week but he hopes to make amends on the ADT, where the top-five players on the Order of Merit at the end of the season earn playing rights for the following season.
“I’m excited to be over here. This is my first ADT and I’m enjoying my time in Asia. Not the result I wanted in Thailand but was playing quite nicely. I got off to a nice solid start and kept the momentum going,” said Dive.
“The top-five on the Order of Merit gets status next year and it is a great way to play four rounds of golf and boost your chances to play on the main Tour. There’s also an option to get three wins and get on Tour quicker,” he added.
Banchory's James Byrne is tied for 23rd place with a 71
 
Leading first round scores:
 par 72
64 - Martin DIVE (AUS)
67 - Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) , Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) , Dino A. GIACOMAZZI (USA) , Steve LEWTON (ENG) , Lion GOH (MAS)
68 - Kiishaan THARMALINGAM (MAS) , Solomon Emilio ROSIDIN (MAS) , Ali Reza KHAIRUDDIN (MAS)
69 - Pitipat PITIMANA-ARE (THA) , Brian JUNG (CAN)
70 - Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) , Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) , Nick SHERWOOD (USA) , Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) , Joshua MANSKE (USA) , Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) , Sam CYR (USA) , Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) , John CATLIN (USA) , Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) , Scott SECORD (CAN)
71 - Kevin TECHAKANOKBOON (THA) , Janne KASKE (FIN) , Tawit POLTHAI (THA) , Supajak SUPAPINYO (THA) , Puk PRADITTAN (THA) , Brett MUNSON (USA) , Chanat SAKULPOLPHAISAN (THA) , Arie Irawan (MAS) , James BYRNE (SCO) , Peter LANSBURGH (USA)
72 - William CANNON (USA) , Kenneth DE SILVA (MAS) , Seungjae MAENG (KOR) , Mohammad WAFIYUDDIN (MAS) , Masaru TANI (JPN) , M. Sasidaran (MAS) , Purilarp EUAMMONGKOL (THA) , Noel HASSAN (MAS) , Kelby BURTON (USA) , Nattawat SUVANAJANAKORN (THA) , Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) , Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) , Sang LEE (CAN)
 
Greig Hutcheon posts a 67 in PGAs of Europe team championship in wettish Turkey
 
 
NEWS RELEASE
The PGA in Ireland’s Damian Mooney, Michael McDermott and Eamonn Brady made their intentions clear through Round 1 of the 2016 International Team Championship at Gloria Hotels and Resorts in Turkey, aiming to win a Championship that has eluded them for the last seven editions.

Damian Mooney of Ireland and Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon made light of the damp conditions to each post five-under-par rounds of 67 (-5). With each team comprising three members and the best two scores counting, Ireland go into day two with a slender advantage at the head of the field on seven-under (137) as they attempt to win the trophy for the first time since 2008.
Ireland Set the Pace in Quest to End Seven-Year Glitch - https://youtu.be/adet-v2Tsgo
Watch Interview Highlights With Ireland's Damian Mooney & Michael McDermott
Eamonn Brady, who was a member of that winning ‘08 line-up at Roda in Spain, was in action again at the tournament’s current home, Gloria Golf Club in the Turkish resort of Belek.

He weighed in with a round of one-under (71) while teammate Michael McDermott negotiated the New Course in two-under (70). However, both were upstaged by Mooney.

His round comprised six birdies and one bogey as Ireland opened up with a round of seven-under to lead Team Scotland by a stroke.
For Full Round 01 Scores Visit http://eur.pe/ITC-2016
And just as Mooney inspired the Irish, the Scots had their own talisman in Greig Hutcheon.  He also finished on five-under after a round that, like Mooney, featured six birdies and a solitary bogey.

Greg McBain also registered for the Scots with a round of one-under while Graham Fox, a member of the trio that lost in a play-off to France in 2015 and won the event in 2014, was level par.
Just three strokes behind second on three-under (141) are the teams of Germany and the Netherlands, whilst England lie in fifth on a two-under (142) total, having squandered a promising start.

Team Germany were inspired by Dennis K├╝pper, whose round of three-under (69) was the second best individual performance of the day, and Joost Steenkamer followed suit for the PGA of Holland, posting a round of two-under (70).

Team Finland and Team Wales share sixth pace on a one-under par total (143).

Not far behind on one-over (145) lie the PGA of Russia, the early leaders in the chase to be the second winners of the International Team Shield.

The Shield will be awarded to the team representing a PGA with 100 members or fewer and defending champions Turkey are two shots further back on three-over.

LEADING SCORES

Seven under par PGA in Ireland
Six under par PGA in Scotland
Three under par  PGA of Germany, PGA of Holland
Two under par PGA in England
One under par PGA of Finland, PGA in Wales

LINK TO INDIVIDUAL SCORES

CLICK HERE
------------------------
For more information on the PGAs of Europe visit the Tournament Hub Page (http://eur.pe/ITC-2016), follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter search the Hashtag ‘#ITC’, or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.
For more information on Gloria Hotels & Resorts visit www.gloria.com.tr.
 
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Three pairs tie for victory at PGA in Scotland four-ball at Craigielaw

By COLIN FARQUHARSON
Three pairs of professionals - Graham Forbes (Mar Hall Hotel) and Chris Doak (unatt), Craig Ronald (Carluke) and Scott Caitlin (Affordable Golf), and Alan White (Lanark) and former Ryder Cup player Ronan Raffery (unatt) - tied for victory in the rescheduled PGA in Scotland winter-ball four-ball competition at Craiglielaw Golf Club, East Lothian today.
The three leading pairs all had better-ball rounds of six-under-ball 65. Each of the pairs won £323.
A total of 22 pairs took part in the competition which was postponed last year because of bad weather.

SCOREBOARD
par 71
65 G Forbes (Mar Hall Hotel) and C Doak (unatt); C Ronald (Carluke) and S Caitlin (Affordable Golf); Alan White (Lanark) and Ronan Rafferty (unatt) (£323 each pair).

66 S Gray (Lanark) and C Elliott (Haggs Castle), N Huguet (Musselburgh) and G Wright (West Linton) (£135 each pair).

67 I Anderson and Samuel Cairns (Colville Park) (£80 per pair).

68 T Higson and D Blackadder (Gleneagles Hotel); K McNiven and M Rae (Drumoig).

69 C Everett (Caldwell) and S Savage (Dalmuir); P Robinson (Largs) and S Binning (Mearns Castle); I Young and P McKechnie (Braid Hills).

70 G Hillson (Winterfield) and M Hillson (Kilconquhar Castle); M Huish and E Bowden (North Berwick); O Huish and P Wardell (North Berwick); P Jamieson (Dunblane New) and P Brookes (Pitreavie).

71 L Gaughan and C Curran (Bathgate); A Good and M Owenson (Gullane).

72 M Loftus (Mearns Castle) and S Payne (Cowglen); S Wilson (Carrick on Loch Lomond) and J Bell (Lanark).

73 F Dunlop and M Galley (Gleneagles Hotel).

76 J Calam and G Still (Turriff).

82 P Edgcombe (Forrester Park) and C Fairweather (Kirkintilloch).


Ross Cameron T6 with a three-under 69 at Sokhna Gc, Cairo



SCOTS TO FORE IN RED SEA
 
EGYPTIAN CLASSIC

By COLIN FARQUHARSON
Scots were to the fore in the first round the German PGA Developmental Tour's Red Sea Egyptian Classic at Sokhna Golf Club, about one hour's drive north of Cairo today.
Ross Cameron (69) is tied sixth, three shots behind English leader James Wilson (32-34 for six-under 66).
David Law, Chris Robb and Kevin Duncan are sharing 14th place on the two-under-par 70.
Cameron, pictured, birdied the first, fifth, eighth, 13th and 17th, bogeying only the fourth and 15th in halves of 33 and 36.
Ross is from Peterhead and still lives in the "Blue Toon." He did his PGA training at Ellon.
Cameron, no longer supported by the Paul Lawrie Foundation, is still sponsored by Saltire Energy.
Law birdied the fifth, eighth, 11th and bogeyed but dropped shots at the 12th and 17th in halves of 33-37.
Robb had a tremendous eagle 2-birdie 3 start and went on to bogey the short sixth and eighth as well. Then he came off the boil and covered the last 10 holes in one over par for halves of 32-38.
Duncan had bogey-free halves of 31-36 with birdies at the second and 13th.
Young Sam Kiloh had an eagle 3 at the 17th but it was too little, too late with 39-37 for 76 and a share of 66th place in the field of 96.
Philip McLean had one birdie in halves of 38-39 for 77 and a share of 74th place.
Former Scottish amateur champion Alexander Culverwell is tied 80th after 78.

RED SEA EGYPTIAN CLASSIC
Sokhna GC, near Cairo.
LEADING FIRST ROUND SCORES
par 72
66 J Wilson (Eng)
67 S Matus (Cze), J-P Neujendorf (Ger), I A El Ela (Egy), P Figueiredo (Por).

SCOTS' SCORES
69 R Cameron (T6).
70 D Law, C Robb, K Duncan (T14)
76 S Kiloh (T66)
77 P McLean (T74)
78 A Culverwell (T80)
 
Field of 96 players.

Gemma finishes T4 in Aussie Ladies

pro-am, earns £652

Aberdeen-born, Beaconsfield-based Gemma Dryburgh earned £652 for a tied fourth finish today (Tuesday) in the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour's Mulpha Norwest Ladies pro-am over 18 holes at Castle Hill Golf Club, Sydney in New South Wales.
Gemma, a former Curtis Cup player, shot a round of two-under-par 72.

Gemma, pictured at a previous tournament, finished three strokes behind the winner of the £2,304 first prize, Australian rookie and University of Tennessee graduate Emily McLennan whose surname suggests she is descended from Scottish stock.
Emily, 22, who turned pro last August, scored her first win in the pro ranks with a five-under-par 69, a stroke ahead of Switzerland;s Fabienne in Alba.
Australian Sarah Oh was third on 71.
Past Scottish women's amateur champion and also a former Curtis Cup player, Michele Thomson (Meldrum House) from Ellon, did not have a good day Down Under. She signed for a round of six-over 80 and finished out of the money (top 30 and ties).

LEADING SCORES
par 74
69 Emily McLennan (Australia).
70 Fabienne in Alba (Switzerland)
71 Sarah Oh (Australia).
72 Kyla Inaba (Canada), Nikki Garrett, Stefanie Delgreco (USA), Gemma Dryburgh (Scotland), Jenna Hunter (NZ), Ellen Graham (Australia) (T4)
73 Hannah Collier (USA), Alexandra Bonetti (France), Ali Orchard
(Australia), Felicity Johnson (England), Marion Ricordeau (France) (T10).

SELECTED OTHER SCORES
74 Charlotte Thomas (England) (T15).
79 Sophie Walker (England) (T49)
80 Michele Thomson (Scotland) (T57)



TO VIEW ALL THE FINAL TOTALS

CLICK HERE

VisitAberdeenshire heads to PGA Show at Orlando later this month


 NEWS RELEASE VisitAberdeenshire is teeing up for success by heading Stateside to showcase Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s world-class golf facilities to a global audience.

The tourism organisation will visit the US PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida  from January 24-27 - one of the world’s biggest golf shows – where they will meet with key industry professionals in a bid to boost the region’s golf tourism trade.
The trip is the latest initiative in VisitAberdeenshire’s drive to increase golf tourism in the north east of Scotland, following sponsorship of the Northern Ireland Open last year.
Jenni Fraser, pictured above, business development manager at VisitAberdeenshire, says: “Golf has long been one of the biggest draws for visitors to the North-east, attracting both leisure and business tourists throughout the year.
“Holidaymakers looking to play at some of the world’s most famous links courses, and business visitors using the fairways for networking and incentive travel, have lots to discover in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“Golf is worth around £220 million to the Scottish economy every year, and it is estimated that golfers spend 120% more than other visitors. With such fantastic facilities in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, there is a real opportunity for local golf courses and tourism businesses to capitalise on and benefit from that income.
“By attending the PGA Merchandise Show – a major event in the golf world - we’ll be able to communicate the strength of the offering that we have here in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to hundreds of key contacts.”
Research commissioned by Scottish Golf Tourism and VisitScotland shows that Scotland is third on a list of desirable golfing destinations across the globe (#1 Spain, #2 Portugal, #5 Ireland, #9 England).
Jenni continues, “The North-east of Scotland is home to over 50 top golf courses, including some of the sport’s most recognisable names: Royal Aberdeen, Trump International, Cruden Bay and Newmachar. But it also features some of the UK’s quirkier and more historic courses, including Britain’s highest 18-hole course at Braemar, and Fraserburgh where play dates back to at least 1613.
“Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have something to offer golfers of all levels, whether serious enthusiasts looking to tick a renowned course off their bucket list or casual players seeking a friendly nine-hole challenge. From stunning links courses to incredible inland courses, the north east has it all.”
VisitAberdeenshire will be joined at the PGA Merchandise Show by tour company Bonnie Wee Golf, which creates exclusive golf trips to some of the most exclusive courses in Scotland – including many in the North-east – and Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Course.
David Harris of Bonnie Wee Golf says, “For a long time, golf has been a key attraction in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and every year we see golfers coming from America to play some of the most famous courses in the world, right on our doorstep.
“The chance to visit one of the world’s biggest golf exhibitions with VisitAberdeenshire is a fantastic opportunity to network with industry professionals, discuss the sport’s latest developments, and show what we in the north east of Scotland have to offer the global golfing community.”
Andy Burgess of Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Course adds, “We are delighted to be partnering with VisitAberdeenshire and Bonnie Wee Golf at the 2017 PGA Show in Orlando. We have been attending the show for the last seven years, and as a result have welcomed hundreds of American golfers to stay at Meldrum House to play golf around the north east.
“Attending events like the PGA Show sends out a very positive message and shows that we are serious in developing our international golf market, encouraging as many global visitors as possible to experience golf in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”
For more information about golf facilities and in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit www.visitabdn.com/attractions-and-activities/golf

Monday, January 16, 2017

Second course back on plan for Trump's Balmedie Links

NEWS RELEASE
Donald Trump and his organisation are expanding the Trump International Golf Links at Balmedie, 12 miles up the North-east coastline from Aberdeen.

The Aberdeenshire Council has approved a proposal that will allow a second 18-hole golf course to be built on the resort, the clubhouse of which is pictured right.
Though the original proposal was sent in 2015, the announcement comes at a curious time.
Last week, an attorney for the President-elect made a promise that “no new foreign deals will be made whatsoever” by Trump's businesses, in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest during his presidency.
However, a spokesperson for Trump said the plans do not apply to this ban, as it is not a new foreign deal. “Implementing future phasing of existing properties does not constitute a new transaction so we intend to proceed," she  said
This is not the first time the resort has seen controversy. Its opening saw a backlash as the property was built on "a unique, protected area" for wildlife, and last summer it was reported that Trump had tax discrepancies on both the Aberdeen and Turnberry properties
McIlroy forced to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
 
EUROPEAN TOUR COMMUNICATIONS
Rory McIlroy has been forced to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after tests revealed he has sustained a rib injury.
The Northern Irishman underwent extensive clinical examinations today (Monday) after picking up the injury in South Africa last week. McIlroy will now commence rehabilitation and will return to golf when he is fully recovered from the stress fracture.
He said: “It’s bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament, which is one of the best on the European Tour thanks to the incredible support of HSBC and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
"To be forced to miss this week through injury is really quite annoying to be perfectly honest, but I am sure the tournament will be a huge success and I hope everyone involved has a great week.
“In situations like this you simply have to listen to the experts, and the team I have consulted have all advised me to rest until my rib has fully recovered.”
EUROPEAN TOUR COMMUNICATIONS

Rising star Jordan Smith now 93 in world rankings after top-3 finish in South Africa

EUROPEAN TOUR COMMUNICATIONS
Jordan Smith continued his remarkable rise up the ranks of world golf with a top three finish on Sunday at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni – moving the Englishman up to 93rd in the latest Official World Golf Ranking.
The 24 year old Bath-born Englishman, who lives at Chippenham, has been on a steady ascent since turning professional in 2014, winning the satellite EuroPro Tour in 2015 before going on to top the 2016 Road to Oman Rankings during his first European Challenge Tour campaign the following season.
The reigning Road to Oman Number One, who triumphed twice last year in Egypt and Ras Al Khaimah, showed nerves of steel during the final round at Glendower Golf Club, pushing World Number Two Rory McIlroy and the experienced Graeme Storm close in front of huge crowds.
While Storm’s play-off victory over four-time Major Championship winner McIlroy has taken most of the headlines, Smith’s own Cinderella story has caught the eye of many golf fans.
After playing in just his fifth European Tour event, Smith was rightly ecstatic with his week’s work in Gauteng.
"That was insane," he said. "Like nothing I have experienced in my life and I absolutely loved it. I am very pleased.


"I was very, very nervous at the start of the round so to make those (early) putts was a big help and really settled me into the round.
"It was just such an amazing experience today, especially coming up the last hole there. Honestly – it was just insane.
"I am absolutely delighted with the week overall. I would have loved to have won but I got myself into contention and looking forward this experience will be invaluable for my future.
"I just can't wait to play in front of crowds like this again. This has exceeded all of my expectations ahead of the week. I knew I was playing well and was confident coming here but I didn't expect to end up in this situation."
Back to back wins have propelled American Justin Thomas up to No 8 in the rankings.
Russell Knox is No 18 after tieing for 11th place in the Sony Open with a closing 69 for 14 under par. The Florida-based man from Inverness  was two-over after 11 before picking up three birdies in the last seven holes
With three top 10s and five top 25s in five starts so far this season on the US PGA Tour’s wraparound schedule, "Knoxy" is sitting eighth in the FedEx Cup with earnings of $1,038,334.
A million dollars already! Nice work if you can get it!

Updated World top 21 pros:
1 Jason Day.                                        11 Bubba Watson
2 Rory McIlroy                                    12 Danny Willett
3 Dustin Johnson                                 13 Justin Rose
4 Henrik Stenson                                 14 Rickie Fowler
5 Jordan Spieth                                    15 Sergio Garcia
6 Hideki Matsusyama                          16 Paul Casey
7 Adam Scott                                       17 Brendon Grace
8 Justin Thomas                                   18 Russell Knox
9 Patrick Reed                                      19 Brooks Koepka
10 Alex Noren                                      20 Matt Kuchar
                             21 Phil Mickelson


 
Woody Austin starts with a 59 before winning Diamond Resorts Invitational

By: | January 15, 2017 5:49 pm
A week that started with 59 was never going to end with anything but glory.
Woody Austin finished off a wire-to-wire win at the Diamond Resorts Invitational Sunday, cruising to the title in the modified Stableford format at Tranquilo Golf Club in Lake Buena Vista, Florida
But Austin wasn’t the only victor on this fine day. The Diamond Resorts Invitational is a compound tournament, with 27 US PGA Tour Champions and four LPGA pros competing for a $750,000 purse while 47 celebrities vie for a $500,000 purse in a separate competition.
Austin won the affair among the pros, but the celebrity portion belonged to Mark Mulder, a former ace for the Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals.
     In fact the duo played together the last two rounds of the 54-hole event, which afforded an added comfort on both sides.
Mulder said watching the smooth tempo of a PGA Tour Champions player in Austin helped him calm down his own swing. It helped even more to watch Austin only miss one of 14 fairways Sunday.
“When you see that first ball (in the group) go down the middle, it’s amazing what that does for me, letting me hit my tee shot, and the good vibes that almost gives me going next,” Mulder said.
The calming feeling was mutual.
Austin began the week with an incredible 43-point round Friday. How good is that? In standard strokes, it added up to a 59, just a day after Justin Thomas recorded his at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open.
While this tournament is an unofficial PGA Tour Champions event, making this 59 an unofficial one, it got Austin, who only started practicing last week after resting due to offseason hernia surgery, revved up and in command from the start, as he took a nine-point lead over Joe Durant through Round 1.
His final margin would be eight points, as he’d acquire 104 points (with 31 coming on the final day) over 54 holes, with Durant second at 96.
How did Mulder help Austin, though? While the celebrities generally don’t stack up to the pro golfers on the links, the three-time PGA Tour Champions winner in 2016 felt Mulder held his own, which aided Austin’s own play.
“Even though it’s a fun format and it’s an enjoyable format, you still want to stay in rhythm … When you’re playing with somebody else who even may be supposedly a celebrity or whatever but they play just as good as you do, it makes it a lot easier to just kind of keep in your own game.”
Austin’s own game was one of supreme ease. It was a sizable lead all the way through the week and he said he put himself in solid positions throughout Sunday. The only green he didn’t find was on No. 18, and his sole missed fairway came at No. 9 … because he actually hit it too far and the ball bounded through the short grass.
Mulder, on the other hand, began the final round three points behind NBA legend Ray Allen. Mulder’s move into the lead really became apparent when he chipped in for eagle at Tranquilo’s par-5 seventh.
He followed by birdieing the eighth, but he then hit it in the water at No. 9. And that’s where his biggest moment of the day arose.
Mulder left himself about 20 feet for par from off the green after finding that trouble. He drained the putt.
“It just allowed me to relax, right when I was kind of getting those nerves again,” Mulder said. “That par putt was bigger than anything.”
Three holes later he made a similar length putt for eagle, and he wouldn’t be caught from there.
Justin Thomas sets US PGA Tour 72-hole record as he wins Sony Open from Rose

By Kyle Porter, CBS
By the halfway point on Sunday at the Sony Open, it was all over but the assault on the record books. Justin Thomas closed out his dominant two-tournament stretch in Hawaii with a 65 on Sunday to set the all-time US PGA Tour scoring record in a 72-hole event at 253.
His score breaks the mark of 254 set by Tommy Armour III at the 2003 Texas Open. Thomas finished at 27 under for the four-day event and won by seven shots from Justin Rose (64-260). Thomas also set the lowest 36-hole scoring record (123) and tied the 54-hole record (188).
PlayerYearTournamentScore
Jusitn Thomas2017Sony Open253
Tommy Armour III2003Texas Open254
Mark Calcavecchia2001Phoenix Open256
Russell Henley2013Sony Open256
Phil Mickelson2013Phoenix Open256
On Sunday, Thomas made a bogey at the fourth hole and didn't make his first birdie until No. 8. But from there, he went on to make five more including one at the final hole of the tournament to shoot his 5-under 65. His scores for the week were 59, 64, 65 and 65 for the 253 total.
"I was really nervous this morning," Thomas told Golf Channel. "I had a hard time getting in a comfortable frame of mind. I tried to stay patient. [The record] is awesome. I told [my caddie] with two holes left, 'We need to get one of these last two.' It's been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable."
 
It was a remarkable display of golf from a golfer who definitely had the record mark in sights. Thomas played the back nine with a focus that said he was trying to protect a one-shot lead at a major instead of cruising in to a seven-shot win in Hawaii.
Thomas pulled off the Hawaii double with his Tournament of Champions win last week. He is the only golfer to win both Hawaii tournaments to start a US PGA Tour season other than Ernie Els in 2003. Els finished a combined 47 under that week. Thomas finished 49 under this week.
To put this in perspective, the No. 5 player in the world, Jordan Spieth, was 35 under at the two Hawaii tournaments. He lost by a combined 14 strokes to Thomas. That is preposterous.
"I was telling [caddie] Michael [Greller] out there, honestly it felt like we were playing a different tournament," said Spieth after getting toasted by eight strokes. "I honestly felt like I was trying to win the tournament for second place. J.T. just pretty unbelievable what he's doing right now. He's got full control of his game, full confidence, and he's executing under pressure. It's a lot of fun to see.
"I wouldn't say a good player that's hot, and I wouldn't say it's birth of a guy either. I would say it's just a tremendous player who's already been at that level, just takes winning a couple of times, I think. Then they start to fall."
Thomas has also now joined one of the more exclusive clubs of the last 30 years. He is also just the third player in the last 30 years to win in back-to-back weeks at age 23 or younger.
It was an incredible day for the 23-year-old to cap an incredible two weeks. Thomas has had the trajectory of a superstar since he was no taller than a sand wedge. His resume has now caught up with that label, and 2017 has already (already!) been a year to remember for Thomas. He will take (at least) three wins into the Masters three months from now, and now he will be one of the favorites.
"I'm so excited for the Masters," said Thomas. "I said that as soon as I finished last year, as soon as I finished the majors last year. I feel like it's a course that's really good for my game. It was so tough last year and I wasn't playing well to where I didn't have much. It's just such a fun place to play and a cool atmosphere. I'm so ready to get back there."
Rose won $648,000 for his second place finish.
Scotland's Russell Knox earned $144,000 for a T11 finish on 266 with rounds of 64, 67, 66 and 69.

Sony Open Grades

Justin Thomas (1st): 72-hole scoring record? There's nothing else to give him. Grade: A+
Jordan Spieth (3rd): You know, if Thomas had not gone to Hawaii, Spieth would have had a win and a second-place finish. Of course, Thomas did go, so Spieth is coming back to the continental United States empty-handed, but everyone should be encouraged by the way Spieth struck it at Waialae.
He finished first in the field in approach shots this week which was his weakness throughout 2016. The putter will eventually get smoking hot for entire tournaments (like it did for short stretches in Hawaii), and Spieth will go on a two- or three-tournament tear that will make us wonder if he will ever lose again. Grade: A
Justin Rose (2nd): Rose curiously putted as well as he struck the ball this week. Usually he hits it far better than he rolls it. If he had hit his approach shots like he normally does (top 10 in the field), he might have rolled with Thomas on Sunday. Still, it has to be frustrating to shoot 66-64-66-64 and get beat by nearly double digits.
I actually like the the putting grip Rose is currently employing with his putter even though it looks a little quirky. He'll win multiple times this season if he keeps rolling it like he did this week (top 25 in the field in strokes gained putting). Grade: A
 
Hideki Matsuyama (T28): In retrospect, maybe we should have seen this coming. Matsuyama came into the week as the hottest golfer on the planet, but he does not leave the week that way. That title now belongs to Thomas who has won three of his last four US PGA Tour events.
So why should we have seen this coming? Well Matsuyama does not excel at Waialae Country Club. He had played here four times with three missed cuts and a T78. Matsuyama's putter fell apart as he dropped outside the top 60 in putting this week and made far too many double bogeys (2) and bogeys (6) to contend at this tournament. Grade: C


CBS Sports Writer

LEADING FINAL TOTALS
Par 280 (4x70) Yardage 7,044
253 J Thomas (USA) 59 64 65 65
260 J Rose (England) 66 64 66 64
261 J Spieth (USA) 65 67 66 63
262 K Kisner (USA) 70 67 60 65, J Lovemark (USA) 64 67 66 69

SELECTED TOTAL
266 R Knox (Scotland) 64 67 66 69 (T11) 

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