Sam Brazel produced a stunning approach shot to the final hole to set up the brilliant birdie which defeated Rafa Cabrera Bello by one shot and secured his first European Tour title at the UBS Hong Kong Open.
The Australian began the week ranked 480th in the Official World Golf Ranking but entered the final day at Hong Kong Golf Club tied at the top of the leaderboard alongside Ryder Cup star Cabrera Bello in just his 17th European Tour appearance.
At one point there were six players in a tie for the lead on the back nine but Brazel held off a group with 11 European Tour titles between them, and an eight-foot putt on the last handed him a closing 68 and a 13 under par total.
Cabrera Bello had birded the 16th and 17th to set up a grandstand finish down the last but he could only make a par and finish 12 under as Brazel’s incredible approach set up just the second birdie of the day on the closing hole.
Australian Andrew Dodt and England’s Tommy Fleetwood were then at 11 under, a shot clear of American David Lipsky and two ahead of Masters Champion Danny Willett.
Brazel was visibly emotional as he lifted the trophy and the 37 year old credited a new set of clubs with helping get him over the line. The Australian is expected to move into the top 150 in the world when the rankings are published on Monday.
Sam Brazel: “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been playing good but it’s been a bit of a struggle with the old irons but I got set up with a new set of clubs, and it’s all sort of turned around. This is the fruit. I wouldn’t say I got the shot into the last straight out of the middle but I’m pretty stoked where it finished, I’ll tell you.
“I think I still had some nerves on the first tee today, but I settled in pretty quickly today. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I had a great playing partner in Rafa. I was stoked to play with him for the last two days. It was a thrill to be out there the last few days and I hope that continues and I have a lot more days like this in the future. I am really looking forward to getting over to Europe and playing on the European Tour. It will be a great privilege.”
Rafa Cabrera Bello: “Obviously the week if you look at it overall, it’s a great week, finishing second. Just a little disappointed today. I managed to start good again but then struggled halfway through the front nine. I battled back really hard again, same as yesterday. But then Sam just played a fantastic 18th hole.
“Obviously I am still proud of the performance. I messed up a little obviously on seven and eight but I stayed calm and waited for my chances. I gave myself lots of opportunities. Some didn’t fall, but at the end, 16 and 17, they were two great putts that did go in. The one on 18th, almost, as well. In the end, it’s a good week. It’s just a bitter taste finishing runner-up.”
Round four scores
267 S Brazel (Aus) 66 66 67 68,
268 R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 64 65 70 69,
269 T Fleetwood (Eng) 66 68 67 68, A Dodt (Aus) 69 67 67 66,
270 D Lipsky (USA) 66 70 66 68,
271 D Willett (Eng) 68 66 71 66,
272 P Waring (Eng) 71 68 68 65,
273 P Larrazábal (Esp) 69 70 68 66, D Chia (Mas) 69 66 71 67,
274 M Fraser (Aus) 71 69 68 66, J Kruger (RSA) 66 72 69 67, J Scrivener (Aus) 67 69 68 70, J Campillo (Esp) 66 71 70 67,
275 C Pigem (Esp) 68 68 71 68, S Lewton (Eng) 68 67 73 67, L Wenchong (Chn) 70 70 69 66, J Pagunsan (Phi) 67 71 68 69, D Howell (Eng) 70 70 63 72, E Molinari (Ita) 72 68 64 71, P Uihlein (USA) 66 70 69 70, T Jaidee (Tha) 67 68 69 71, A Da Silva (Bra) 69 71 68 67, P Angles (Esp) 69 71 71 64, J Stalter (Fra) 70 70 66 69,
276 B Rumford (Aus) 71 68 67 70, S Gallacher (Sco) 69 70 66 71, W Ormsby (Aus) 68 72 67 69, G Bourdy (Fra) 69 68 73 66,
277 J Walters (RSA) 67 67 69 74, P Dunne (Irl) 68 69 67 73, S Lee (Kor) 72 68 64 73, T Khrongpha (Tha) 71 67 68 71, H Chien-Yao (Tpe) 69 66 74 68, P Meesawat (Tha) 73 66 69 69, A Atwal (Ind) 70 70 66 71,
278 D Boonma (Tha) 67 71 70 70, D Im (USA) 69 67 68 74, J Smith (Eng) 66 73 70 69, J Rose (Eng) 70 69 70 69, B Hebert (Fra) 66 70 69 73, P Pittayarat (Tha) 69 71 66 72, N Kimsey (Eng) 67 70 69 72,
279 P Reed (USA) 70 70 70 69, D Perrier (Fra) 69 68 70 72,
280 S Rahman (Ban) 67 70 70 73, P Peterson (USA) 66 68 72 74, J Fahrbring (Swe) 67 70 70 73, R Rock (Eng) 70 68 73 69, A Björk (Swe) 69 71 71 69, G Bhullar (Ind) 69 69 71 71,
281 S Hend (Aus) 69 68 70 74, M Tabuena (Phi) 69 69 71 72, T Pilkadaris (Aus) 69 69 71 72,
282 S Kapur (Ind) 68 69 68 77, M Jiménez (Esp) 69 68 72 73, C Paisley (Eng) 69 71 67 75,
283 D Drysdale (Sco) 69 70 72 72, S Gros (Fra) 65 73 73 72, N Elvira (Esp) 66 73 69 75,
284 J Janewattananond (Tha) 69 71 72 72,
285 I Poulter (Eng) 68 72 71 74, C Phadungsil (Tha) 71 69 71 74, T Chuayprakong (Tha) 73 67 68 77, D Brooks (Eng) 75 65 73 72, P Tangkamolprasert (Tha) 69 71 72 73, N Srithong (Tha) 69 70 72 74,
287 N Bertasio (Ita) 67 70 71 79,
288 M Armitage (Eng) 68 71 75 74
USGA conforming golf club to revitalize driver category; signature “vertical grooves” design element proven to deliver greater distance and better accuracy
Boston, MA … November 16, 2016 … Vertical Groove Golf, LLC, the golf industry’s newest original equipment manufacturer, today introduced the cutting-edge Vertical Groove Driver, the first USGA conforming golf club to enter the market featuring vertical groove technology on the club face – which is proven to deliver greater distance and better accuracy off the tee.
The Vertical Groove Driver’s signature design element – vertical grooves on the club face – reduces side spin at impact, leading to 40% straighter ball flight on average. The configurations of the vertical grooves also help alleviate a golfer’s tendency to hook and slice their drive, which promotes better accuracy. Additionally, the vertical configurations, an array of shorter vertical grooves combined with vertical land areas perpendicular to the club face, help golfers generate greater energy at impact, resulting in a stronger forward roll and increased driving distance.
Backed by proven research and extensive testing by Golf Laboratories, Inc., the leading independent golf club testing facility in San Diego, CA, the Vertical Groove Driver consistently outperformed the top drivers in spin rate and distance, as well as center, heel and toe dispersion.
“The performance attributes of the Vertical Groove Driver will benefit all golfers, including low-handicappers and golfers that have a tendency to hook or slice off the tee,” said Rubin Hanan, Managing Partner, Vertical Groove Golf, LLC. “Vertical Groove technology on the club face reduces side spin at impact, while generating more forward spin, resulting in better accuracy and increased distance off the tee.”
“I’ve had the good fortune to find and use a driver with a new concept that maximizes distance and improves direction,” said Mike Schultz, 2012 PGA Professional of the Year. “The Vertical Groove Driver is as long, or longer than any other driver I have ever used and is noticeably straighter because I hit more fairways. My average drive has increased dramatically and I also found that the sound and feel at impact is what I want in a driver. I would have never known it, if I hadn’t given it a try. Give it a chance and try it!”
Available in both right and left handed models, the 450cc Vertical Groove Driver is offered in 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degree lofts, and features a full range of Aldila premium grade, tour proven aftermarket NV2K series shafts as standard. The available flexes include: 45 gram L (Ladies), 50 gram A (Senior), 55 gram R (Regular), 65 gram S (Stiff) and 65 gram X (Extra-stiff). At a length of 45.75 inches, the Vertical Groove Driver provides an optimum launch angle while maximizing carry distance and ball speed for many players. It is equipped with Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips in standard, midsize and oversize models. Alternative shaft options from Fujikura, Mitsubishi and Aldila will also be available. Suggested retail price of the Vertical Groove Driver is $399.99, and the product will be available in December 2016.
“We’ve tested golf’s only Vertical Groove Driver with TOUR players, PGA Professionals, amateurs and junior golfers, and the results have been tremendous,” said Jeff Barry, CEO, Vertical Groove Golf, LLC. “Vertical Groove technology is a game changer for the golf industry.”
More information on Vertical Groove Driver is available at vertgolf.com or via social media profiles on Facebook and YouTube at Vertical Groove Golf, and @vertgolf on Twitter.
Vertical Groove Golf, LLC is the golf industry’s newest original equipment manufacturer, and the first company to bring to market a golf club with vertical grooves on the club face. Backed by extensive testing from the leading independent testing facility in golf, the USGA conforming golf club is proven to deliver better accuracy and greater distance off the tee. Guided by a leadership team comprised of accomplished business executives, and complemented by veteran golf equipment design and marketing experts, the Company’s Headquarters is located in Boston, MA, with its manufacturing facility based in Jupiter, FL. For more information on Vertical Groove Golf, please visit Vertgolf.com.
Focused on Premium Craftsmanship and Improved Forward Roll, TP Putters Feature Precision Milling and a New Pure Roll(tm) Insert
Basingstoke, Hants. (18th October, 2016) – TaylorMade Golf Company announced today the forthcoming release of an entirely new line of putters, named the TP Collection, landing in March/April 2017. Comprised of 6 distinct models, five of which feature a 303 stainless steel construction for solid feel and skim-milled machining for exacting contours, the TP Collection utilises new materials and new milling processes not only to enhance the aesthetics of each putter, but also to improve the product’s performance.
nspired by the insert played by the #1 & #2 golfers in the world Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, each TP putter employs TaylorMade’s new Pure Roll insert for improved roll. The insert combines 45° grooves with a softer polymer to promote better forward roll and reduce skidding across varying surfaces. The composition and construction of the Pure Roll insert is specially engineered to bring the grooves into direct and active contact with the ball during impact, even on short putts. The grooves in the face also serve in part to strategically soften the insert’s structure. Together, these factors make the insert perform at a very high level.
The new naming convention for the putters within the TP Collection draws inspiration from areas, regions, and landmarks of some of the world’s greatest golf destinations and historic courses.
Juno & Soto
Juno and Soto are classically designed blade putters with heel-toe weighting for optimized balance, control and feel. The Juno (first played by Sergio Garcia in Hazeltine at the Ryder Cup) features longer squared off contours with a single sightline on top. The pads also have fine linear machine lines. The Soto retains short, rounded and soft edges with a single sightline in the back cavity. Each blade-style model comes stock with a plumber’s neck hosel. The Soto hosel has a classic scalloped hosel for a slightly lighter weight. Both heads feature two 10 gram weights in the sole.
Mullen & Berwick
Mullen and Berwick make up the classic mallet tour proven models of the TP Collection. Mullen boasts a more compact mallet design with two sightlines on the back cavity and a short “S” hosel that allows for a slight toe hang of 38 degrees. Berwick is the more traditional rounded mallet shape with a thicker topline and single sightline on the back cavity. Berwick also includes a slight step-down cavity and a single bend ¾ shaft offset to create a face-balanced hang. Both mallets feature two 5 gram weights in the sole.
Ardmore & Chaska
Arriving in 2017, Ardmore and Chaska add mid-size modern mallets to the TP Collection. Ardmore features a deep cavity with dual sightlines to improve balance and alignment. The Ardmore is 355 grams and cast from 303 stainless steel for a larger MOI. The shaft is a double bend with ¾ offset, face balanced with 3.5 degrees loft. The Tour proven Chaska revisits the design of the original TaylorMade Corza Ghost with the familiar circular alignment aid in the back of the putter and three sightlines on top. The Chaska is also face balanced and has ¾ shaft offset. Both mid-size mallets include the precise milling and Pure Roll insert associated with the TP Collection of putters.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Four of the six models; Juno, Soto, Mullen and Berwick are available at retail in March 2017, with the Ardmore and Chaska coming in April 2017. The entire TP Collection is available in 34″ and 35″ lengths. Each putter comes equipped stock with a Lamkin Sink Rubber grip and an optional upgraded Super Stroke 1.0 GT Pistol grip.
Pricing is to be confirmed.
For more information visit www.taylormadegolf.com
Carlsbad, Calif. (Oct. 11, 2016) Cobra Golf, a leader in golf club innovation and technology, today introduced the ultimate players iron, the KING FORGED TOUR, along with its first FORGED TOUR ONE LENGTH set. The ONE LENGTH version is currently in the bag of PGA TOUR professional and COBRA PUMA GOLF athlete, Bryson DeChambeau. With Tour proven performance, these irons are optimized for performance providing the soft feel, distance and precision demanded by the best golfers.
“The KING FORGED ONE LENGTH irons are perfect for my game – allowing me to perform at the highest level,” DeChambeau. “My preferred feel is a forging, which these irons deliver along with a more compact head and reduced offset design for trajectory and shot-shaping control.”
The KING FORGED ONE LENGTHTM utilizes a 5-step forging process that ensures precise iron shaping, a more refined grain structure, along with unparalleled feel for better players. The set is comprised of constant length irons that have been re-engineered for 7-iron weighting and are designed with optimized geometries, to provide consistent trajectory and distance gapping from long irons to wedges. In addition, the KING FORGED ONE features 100% CNC Milled Face and Grooves for maximum spin and trajectory control, Tungsten Weighting (in 4i-7i) for a lower and centered CG and a Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Insert (4i-8i) behind the hitting zone to damp vibrations for better feel and moves weight toward the perimeter for added heel and toe relief. Nickel chrome plating provides better aesthetics and durability for great looking and longer-lasting irons. The KING FORGED ONE, available in right-hand only in steel stiff and regular flexes, will offer a 4-PW standard set make-up and will feature a MAP price of $999. They are offered stock with Lamkin Crossline ACE blue grips with red & white accents and KBS TOUR FLT steel shafts (120g stiff; 110g regular).
Rounding out the COBRA Golf 2017 iron family are the new KING FORGED TOUR irons that offer Tour-proven performance, feel and precise shot-making. The KING FORGED TOUR irons utilize the same premium technologies as the KING FORGED ONE, but with a traditional set length and head weight progression. The KING FORGED TOUR, which also use a 5-step forging process, are designed with Tungsten Weighting employing high-density tungsten weights that are strategically positioned on the sole of the clubhead for a lowered and centered CG that delivers the ideal blend of forgiveness and precision. A TPU Insert located behind the hitting zone damps vibrations and improves feel while CNC milled faces and grooves improve the structure and maximize spin and trajectory control. The KING FORGED TOUR, available in right-hand only, offer a standard stock set composition of 4-PW (3i and GW available in custom) steel stiff/regular flexes, with a MAP price of $999. They are offered stock with Lamkin Crossline – Black grips and KBS TOUR FLT steel shafts. Premium chrome plating provides the perfect finish for these great looking, long-lasting irons.
COBRA Golf’s offering also includes ONE LENGTH (MAP $119) specialty wedges in 56o v and 60o v featuring the a KBS TOUR FLT steel shaft and Lamkin Crossline ACE -Blue grip with red and white accents, and the same 7-iron length as the KING FORGED ONE LENGTH set. The Versatile grind design features toe, heel and trailing edge relief and is combined with COBRA’s iconic notch technology which allows the club to sit square and lower at address. COBRA’s patented milling technique delivers optimized surface roughness across the face that helps maximize spin and control for more precise shots around the green. The ONE LENGTH Wedge is designed with 8620 nickel chrome plated carbon steel for a stunning looking wedge with extreme durability. Available January 13, 2017.
For more information on the entire KING family of products, visit cobragolf.com
Scottsdale, AZ (September 6, 2016) – Today, PXG formally announced the release of the PXG 0311XF iron collection. Featuring the company’s groundbreaking TPE Core Technology, the new game improvement irons offer xtreme forgiveness and a superior feel, while maintaining the irresistible look of a PXG blade.
In 2015, PXG made an indelible mark on the golf industry with the introduction of its revolutionary iron technology. The original PXG 0311 forged blades have a distinctive design, exceptional feel and unmatched performance.
Joining the ranks, the new PXG 0311XF iron collection leverages the same materials and sophisticated manufacturing processes. The club head has a longer blade length, wider sole, and slightly larger profile to help inspire confidence at address and deliver xtreme forgiveness.
“The longer blade length and wider sole help increase the MOI and drive the CG back to create greater forgiveness and more dynamic loft at impact,” said PXG chief product officer Brad Schweigert. “As a result, the clubs are incredibly forgiving and deliver outstanding mis-hit performance.”
“We’d all love to hit the ball perfectly every time, but the truth is many of us don’t,” American businessman and PXG founder Bob Parsons said. “Most players struggle with imperfect swings and for some playing a blade can be intimidating. So, we engineered a game improvement iron that is even more forgiving than the original PXG 0311 irons and just as sexy. Trust me, forgiveness has never felt so good.”
PXG 0311XF irons are triple forged and feature an ultra-thin face coupled with a structural thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) material. The patented technology combines to dampen vibrations and produce a more efficient energy transfer. The large, TPE-filled internal cavity promotes higher ball speeds and increased distance.
High-density tungsten alloy weights situate mass for an optimal CG position, resulting in longer more consistent shots. Perimeter weighting also creates PXG’s signature look.
PXG 0311XF irons seamlessly integrate with the entire 0311 series, supporting complete and mixed set makeups. Even elite players with low handicaps may benefit from using a set that blends from PXG 0311XF irons to the original PXG 0311 or PXG 0311T mid and short irons.
“I love my PXG 0311XF 4-iron,” said 15-time worldwide champion Charl Schwartzel. “Off the tee I hit it 260 yards and when someone looks in my bag it blends perfectly with my 0311 irons. You would never know that it’s a game improvement club – and I like that.”
With the introduction of the new PXG 0311XF irons, PXG now offers three collections engineered for golfers at every level of the game. The PXG 0311T (Tour Performance Collection) is for tour pros and the very best golfers. The PXG 0311T features a smaller more compact head and less offset. The PXG 0311 (Players Collection) is the company’s original iron and accommodates the widest range of golfing skill. It has a larger head and a bit more offset, providing forgiveness where you need it and performance where you want it. And now, for golfers who need or want the absolute in forgiveness, the company offers the PXG 0311XF. All three iron collections are priced at $350 per club.
The entire PXG 0311 series is available in Chrome and, for an additional $150 per iron, Xtreme Dark, a black Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coating.
For more information or to schedule a fitting visit www.PXG.com.
About Parsons Xtreme Golf – PXG, A YAM Worldwide Company
Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company was founded by Go Daddy founder, businessman and philanthropist Bob Parsons in 2014. Leveraging breakthrough technology and sophisticated manufacturing processes that integrate high-performance alloys, PXG produces the finest golf clubs in the world. The company has over 80 global patents issued for its proprietary designs.
PXG clubs are currently being played on all three major U.S. Tours. PXG’s professional staff includes PGA TOUR Champions Zach Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Ryan Moore, James Hahn and Charles Howell III, Champions Tour golfer Rocco Mediate, and LPGA players Cristie Kerr, Gerina Piller, Alison Lee, Beatriz Recari and Sadena Parks.
CARLSBAD, Calif., Monday, August 23, 2016 – Today Callaway Golf Company officially announced its new line of Big Bertha Fusion Drivers and Fairway Woods. Both products will be available at retail nationwide on September 30.
Big Bertha Fusion Drivers deliver a material change in forgiveness and distance, led by an aerospace-grade titanium skeleton called an EXO-Cage. The EXO-CAGE is fitted with a crown and sole composed of an ultra-light, ultra-strong material called Triaxial Carbon. The fusion of these materials allowed Callaway engineers to position substantially more weight in the perimeter and far back from the face, resulting in a dramatically higher level of forgiveness.
An innovative new head shape combines fast aerodynamics with high MOI, and the proprietary Speed Step that Callaway designed with the help of aerodynamics experts is built to increase head speed.
The Big Bertha Fusion Fairway Woods reach a new level of forgiveness by fusing a Triaxial Carbon crown, which is 78 percent lighter than a typical steel crown, with a steel body to promote straighter and longer shots. The innovative head shape leads to improved launch and distance, and Callaway’s industry-leading Hyper Speed Face Cup promotes high ball speeds across the face.
The Big Bertha Fusion Driver will be available in 9*, 10.5* and 13.5* HT lofts with a retail price of $399. The fairway woods will be available in 3-, 5- and 7-wood options at a retail price of $249 each. For more information about the new Big Bertha Fusion golf clubs, visit callawaygolf.com/fusion.
Trio of new clubs showcase a scientifically crafted approach to excellenceNorcross, Ga. (Aug. 29, 2016) – Mizuno, a company long regarded for its excellence and innovation in iron performance, is challenging the status quo by investing the same level of attention and detail in its woods, beginning with the new JPX900 lineup of woods. The new JPX900 Driver, Fairway Wood and Hybrid are making a statement showcasing the science-driven process of Mizuno to craft clubs that delivers unrivaled optimization, enhanced performance and better control.
“We want to not only be taken seriously, but to be respected in the wood category,” said Ryan Ellis, Associate Brand Manager – Golf. “We realized to do this that we had to change people’s perceptions of our performance, and it started with changing our approach to the design process. Our biggest problem was we were operating within our known possibilities. When we began designing the JPX900 woods we went to the table without any restraints in mind, especially cost, and looked at what mattered the most – performance. This pushed us beyond our known possibilities, creating an explosion of ideas, knowledge and technologies that have birthed a new beginning in the wood category for us. This not only changes the game for us now, but for the future as well. With the JPX900 woods, believe me when I say, we are just getting started.”
The JPX900 Driver takes the success of the JPX850 and improves it on every front, from ball speed to forgiveness to adjustability. The new CORTECH face design is five grams lighter than the JPX850, freeing up discretionary weight while expanding the COR area to offer more forgiveness and ball speed retention on off-center hits.
Mizuno’s first-ever Infinite Fast Track uses a pair of eight-gram adjustable weights on an unbounded track, yielding unlimited settings to precisely dial in spin and vertical launch parameters. A pair of additional Fast Track ports in the toe and heel help to modify horizontal displacement and trajectory.
Understanding that performance starts with confidence, Mizuno developed the Visual Face Angle adjustor to enable customization of the desired face-angle orientation at address. By combining all of these features with the Quick Switch Hosel, which allows loft adjustments of +/- two degrees, the JPX900 Driver is scientifically crafted for optimization.
The JPX900 Fairway Wood also features Infinite Fast Track technology, making it the first-ever fairway wood with a front/back adjustable, sliding-weight system, putting the golfer in complete control of launch, height and spin. With a re-engineered compact head shape, the JPX900 Fairway Wood also employs the Shockwave Sole, pushing the center of gravity forward, enabling the clubhead to flex on impact to maximize distance, power and forgiveness. Offering unmatched control, the JPX900 Fairway Wood is scientifically crafted for performance.
The JPX900 Hybrid is the first Mizuno hybrid with adjustable loft settings. Equipped with a Quick Switch Hosel, for +/- two degrees of loft control, as well as re-engineered head dimensions, it provides a seamless and easy transition from woods to irons. The Shockwave Sole gives the club a front-weighted design that delivers higher ball speeds, lower spin and ease of launch, making it is scientifically crafted for control.
To make sure every aspect of club performance is being maximized, Mizuno spared no expense by choosing high-end, after-market shafts to offer stock in each model. The JPX900 Driver and Fairway Wood come with tour-proven Fujikura Speeder Evolution II shafts ranging from light weight models, for slower swing speeds, to heavier, more stiff profile options for professional level swing speeds. The JPX900 Hybrid embodies the same philosophy with a hybrid-specific, highly regarded shaft in the Fujikura Pro Hybrid.
Connect with Mizuno on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@Golf_Mizuno) to keep up with product news, Tour updates and custom content and fitting tools.
About Mizuno USA:
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in Norcross, Ga.
19 August 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: World
No. 1 Lydia Ko chose the perfect moment to register the first
hole-in-one of her life today – and that sweetest of seven-iron shots
could potentially lead her to the promised land of Olympic glory in Rio
Standing in her way is the indomitable
figure of the Republic of Korea’s Inbee Park, the most decorated major
champion in the field, who held firm in blustery conditions to move two
strokes clear in the race to capture the first women’s Olympic gold
With the prospect of the winds increasing
in intensity – and the possibility of thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon –
the final round will now be played off the first and tenth tees at
07.00 with the leaders teeing off at 08.44 in order to avoid disruption
to a potentially thrilling climax.
Meanwhile Ko, the 19-year-old New
Zealander who has taken the golfing world by storm in three trophy-laden
years as a professional, defied gusty, swirling winds at Reserva de
Marapendi Golf Course to blaze a trail through the elite women’s field
and into serious medal contention.
At the end of a challenging day, which
witnessed several changes at the top of a powerful leaderboard, Ko found
herself in a tie for second place after a third round of 65 which
featured a dazzling outward nine holes of 29 – and the thrill of that
ace from 140 yards.
Park, a seven-time major winner, added a
third round 70 for a total of 202 to double her overnight lead to two
shots while Ko’s 54-hole total of 204, nine under par, send her hurtling
from 21st to second place alongside Gerina Piller. The American dropped
a shot at the 18th but managed to sign for a three-under-par 68 and
total of 204 while China’s Shanshan Feng matched that 68 to close in on
the leading pack on 205.
The capricious nature of the afternoon
gusts damaged a number of medal prospects, with Piller’s compatriot,
Stacy Lewis, shooting a 76 to slip back from second place into a tie for
eighth. Brooke Henderson of Canada, who won the Women’s PGA
Championship earlier this season, was only one shot better while Charley
Hull’s attempt to emulate Justin Rose’s men’s gold medal for Great
Britain also suffered a setback as she took 74.
The timing of Ko’s first hole-in-one
could not be more propitious, with the women’s Olympic competition
reaching a thrilling climax. The two Olympic events have now witnessed
four aces, with two in the men’s contest and two in one day for the
women, with Ko matching the feat of China’s Xi Yu Lin earlier in the
The Kiwi said: “This is the first one in a
practice round and tournaments, all included. I almost didn’t know how
to react, because it is your first one, and the wind is blowing and I
haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to hole?in?ones. I would
have loved to like done a dance or jumped up?and?down, but in that
situation, I think I was almost trying to cry, and then realised I had
11 more holes to play.
“It’s really cool. It just puts the
cherry on top. This week is about having fun and this experience, being
an Olympian and competing in the Olympics, and to have my first
hole-in-one, is something that I’ll never forget.”
The medal chase promises to be exciting
with Park, Ko and Piller at the head of affairs, and the experienced
Korean admitted: It was very challenging (in the) conditions. I feel
like I really struggled out there. My putting was really, really good
today, six birdies out in those conditions is phenomenal. I’m very happy
with where I’m positioned right now. “
In spite of the uncertainty over her
fitness due to a long-term thumb injury, Park has belief in her ability
to strike gold. She added: “Somewhere in my heart, after I made the
decision to play this week, I really believed in myself that I can do
it. If I didn’t have a trust in myself, I wouldn’t be playing this
Feng, who moved into podium contention,
confirmed that the wind had caused considerable difficulties. She
explained: “The wind stayed in the same direction but it was kind of
gusty at some points. It was hard out there, because even for me – and
I’m not a short hitter – I used 3?wood into the greens on three par 4s,
and that’s not very normal. It was really tough. You just need to stay
patient the whole day, and I think I did.”
Hull still believes she is playing well
enough to win. She said: “I scrambled quite well. I’m happy with the
position that I’m in. And I’m only in tied fifth position and that’s
nothing going into tomorrow. Anything can happen on a Sunday in a
major – or in this case, the Olympics.”
Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, the most
recent major champion in women’s golf, was forced to retire after 13
holes due to a knee injury.
Quotes of the Day – Round 3
Inbee Park 202 (66, 66, 70):
“I think having big names on the leaderboard can make everything a lot
more exciting and that can help women’s golf grow a lot bigger. I’m very
happy what we are showing in the Olympic golf right now. It’s really
exciting for everyone. Really exciting for me. Really exciting for all
the other players that are competing. Exciting for all the people who
are watching. Yeah, it’s a great scenario.”
Lydia Ko 204 (69, 70, 65): “This
week has been great. Even without considering today, I think just this
experience, being here, representing New Zealand, seeing some of the
other athletes from New Zealand, I think that is an inspiration, and I
think that’s what the Olympics is about. Obviously the results and the
medals are great, but at the end of the day, it’s about the world’s best
athletes together and having a great time and at the end, having to
compete to stand on the podium.”
Gerina Piller 204 (69, 67, 68): “I would say it’s one of the biggest (rounds of her life),
yes. Playing the Solheim Cup is definitely dear to my heart and trying
to win that for the country. But I’ve never played in the final round
of an Olympics before competing for a medal. It’s going to be pretty
special. I’m going to soak it in all in, take it all in, and no matter
what the outcome, I’m proud to be American.”
Shanshan Feng 205 (70, 67. 68): “Back
in China, normally we are only on golf channels, but this time people
can see us on any (television) channels. I think that’s a great chance
to let the Chinese know how good the Chinese players are, and hopefully
they can just fall in love with the sport and join this sport.”
Paula Reto 209 (74, 67, 68): “It (Olympic Games)
feels awesome. It’s almost like you’ve got something above some
people. Just the experience, it’s something you can’t buy. It’s
something you have to earn. We love the golf course. It’s great. For
us to play for the first time in a competition since it’s been built –
Ariya Jutanugarn (WD due to knee injury): “Yeah,
very disappointed, because it’s the Olympics, and I told my caddie that
I want to finish like four days. I don’t care how many over I’m going
to be, but I’m thinking about my career.”
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18 August 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
Stacy Lewis fired a scorching course record 63 in the second round of
the women’s golf competition to stand on the brink of Olympic glory at
the end of a whirwind two weeks in which she got married and became an
The much-decorated American takes
everything in her stride, even preparing for a visit to the Olympic
diving event soon after compiling the eight-under-par round which
propelled her into the medal positions on 133, nine under par, just one
off the pace set by Inbee Park of Korea.
However, watching the talented divers may
act as a springboard to success on Saturday afternoon, when Lewis
attempts to follow in the footsteps of her compatriot, Margaret Abbot,
who won for the United States in Paris way back in 1900.
First, though, the new Mrs. Chadwell
faces the challenge of overhauling Park, who continued her impressive
recovery from a thumb injury by matching her opening 66 for a 36-hole
total of 132.
Lewis carved out 11 birdies during a
brilliant performance on the Olympic course, lowering Park’s course
record from Wednesday by two shots. Even a bogey and a double-bogey at
the 14th failed to halt her inexorable progress up a cosmopolitan
On the contrary, the 31-year-old
recovered from that bogey blow on the 14th by closing with four straight
birdies to match the 63 shot by Marcus Fraser in the men’s competition
exactly one week earlier.
“I guess I have a course record here,
and it’s great to put my name on that, and being near the top of the
leaderboard at the Olympics,” said Lewis. “It’s something that, I think,
every kid is going to dream of doing.”
She added: “It’s been such a cool week so
far, and the highlight for me was just getting to see the guys up there
on the podium on 18 on Sunday getting their medals and just thinking
about how cool that would be to be in their shoes and be doing that on
Saturday. It’s definitely a motivating factor but I’ve had a great week
and we’re enjoying it so far.”
Park, the seven-time major winner,
admitted that she arrived in Rio more in hope than expectation after a
lengthy lay-off due to the on-going thumb injury. However, the Korean
has plotted a steady course for two days and said: “I was able to
convert the birdies today. I missed a couple of tee shots, so I was in
the sand area, but I was able to convert them into birdies. That’s
really the key for today’s round.”
The leaderboard reflects the global
nature of the competition, with a league of nations contending inside
the top ten of an exciting women’s event. Hard on the heels of Park and
Lewis are Canadian Brooke Henderson and Charley Hull, bidding to follow
the gold medal performance of her fellow Briton, Justin Rose, last
Sunday. Henderson also went low wth a 64 while Hull tagged a 66 onto her
initial 68 for an eight-under-par total of 134.
Right behind the leaders are three
players on seven under par, Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, Denmark’s
Nicole Broch Larsen and Candie Kung of Chinese Taipei while the youngest
player in the field, 18-year-old Aditi Ashok carries the hopes of India
Quotes of the Day – Round 2
Inbee Park 132 (66, 66): “I
think first coming here, I didn’t really know whether I was going to
play this week or not due to the injury. Obviously didn’t expect much
of a result. It was more of whether I can play or not. A good result
is a great gift.”
Stacey Lewis 133 (70, 63): “I
was excited from the get?go with the announcement of the Olympics.
There are probably a lot of reasons why we shouldn’t have come and
shouldn’t have done this, whether it was Zika or other issues. I just
did my homework and nobody gave me a good reason why I shouldn’t come.
You’d have to ? I mean, there’d have to be something seriously wrong
with me to not come play in the Olympics. This has been so cool. Just a
different feel about it.”
Brooke Henderson (134) 70, 64: I feel Britt (sister and caddie)
and I came up with a really good strategy for this course over the last
week or so, along with Team Canada. I think so far, it’s been pretty
good. But like I say, there’s still lots of golf left and hopefully
I’ll just continue to play smart but take advantage when I can.
Charley Hull 134 (68, 66): “I
don’t really look at what I do. I just kind of get off the golf course
and go to the gym. I don’t really analyse where I am. I just kind of
think, oh, yeah, I played decent, another round tomorrow.”
Marianne Skarpnord, 135 (69, 66): “When I first came there (Team Norway house),
I was thinking, God, this is like going to camp or something, border
school or whatever. The food isn’t great. The beds aren’t great. The
apartment isn’t great. But the atmosphere and the experience is better
and a lot more than I would ever think that it would be. I’m loving
it. I think it’s really cool.”
Nicole Broch Larsen 135 (67, 68): “It’s cool (Olympic Village).
It’s nice to be surrounded by athletes. I think we have a good
atmosphere in the Danish, yeah, all the Danish people together.
Everybody is cheering for each other. It’s really cool getting back
there yesterday and a lot of people is like, good luck, and well
played. It’s just nice to get their support, as well.”
Aditi Ashok 136 (68, 68): “I
think golf every day is different. You never hit the same shot twice.
So every day is a new experience, and you can’t really come with any
expectations. The game is bigger than all of us, so that’s what I like
about it. Every day, you have a new experience.”
Gerina Piller 136 (69, 67): “Yeah, that would be pretty cool to have a (USA)
podium sweep. It’s definitely been talked about amongst us. But
again, there’s a lot of golf to be played and you can’t put the cart
before the horse. For me, I just want to focus on playing consistent
golf and hitting good shots and making putts.”
Minjee Lee 136 (69, 67): “I
think when you’re on the golf course, you don’t really think about it.
But when you’re obviously not on the golf course, you’re like, oh, you
just sort of realize how big of an event it is and not just for
yourself, because you’re representing your country and for women’s golf
and all that. So I think it’s pretty cool just to be here. I think
it’s amazing. More amazing as it goes.”
Lydia Ko 139 (69, 70): “I think she (Charley Hull)
realises how big of a deal it is, and especially with Justin Rose
winning the gold medal, I know she would love to putt a contribution to
GB. I think it’s just her personality that she’s just cool, outgoing,
trying to play some great golf, and no matter what tournament that
you’re playing, I think that’s a confidence factor; that either you’re
in perfect positions or not, you’re still going out there focusing on
that shot in front of me and not worrying about everything that’s gone
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About the International Golf Federation
The IGF was founded in 1958 to encourage the international development
of the game and to employ golf as a vehicle to foster friendship and
sportsmanship. The IGF is comprised of 146 National Federation Members
in 141 countries and 22 Professional Members. The IGF serves as the
International Olympic Committee’s recognised International Federation
17 August 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Ariya Jutanugarn of
Thailand delivered another masterclass in a season overflowing with
dominant performances by shooting a six-under-par 65 to grab the lead
after the first round of the Olympic women’s golf competition.
The talented 20-year-old burst from the pack on a crowded leaderboard
to set the standard on the Reserva de Marapendi Golf Course in Rio de
Janeiro, on a day when women’s Olympic golf made a triumphant return
after a 116-year absence.
Victory and a gold medal this week would set the seal on a phenomenal
year for Jutanugarn, who reeled off three wins in consecutive starts on
the LPGA Tour before landing a first major championship for Thailand in
the British Women’s Open just two weeks ago. Olympic glory would be a
fifth win – appropriately in view of the association with the five
“I think I’m going to be really excited, because I like to represent
Thailand,” said Jutanugarn. We want to be the best and have the gold
medal for Thailand. I think it’s going to be great if I have it.”
Jutanugarn collected seven birdies and an eagle, offset by a
double-bogey and bogey, in lowering the best score over the new Gil
Hanse and Amy Alcott-designed Olympic course which stood at 66 for just
two hours courtesy of South Korea’s Inbee Park.
Park, one of four South Korean players in the 60-strong field,
emerged with great credit from her competitive return in a season
curtailed by a ligament problem in her left thumb by carding a
five-under-par 66, the same mark as her Korean teammate, Sei Young Kim.
Three players, Nicole Broch Larsson of Denmark, Candie Kung of
Chinese Taipei and Carlota Ciganda of Spain, forced their way into
contention on 67, four-under-par, with a quarter of golfers on 68,
including Great Britain’s Charley Hull, who is seeking to emulate Justin
Rose’s gold medal performance in the men’s competition.
World No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand did her cause no harm by holing
her nine iron second shot from 136 yards for an eagle two on the 15th, a
stunning shot which helped her into a tie for 11th place on 69.
Ko, who at 19 already has two majors to her name, said: “It was my
first eagle at the Olympics, so I think it’s great. At the men’s last
week, I think there were two hole?in?ones and a few eagles, and I put my
contribution to golf by making an eagle, I think is a really good
feeling, and especially since I was even par at that point in my round.
So to go from zero to two?under-par was a great turnaround.”
Park, who has been resting in preparation for the Olympics for the
majority of the past two months, completed an error-free card and
laughed: “Bogey free – it’s been a while! It feels great. It wasn’t
too windy out there this morning, so I had a lot of birdie
opportunities. I had a really good ball?striking day and I’m very
satisfied with today’s round.
“My injury felt pretty good and everything felt like I was quite
ready. I’m very happy to see the results like today. It’s a good
confidence boost. I felt quite nervous this morning, teeing off, and
being able to overcome that kind of nerves feels great.”
Quotes of the Day – Round 1
Ariya Jutanugarn 65 (-6): “I like (the Village) a
lot. Before I came here I had no idea what it’s going to be like. When I
got into the Village, I liked it. I love it a lot. I’m a roommate with
the badminton players from Thailand and I have had a chance to watch
them play a few matches. Pretty good.”
Inbee Park 66 (-5): “I think that this (the Olympic
Games) could be the highlight of my career. I was lucky enough to have
the opportunity. I’ve won a lot of the major championships but,
obviously, in the Olympic Games, you get to only do it once every four
years, so being able to be standing here representing South Korea is
something very special and very meant to be. (I am) so very happy to be
here. It’s a huge honour, and like I said, it could be the highlight
of my golfing career.”
Nicole Broch Larsson 67 (-4): “It was fun out
there. I didn’t really think about it as the Olympics. It was another
round of golf and I tried to focus on my own things. It was different
waking up in the Olympic Village instead of in a single room at another
hotel. It’s just been a really cool experience so far and I’m really
enjoying my time down here. I’ve got my brother and my dad here, and we
have a few others from the Danish Golf Union. It’s really nice to get
Candie Kung 67 (-4): “I actually went to Vegas for a
wedding before I came here, so I didn’t get here till Monday afternoon.
It was one of my best friends from high school. She planned it around
me. She thought I had three weeks off. She forgot there’s the
Olympics! When I got to the course, it was blowing so hard I couldn’t
even walk it.”
Carlota Ciganda 67 (-4): “Watching Rafa (Nadal) is
the best. He’s my hero. When you watch that guy playing tennis – the
way he runs, the way he fights, it’s just another planet. You can see
he’s not playing great, but he still wins. And when he’s under
pressure, he plays even better. I had breakfast with him, and without
competing 2 ½ months, he won the (doubles) Gold Medal and finished
fourth (in singles). We’ve played twice. He loves golf. I think he’s
one of the best athletes in Spanish history.”
Aditi Ashok 68 (-3): “I’ve played the Youth
Olympics, as well. I’ve kind of had that experience of playing that and
it made me want to play in the Olympics as well. This is my rookie
year. Getting the experience and playing for India and trying to win a
medal for my country doesn’t get better than that. It would be huge for
women’s golf in India, because we don’t have that many girls playing and
this will definitely boost the popularity of the game in India and
that’s what we need. So I hope I can do that.”
Lexi Thompson 68 (-3): “The nerves were there,
that’s for sure. It is a whole different feeling, just stepping on that
tee, saying that you’re an Olympian golfer. There’s nothing like
that. It was an adrenaline rush. Hopefully we’ll get more and more
people out on that first tee as the days go by, but it was an amazing
feeling to have.”
Gerina Piller 69 (-2): When golf came back in the
Olympics, I thought, it’s like, wow, here is my chance to go to the
Olympics, and never thought I would be standing here giving an interview
about being in the Olympics. It’s just a dream come true. “
Stacy Lewis 70 (-1): “You can’t even compare this to
a major. You have majors, you have LPGA events. You can’t even
compare it to the Solheim Cup. It’s different. It’s the Olympics. It
has a different feel about it. I don’t even know what to compare it
to. I think it’s a good thing that it’s different. It doesn’t need to
be compared with a major or any of that stuff. It’s its own deal, and
you know, we are 60 players here, are forever Olympians, and that’s
Leona Maguire (Ireland) 74 (+3): Talking about following the men: ““I
think for me, the best players in the world are here – that’s their
job. That’s not my job this week. I’m just out there to have as much
fun as I can and do as well as I can, and that’s up to Lydia and Brooke
and Ariya and those girls to show that they are the best players in the
world. For me, it’s just a bonus being here.”
Miriam Nagl (Brazil) 79 (+8): Talking about hitting the first Olympic women’s tee shot in 116 years: “It
was nerve?wracking, to be honest. I was very nervous, but what an
honour that I could be hitting this shot. It means so much to me –
being in my home country and golf being back in the Olympic Games, and
(the fact that) I have a little daughter now. It was just very special
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