Month: May 2021

Diaz maintains Marathon lead with late rally on Day 2

first_imgSYLVANIA, Ohio – Laura Diaz almost chose to walk away from golf to spend more time at home with her family. Now she’s making the decision to juggle both jobs seem like a shrewd move. ”I love being a mom; it’s the greatest thing in the world,” she said after following a 9-under 62 with a solid 69 on Friday to maintain a three-shot lead through 36 holes at the Marathon Classic. ”It’s hard for me when I have to choose. So I made a list. My family is first, and then golf comes second and we work everything out in between.” Chasing her first win since 2002, Diaz is at 11-under 131, three shots ahead of Lee-Anne Pace and Lydia Ko. Diaz led by four shots over Pace and Austin Ernst after the first round. She was pleased her game was sturdy enough to hang on to the lead despite being in the heat of contention for the first time in several years. ”It was just a challenge because I haven’t been in this position in a very long time,” Diaz said. ”For sure, I haven’t had cameras on me in a long time.” So she took the opportunity to say hello to her kids – 8-year-old son Cooper and 4-year-old daughter Lilly. ”(The cameras) get in my face and I don’t really know what to do,” she said. ”I said, ‘Hi, kiddos. I love you.’ That kind of stuff.” She made sure the cameras stuck around with her strong play down the stretch. After a nine-birdie, no-bogey effort in the first round, she showed signs of faltering early on Friday. She had her first bogey of the tournament on the sixth hole to fall back into a tie with Pace and Ko, but then regained her touch after getting par on the next six holes. Starting at the 13th, she birdied four of the next six, including the par-5 closing hole. Diaz was a rising star early in her career, winning twice in 2002 and playing on four Solheim Cup teams. After she married Kevin Diaz, she found that she liked being a wife and mother more than traveling the world playing golf. She hasn’t been in the top 20 of a tournament since 2010. Before the season she was torn between coming out on tour and staying home so as not to miss any of the daily routine. In the end, she decided to keep playing. ”(It was) knowing that I could manage being a mom and play. I think that’s something I’ve struggled with, for, well eight years,” she said. ”When I only had one (child) I think I got to a point where I was OK. But with two you’ve got twice as much to get done. Pace, a South African who is an alum of the University of Tulsa, is looking for a breakthrough win on American soil. After a 68, she couldn’t contain herself. ”I’m very happy about (my) position,” said Pace, who has won eight times on the Ladies European Tour. ”I would like to be in contention on the weekend. That’s when the fun starts, right?” The 17-year-old Ko is bidding for a second LPGA title as a pro to go with the two she won as an amateur. She shot a second consecutive 67, turning in 1 under and then posting three birdies on the inward nine. The key, she said, was to keep her emotions in check. ”I try and be calm. You know, that’s what you have to do,” she said, sounding far older than a rookie. ”Being overly happy or overly angry, that’s not going to help me.” Lurking another shot back at 135 are 2012 Marathon winner So Yeon Ryu and Rebecca Lee-Bentham, both of whom shot 67s. Ryu was grouped with U.S. Open winner Michelle Wie and last week’s Women’s British Open champion Mo Martin. A large gallery followed the threesome. ”It was really great to be playing with the two major champions,” Ryu said. ”I felt like I was one of the other major champions.” Brittany Lang had the day’s low round (66) and was at 136 along with Kayla Mortellaro. Cristie Kerr (67) led the pack of six golfers at 137. Defending champ Beatriz Recari of Spain followed a 70 with a 68 and was at 138 along with Martin, who shot a 71. Wie missed the cut by seven strokes.last_img read more

Best team or not, Euros motivated

first_imgCHASKA, Minn. – Did you hear last week, when U.S. captain Davis Love III made the eyebrow-raising comment that his U.S. Ryder Cup team was “the best golf team maybe ever assembled.” Of course you did. It was everywhere. “It raised some eyebrows around our team, too,” Love said Tuesday, while the best golf team maybe ever assembled practiced at Hazeltine. But only because he believes his remarks were taken out of context. And he might have a point. Anyone who knows the difference between a Titleist and a TaylorMade can look at this roster and determine that it isn’t the best ever. (1981, anyone?) Dustin Johnson is the presumptive Player of the Year. Jordan Spieth added two more titles to his growing collection. But other than that? The Americans have combined for just three wins this year. This probably isn’t even the best team this decade. So, yes, Love’s comment was brash, bordering on arrogant. It was probably unwise, too, given the Americans’ recent history in this event. But it also was misinterpreted. Listen to the full interview, Love said Tuesday. And so we did. Again. This was the question posed by “Fairways of Life” host Matt Adams, in a final sendoff before Love headed to Minnesota for this week’s matches: What is your counsel to your team coming in? Love began by saying that the Americans put too much pressure on themselves and tend to panic when things start poorly, that they play defensively. Then he told a story about Tom Kite, his captain in 1997. The Ryder Cup is all about an attitude, a mindset, a swagger, and Kite told him if you’re 2 up, push it to 3 up. Try to crush your opponent. “If we go out with that attitude, like he was saying, “Love said, “we are the better team. Let’s show them. Let’s go out there and show off. That’s a big part of it. “And then just having confidence. We don’t have to do anything superhuman. We’re a great golf team. This is the best golf team maybe ever assembled. If we just go play our game – like coach (Bill) Belichick told us a few weeks ago – ignore the noise, work hard, do your job, everything else will take care of itself.” Listen to the clip quickly, and it’s easy to conclude that Love believes this might be the best 12-man roster in history. He did say that, after all. Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos But the original question was not: Where does this team stack up all time? No, it was: What is your counsel to your team coming in? And so, he says, he plans to tell those 12 players that they’re the best team maybe ever assembled. He already has, apparently. “Captain told us he believes – as anybody should tell their team – that we’re the best team in the world,” Spieth said. “And we believe that, as well.” It’s the same speech that’s been delivered in every locker room and clubhouse, in every sport, at every level, for decades. “That’s what Nick Saban would tell his team when they’re getting ready to go play Ole Miss,” Love said of the famously intense Alabama football coach. “He wouldn’t say, ‘You guys have done a pretty good job this week, and you’re a pretty average team, let’s go out there and just give it a good shot.’ No, he’s going to say, ‘You guys have worked hard, you’re the best team I’ve ever seen, so let’s go crush these guys.’” Somewhere along the way, though, that context was lost – not that the Europeans minded the easy bulletin-board material. Rather than ignore the noise, as Belichick suggested, the typically mild-mannered Love instead turned up the volume. And the Europeans heard it loud and clear. Lee Westwood poked fun at Love’s bravado on Twitter. Last week, Rory McIlroy sent his own zinger: “They’ve definitely assembled the best task force ever, that’s for sure.” Added Sergio Garcia: “You don’t win Ryder Cups with your mouth. You win them out there on the golf course.” And so Love might as well have walked into the media tent Tuesday with an extinguisher, prepared to snuff out any of the simmering controversy. “It’s just unfortunate that, in that nice conversation, it got misconstrued,” Love said. “Obviously that comment, and to the other extreme, the comment about the European team” – NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller said the Europeans have the worst team they’ve had in years – “is not what this is all about.”  Love said he has talked to Clarke about both remarks and that there were no hard feelings. Nor should there have been. It’s all in good fun. The light ribbing is part of what makes the Ryder Cup so spirited. It’s not war – it’s a three-day exhibition with nothing at stake but pride and bragging rights. But while Love clarifies – or, to some, backtracks – the Europeans have gladly accepted the free motivation. “I don’t think it’s hard for us to find motivation,” McIlroy said, “because anywhere you look, whether it be the sea of red you see on the golf course, or the comments that are made in the media by the U.S. team or by the captain, that gives us so much motivation already.” And here he got a bit cheeky. “Whenever we are going up against one of the greatest teams ever assembled,” he said, “that’s motivation enough.” Sorry, Davis, but it’s clear that the one-liners are just beginning – win or lose.last_img read more

Dodt keeps lead at Aussie PGA; Scott 4 back

first_imgGOLD COAST, Australia – Andrew Dodt held the lead for the third straight round at the Australian PGA Championship on Saturday, hanging onto a two-stroke cushion after Adam Scott started fast but faded and Harold Varner III scrapped on the front nine and finished strongly. Dodt had five birdies and three bogeys as he went around in 70 on Saturday, moving to 14 under 202. A two-time winner on the European Tour, Dodt finds himself on rare ground going into the last round. “My wins have been from behind, so this is new to me,” he said. “I’m really trying to embrace it and enjoy my time out there. “The first three rounds are irrelevant now. There are a lot of world- class players behind me, so I’ve got to keep the foot down.” Varner started the day five shots off the pace and narrowed the gap to two, moving into a share of second spot at 12 under with Australian Ashley Hall after carding a 67 that included eagles at the 15th to the 17th and a clutch putt for a bogey at the 18th. Hall had two eagles and twice pulled level for the lead, but bogeys on the last two holes meant he finished with a 70. Varner, who was a runner-up here last year after losing a three-way playoff, had eight straight pars before a birdie at the 9th. He had another birdie at the par-5 12th and then unleashed a 364-meter drive (which he needed Scott to translate to 400 yards) on the 15th to set up an eagle. He had double-bogey at that same hold — plus the 16th — on Friday, so the big tee shot was a confidence boost. At the 17th, he holed a wedge from 114 meters and had a mini celebration. On the last, with thunder in the background and lightning in the distance, he hit into a bunker and put his third shot left of the green. So, he said, the putt for bogey “was awesome.” “I hit it left, right and center,” he said, explaining the damage limitation. “Good momentum going into tomorrow, I’m super excited …. set up best as I’m going to be without leading.” Former No.1-ranked Scott, who won the Australian PGA Championship in 2013, the same year he won the Masters, finished the third round in a share of fourth with John Senden after a 70. Scott had birdies at the 2nd and 8th and an eagle at the 9th to charge up the leaderboard but was wayward off the tee on the back nine, twice finding the water, and mixing three bogeys with another birdie to finish at 10 under. “I’m going to have to shoot a low score, but there’s a low one out there, that’s for sure,” Scott said of the last round. “I have to go out and have a good front nine and kind of get up near the lead like I did today. If I can do that, then there’s a lot of pressure on the other guys who are trying to get maybe their first wins here of a big event.” Ryan Fox slipped off the pace with three bogeys on his first five holes and was seven shots off the pace at 7 under in sixth place.last_img read more

McCarron birdies last 3 holes to win Dick’s

first_imgENDICOTT, N.Y. – Scott McCarron birdied the final three holes to beat California childhood rival Kevin Sutherland by a stroke Sunday in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. McCarron closed with an 8-under 64 a day after shooting a 61 at En-Joie to join Sutherland atop the leaderboard entering the final round in the PGA Tour Champions event. ”To go low like I did the last couple days, I’ve never played that kind of golf for two days,” McCarron said. ”My hat’s off to Kevin. He played such good golf and it just got to be match play. It was like we were back in high school playing against each other, it was so much fun.” The 52-year-old McCarron matched Sutherland with a birdie on the par-4 16th, took the lead with a 12-footer on the par-3 17th and won with a 15-footer on the par-4 18th after driving well right and hitting an approach over trees. He finished at 20-under 196. ”To birdie that last hole from where I drove it, I drove it so bad, I think they’re going to put a plaque out there,” McCarron joked. Sutherland birdied the 16th and 18th in a 65. ”I played really well this week, no complaints,” Sutherland said. ”Scott played fantastic. It was a lot of fun. I’ve known Scott since junior golf, so it was a lot of fun.” McCarron has three victories this year and five in the last two seasons on the PGA Tour Champions. The three-time PGA Tour winner won the Allianz Championship in February and the major Senior Players Championship in July. Sutherland missed a chance for his first senior title – and another chance to top his old Sacramento rival. Sutherland’s lone PGA Tour victory came in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. ”I know if I keep doing what I’m doing, eventually it will happen,” said Sutherland, who shot a PGA Tour Champions-record 59 three years ago at En-Joie. ”But I did a lot of good things today and I can build on that.” Sutherland holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 ninth to tie McCarron for the lead, and pulled ahead with a birdie on the par-5 12th. McCarron tied it again with a birdie on the par-4 13th. ”I needed to birdie one more hole the last three and he got it done,” Sutherland said. ”That’s the difference, he birdied the last three and I birdied two of the last three.” John Daly (66), local favorite Joey Sindelar (69) and Woody Austin (68) tied for third at 13 under. Charles Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer was 12 under after a 69. The 59-year-old Langer has a tour-high four victories, winning three of the five major championships.last_img read more

Build better holes, not longer courses

first_imgIt’s become trendy the last few months to leverage the ongoing debate over how far modern professionals hit the golf ball by warning that unless something is done to stem the distance tide, 8,000-yard golf courses will become the norm. Jack Nicklaus has warned about this for years, and last week Tiger Woods took a similar message to the masses during an ESPN podcast with Geno Auriemma, who is a wonderful basketball coach but probably out of his depth when it comes to the intricacies of modern golf course architecture. “The only thing I would say is that we need to do something about the golf ball. I just think it’s going too far because we’re having to build golf courses . . . if you want to have a championship venue, they’ve got to be [7,300], 7,400 yards long and if the game keeps progressing the way it is with technology, I think that the 8,000-yard golf course is not too far away,” Woods said. To hear Woods talk, you’d think the prospect of 8,000-yard golf courses is a terrifying one, at least for course designers. To them, it’s the Keyser Soze of modern golf. “That’s pretty scary,” Woods said. “We don’t have enough property to be designing these types of golf courses. And it just makes it so much more complicated.” There is wisdom to Woods’ words; on this the statistics don’t lie. In 1997, Woods was second on the PGA Tour in driving distance with a 294-yard average, just behind John Daly, the only player to average over 300 yards (302) off the tee. Last year, Rory McIlroy led the way with a 317-yard average and a total of 43 players averaged more than 300 yards off the tee. Any way you slice it, whether it be vastly improved equipment, better agronomy, fitness, teaching, whatever, players are hitting it drastically farther than they did just 20 years ago. What doesn’t seem as obvious, however, is the idea that 8,000-yard golf courses are the answer. Until they prove otherwise, let’s assume golf’s rule makers, the USGA and R&A, are going to continue to hold the current line when it comes to how far the golf ball travels. Without a fundamental shift to the Rules of Golf, statistics suggest it’s not longer courses that are the answer so much as it is better-designed golf courses. Consider June’s U.S. Open as Exhibit A. The behemoth Erin Hills was designed to host a major championship, a sprawling layout that played 7,741 yards; and yet Brooks Koepka finished at 16 under and Justin Thomas set a U.S. Open scoring record with his 9-under 63 on Saturday. To be fair, the winds that normally whistle across that corner of Wisconsin in the summer were nonexistent and Koepka did win by four strokes, but the point is still valid – longer doesn’t always mean harder. Erin Hills, the longest course on Tour in ’17, ranked as the sixth-toughest, behind the likes of TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, which was the 12th-shortest course at 7,107 yards; and just ahead of Colonial, the circuit’s seventh-toughest that played to 7,209 yards and a par of 70. In fact, if you crunch the numbers the correlation between more distance and increased difficulty seems mathematically skewed. If you were to take, for example, the statistically toughest and longest holes last year on Tour and create a composite course, this layout would stretch 8,794 yards and played to a 74.49 stroke average based on a par of 72 (four par 3s, 10 par 4s, four par 5s). That’s just slightly tougher than Quail Hollow (73.46 stroke average), which hosted the PGA Championship in August at 7,600 yards. By comparison, if you took the statistically toughest and shortest composite course last year, the total yardage would be just 5,578 yards and it played to a 67.54 stroke average. The difference in yardage between these two manufactured examples would be 3,216 yards and the difference in scoring average would be 6.95 strokes, or about 460 yards per stroke. If, in fact, the desired outcome is more difficult scoring averages an additional 460 yards per stroke is a zero-sum game and should be considered by all accounts a worst-case scenario. But then not all holes are created equal. Players regularly vote some of the circuit’s shortest holes among the best. Frames like the par-3 12th at Augusta National, which at just 155 yards ranked as the 10th-toughest par 3 on Tour last season. Or the par-4 10th at Riviera, which at 315 yards was the sixth-shortest par 4 on Tour in ’17 but held its own with a 3.87 scoring average. The debate over what should be done to “fix” the game will continue to rage as long as players regularly launch tee shots well past the 300-yard barrier, but the notion that 8,000-yard courses are the answer seems wildly simplistic and statistically undesirable. It’s not longer holes that will make the hard-swinging pro set reconsider the bomb-and-gouge strategy, it’s better-designed holes.last_img read more

Politics, kids, golf (not necessarily in that order) for Gulbis

first_imgNatalie Gulbis has political aspirations. She turned down a chance to run for the congressional seat in the third district of Nevada after giving it serious consideration last year, but she is keeping her eye on other opportunities, especially something that will allow her to be an advocate for youth. She loves children. “I would love to have kids,” she said. “We’ve been trying.” So many paths exist for the 35-year-old married LPGA pro, whose Cover Girl looks and charismatic personality continue to keep her in demand through all the injuries that have challenged her for the better part of the last decade. She had her own reality TV show on Golf Channel, appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice,” an episode of “CSI” and on “The Price is Right.” She worked as an analyst for Fox Sports’ golf coverage and modeled for an SI Swimsuit Issue and FHM magazine. She calls opening the Natalie Gulbis Boys and Girls Club in Las Vegas in 2010 her greatest achievement. Photos: Natalie Gulbis through the years Her talents abound, but … “I still love competing,” Gulbis said. “I love being an athlete, everything about being an athlete, even coming back from injuries. That’s part of being a professional athlete. “The physical therapy, the work and discipline it takes to come back, I know it sounds like I’m sugar coating things, but I’ve enjoyed the whole process. Yes, you would rather be out on tour, but I’m excited for another opportunity to come back and play.” And that’s why after undergoing her fourth back surgery, a discectomy last October, she isn’t ready to give up the game to pursue another endeavor. Those other opportunities, whatever they may be, can wait. There’s still golf to be pursued, from her return to the LPGA this year to her introduction as the newest headliner for the American Century Championship celebrity event in Lake Tahoe, July 13-15 (click here for more information). She will be announced with much fanfare by tournament organizers on Tuesday. “As frustrating as it can be, I still love the game,” Gulbis said. “Last weekend, I wanted to break every single club in my bag. Today, I want get back out there and figure it out.” Gulbis made a promising start last week at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, putting up a 69 in the first round to get into early contention, before faltering with a 74 to miss the cut. It was just her fifth start this year. After seven months away while recovering from her last back surgery, she launched her comeback in April at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open. She made the cut, but it’s been a slow climb since, with four missed cuts. “It’s good to be back, but it’s also frustrating,” said Gulbis, who claimed the Evian Championship as her lone LPGA title in 2007, long before it was a major. “I haven’t played that many events, so I haven’t played that well. You can’t substitute competition. “I haven’t had any issues with ball striking. It’s my putting, and course management mistakes. I’m making mistakes I feel like I made early in my career, but the more I play the more confident I am that it will work itself out.” Gulbis played just five events last year, playing around back pain that returned in late spring of 2017. She hurt herself hitting a shot from a buried lie in the front of a bunker near season’s start. “I took a couple weeks off, tried to recover, but I knew I needed surgery again,” she said. “I hoped I wouldn’t need it, that my back would repair itself, with some different modalities, hyperbaric chamber and rest, but it wasn’t helping.” So Gulbis elected to have another discectomy, and she is grateful she did. “Within just a couple weeks, I felt better than I had all year, since I was injured,” she said. “To be able to walk without pain, travel without pain, and just to be able to play golf again, forget the competition, was great. I like to play a lot.” Gulbis had her first back surgery in 2008. She has been limited in how much she can practice since that first surgery, but she relishes the time she gets. Making her return in Los Angeles was special, she said. There are so many new, young players on tour, but still so many old friends. “It was like the first day of school and a high school reunion,” she said. Scores still matter to Gulbis, but she keeps score in a lot of ways. The charitable function of tournament golf matters to her, as does growing the game. “I enjoy being part of that,” she said. It’s what continues to make her one of the game’s most devoted ambassadors.last_img read more

Ariya could win, literally, everything at finale

first_imgNAPLES, Fla. – Ariya Jutanugarn may need a wheelbarrow to haul away all the awards she is poised to claim at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship this week. She could sweep every important honor. The 22-year-old Thai could walk away looking as if she is dominating the tour. She isn’t, though. Nobody’s dominating the tour these days, not really. The LPGA is settling into a period of unequivocal parity. It’s tougher than ever to win. That’s the marvel of what Jutanugarn is doing with this potentially epic sweep. She has won just three times in 2018, equaling Sung Hyun Park for most victories. If Jutanugarn or Park don’t win this week, it will mark back-to-back years that no LPGA player has been able to win more than three times in a season. That’s never happened since the tour was founded 68 years ago. Your browser does not support iframes. Twenty-five different players have won this year. That’s more winners in a single season in almost a quarter of a century, since 26 different winners won in 1995. There were also 10 first-time winners this year. That’s the most in more than a decade, since there were 11 first-time winners in ’05. The Rolex world No. 1 ranking has changed hands five times over the last year. “It’s getting much tougher to win,” said Lydia Ko, the former world No. 1 who ended a 19-month victory drought winning the Mediheal Championship outside San Francisco back in April. “The amount of talent on our tour is incredible. And for players who have had multiple wins within the season, how great have they been? It inspires us and drives us to play better and work harder.” Jutanugarn has already clinched the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the LPGA money title and the Rolex Annika Major Award. She need only avoid a major collapse this week to assure she wins the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. Jin Young Ko has to finish about 15 strokes ahead of Jutanugarn to have a chance to take the Vare Trophy from her. Minjee Lee has to finish about 20 strokes ahead of Jutanugarn to win it. Jutanugarn is also the favorite to win the season-long Race to the CME Globe and its $1 million jackpot. She leads the point-standings after the re-set going into this week’s finish. She’s one of only 12 players who can claim the jackpot, one of just five who is guaranteed to win it with a victory this week. Nobody has ever won the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy, the LPGA money title and Race to the CME Globe in the same season. Jutanugarn could do all of that while also ending the season as the Rolex world No. 1. While the Thai sensation isn’t piling up wins this year, she’s a fixture on leaderboards, just about a constant weekend presence with a chance to win. Nobody has been more consistent. With her second-place finish at the Blue Bay LPGA last weekend, Jutanugarn clinched yet another award, the LPGA’s newest. She claimed the Leaders Cosmetics Top 10 competition with her 16th top-10 finish in 27 starts. “It’s great to become the first player to get my name on this trophy,” Jutanugarn said. “I just do my best. It feels good to win awards, but also I feel like I have so much fun, because this game is really a challenge to me, and I still can improve myself every day, no matter how many titles I win.” Jutanugarn may be tough to beat this week. She has some good history at Tiburon Golf Club. She won the tournament last year, and she claimed the $1 million CME Globe jackpot the year before. “I’ve been playing a lot of good weeks this year, even when I did not win the tournament,” Jutanugarn said of her consistency. “I’m really proud of myself.”last_img read more

Jin Young Ko rallies to win Founders Cup

first_imgPHOENIX — Jin Young Ko rallied to win the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday for her third LPGA Tour victory, closing with a 7-under 65 for a one-stroke victory over four players. The 23-year-old South Korean player birdied Nos. 14-16 and parred the final two to finish at 22-under at Desert Ridge. She won when third-round leader Yu Liu missed a 15-foot par putt on the par-4 18th. Your browser does not support iframes. Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup Liu shot a 70 to tie for second with playing partner Carlota Ciganda and sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda. Ciganda closed with a 69, Jessica Korda eagled the two back-nine par 5s in a 64, and Nelly Korda shot 66. Ko rebounded from a second-round 72 with a 64 on Saturday to pull within four strokes of Liu. She has three top-three finishes in four events this year.last_img read more

Fleetwood (68) makes charge at British Masters

first_imgSOUTHPORT, England – Tommy Fleetwood shrugged off the effects of a virus to move into contention to win the British Masters as a late stumble from Matt Wallace in the third round threw the European Tour event wide open on Saturday. After going 47 holes without dropping a shot, second-round leader Wallace bogeyed the 12th and ran up a double bogey on the 15th – after his wayward drive hit a spectator on the head – in shooting a 2-under 70. He was level in first place on 14-under 202 overall with Marcus Kinhult (68). Fleetwood, who is hosting the tournament at Hillside in his home town of Southport in northern England, said he struggled for energy and believes his son Frankie, who had tonsillitis last week, ”has given me something.” Still, the world No. 16 holed from 25 feet for an eagle on the 11th and also birdied Nos. 12, 14 and 17 to shoot a 68 and delight the sell-out crowd. Fleetwood was 11 under, three strokes off the lead alongside Robert MacIntyre (68). Full-field scores from the Betfred British Masters ”It’s not been ideal,” Fleetwood said. ”It’s one of them things, just another challenge. I forgot my paracetamol in the bag so Clare (his wife) had to get me some on the 13th tee and that pretty much saved me on the way in. ”Whatever happens, I’m going to be going out late on the back nine on Sunday and the crowd comes to watch that, which is great.” Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, seeking his first win for four years, was two shots off the pace after a 71. Wallace is still in a good position to claim a fifth European Tour title in just two years. ”We are in great shape,” he said. ”It’s not about winning it on Saturday. It’s about putting yourself in good position, so looking forward to tomorrow now.”last_img read more

Walters (71) maintains lead at U.K. Championship

first_imgBIRMINGHAM, England — South African golfer Justin Walters shot 1-under 71 to stay in the lead after the second round of the U.K. Championship on the European Tour on Friday. On a rainy day at The Belfry, Walters was unable to follow up his 64 in the opening round and saw his lead cut from three strokes to one. An impressive par save on the last hole moved him to 9 under overall, just ahead of Benjamin Hebert of France (69). Paul Waring of England was a shot further back after a 67. Full-field scores from the ISPA Handa UK Championship Two more Englishmen, Marcus Armitage (68) and Matthew Jordan (69), were at 6 under alongside Ryan Fox of New Zealand (67) and Bernd Wiesberger of Austria (71). Walters said he was taking a ”somber, relaxed approach” to his golf a year after the death of his father. ”Whatever comes my way, comes my way,” he said. ”When something good happens, smile and enjoy it. That’s got me through some tough moments already this week in terms of the situations I’ve found myself in. I plan to continue that on the weekend. ”It would be nice not to have to lose someone in my family for me to produce good golf. I’m working on that hard and I’m starting to gain some ground in all areas of my game. This has been a good test and this is what we play for.”last_img read more