The Tour Championship. Billy Bursts Ahead.

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Billy Horschel has burst ahead in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, leading the field by two shots after 36 holes.

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Billy bombs one away / Getty Images

Billy carded another round of -4 under 66 to lead the Tour Championship with total of -8 under par, he tends to favor the back nine, recording his four birdies over the last ten holes;

“That’s the way it’s been lately, I’ve been playing one side better than the other. I probably should have shot a little lower on the front side today, but I’ll take those two nines again for two more days and see where that gets me.”

“Even though I won last week, I did it without my best stuff. That’s what gives me my confidence.” 

He also spoke about his friend Rory;

“He’s a good buddy, if I happen to come out on top and we’re battling out these next two rounds, that means a lot.”

“The guy won three straight events in a row, and two of them happened to be majors. I think that’s pretty impressive. He’s at that stage where when you’re able to go toe to toe with one of the best players and the No. 1 ranked player in the world and you’re able to come out on top, that gives me a lot of confidence.”

 

The overnight co-leader Chris Kirk, with Rory McIlroy and Jason Day are tied in second place, just two shots back at -6 under par. Chris(No. 1) and Rory (No. 4) are also among the top 5 players who would automatically win the FedExCup with a victory at East Lake Golf Club. Jason (No. 10) needs a win and would also need the benefit of some help from the top five players.

Rory had an amusing escape from a wild tee shot that ricocheted around in the tree’s, and seemed to disappear.  No one knew where it went until a fan realized it had fallen into the front pocket of his shorts.

A PGA TOUR rules official ascertained that the fan had not moved, so Rory was given a free drop under Rule 19-1-a, but he was not going to retrieve the ball himself;

“I know how sweaty my pockets are. I’m not going into anyone else’s. I need to stop hitting it off-line. Things happen there.”

Before coming into these FedExCup Playoffs, it was going to be a great season, anyway. I wanted to cap it off in style, and I’ve given myself a chance to do that over the next two days.”

“I’m going into this week with nothing to lose. I’m the one that’s got the two majors this year. I’m the one that’s had the great season. Those are the guys that are trying to cap off a great season for themselves.”

“No matter what happens over the weekend, it’s going to be OK, but I still want to win this thing.”

L.E.T. Evian Championship.Brittany Lincicome Leads.

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Brittany Lincicome leads the Evian Championship on the Ladies European Tour at the half-way stage at the Evian Golf Club.

Evian Championship

Brittany Lincicombe / Getty Images

Brittany holds a one shot advantage at the Evian Championship at the half-way stage of the tournament, carding a second round -6 under par 65, to post a -10 under par total. She had been practicing on the range bare-foot, something that I have recommended in my putting manual. It helps with balance and certainly seems to have worked for Brittany;

“It just slows it down, my tempo.  Obviously I can’t swing as hard as I would like to with no shoes on because I will fall.”

“Today I just thought I would just take them off and hit some balls and see what happens.  Actually did it yesterday.  After my round I went to the range and hit balls for 15, 20 minutes.”

“I think just the confidence.  Even when I felt like I didn’t hit a good shot today I kind of got away with it.  Golf isn’t always a game of perfect and hitting great shots. It’s more about misses, my misses today were right online and gave me birdie opportunities or got me in the fairway.”

“I haven’t been in this situation for a while.  It brought back a lot of fun memories I have had when I won before. I really, one of these days, would love to win a golf tournament by like five or ten strokes, so when I am walking down 18 I can be all smiley and waving and having a good time and not like super stressed ready to like explode inside.”

“That’s my next goal, to win a tournament by a bunch of strokes. The pressure is difficult to handle.”

First round leader Hyo-Joo Kim speaking through a translator, she said that she wanted to ‘erase’ the first day’s score to start afresh and admitted to feeling the pressure.

Hyo-Joo carded a second round of +1 over par 72, which left her one shot adrift of the leader at -9 under par for the tournament.

Mi Jung Hur scored a second round -2 under par 69, to stay in contention at -7 under par, and is alone in third place.

In a very strange occurrence out on the course So Yeon Ryu was disqualified from the tournament, as she had damaged her putter on the fourth hole by slamming it against her shoe and bending the shaft of the club, thus changing its’ playing characteristics. So Yeon, the 2011 US Women’s Open Champion, subsequently used the club to tap in her ball, which was a violation of rule 4-3b: using a club that was damaged other than in the normal course of play. How many times have we seen top players disqualified for not knowing the rules !!

 

KLM Open. Pablo Larrazábal Shoots 62, to Lead

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Pablo Larrazábal carded a course record 62 at Kennemer Golf & Country Club to lead the KLM Open at the mid-way point.

KLM Open

Record breaking Pablo Larrazábal / Getty Images

Starting on the 10th hole today Pablo scored  six consecutive birdies to card 28 strokes for the back nine, with three birdies and one bogey on the front gave him his 62 for the round, and a two shot lead over the field with a -10 under par tournament total.

Pablo spoke about the fast start, and how he was thinking of recording the first 59 on the European Tour;

“I started very fast with birdies on the first six holes and then I tried just to play golf and put myself in position to make some more but the round cooled down a little bit in the middle.” 

“After starting with six birdies I was thinking, it is a par 70, I only need five more for a first 59 on The European Tour. The middle of the round it cooled down but it was a great shot into the last to finish with a 62.”

“I was aware of the 59 more than the course record. I thought about the 59 when I started with six birdies. I thought I only need five more to make the magic number, but maybe I put pressure on a bit more. I’ve a few course records around Spain but none on The European Tour, so it is nice.”

“It is tough to make birdies here but I putted great. I worked on Wednesday with my coach and my reading is a lot better, I’m making putts. I’m hitting the ball good, not as good as the past, but I’m making putts.”

Second place is shared by Romain Wattle and Edoardo Molinari, both on -8 under par for the tournament, with Richie Ramsay, Soren Hansen and Peter Uihlein tied in fourth spot at -6 under par.

Peter almost matched Pablo’s brilliant outward 28, carding five birdies to race to the turn in 29 strokes.

Dutchman Joost Luiten was among the afternoon starters after his opening lead gave him a share of the lead on day one, but a second round of even par 70 stopped him making any further progress and he is now five shots back of the leader at -5 under par. Overnight co-leader Jamie McLeary  had to return early to complete his first round, but sadly dropped two shots before starting his second round, which did not fare so well, he carded +2 over par and is now out of contention at -1 under par for the tournament.

Tour Championship. Billy and Chris Show the Way.

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Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk, the in form people, are leading the Tour Championship together, tied at the top of the East Lake Golf Club leaderboard.

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Billy Horschel / Getty Images

Billy and Chris both recorded opening rounds at The TOUR Championship of -4 under par 66 at East Lake Golf Club. Although Billy’s wife Brittany is expecting a baby any time soon, she told him to keep playing golf;

My wife is totally on board, she’s a golfer. She understands what this victory and FedExCup Playoffs and what it all means. I’ve probably got the greatest wife out here.”

“There wasn’t much discussion. I brought up the question. She said you’re staying.” 

“I won’t find out on the course, because my focus may be taken away from the task at hand. But after the round’s over with, I will be flying home, spend a few hours and then flying back later that day or the next morning before the round of golf.”

“Having a chance to win $10 million and our first child on the way, it’s pretty amazing, especially the time of year that it’s happening.”

“Listen, Hunter Mahan did a great thing last year pulling out, but I would think if he was in my position with winning, having a chance to win, roughly $10 million more, if you had the TOUR Championship winner’s check and everything, I think it would be maybe a no brainer to stay put and keep playing and go home in between rounds.” 

Chris mentioned the solid rounds they both played today, and how good it was to go round with Billy;

“We both had a solid day, Billy’s obviously been playing some pretty incredible golf with winning last week and finishing second the week before.  And I’ve been doing all right myself.”

“So it was a comfortable pairing for both of us, I think, and the golf course played really, really well. It was tough, but very fair. And we both had it going pretty nice.”

There are four players tied in third place, Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed, all on -3 under par for the tournament.

Patrick is in the unenviable position of choosing which caddy to use, wife Justine, who has recently given birth to their son, or  her brother Kessler, who him helped win two tournaments when Justine was not available;

“Depends on how Justine feels, what her comfort level is and what she feels like doing.” 

“I mean, whether she’s caddying or whether Kessler’s caddying, I know I can play well. I’ve won with both of them, played some great golf with both of them.”      

“Obviously it’s more of a family decision on what we feel is most comfortable not only for us but also for little Windsor Wells.”

The gathered media could only ask Bubba who was longest off the tee, him or Rory, great answer from Bubba;

“Who cares. Ask Rory. He could care less, too. Listen, all we want to do is win. We’re trying to win golf tournaments. Jim Furyk’s record, Corey Pavin’s record’s a lot better than Bubba Watson. So I wish I hit it like them, I guess.”

Rory had a slow start to this tournament, currently at -1 under par, along with Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Ryan Palmer.

L.E.T. Evian Championship. Hyo-Joo Kim with Lowest Major Round, Ever.

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Hyo-Joo Kim records lowest ever round in a Major, firing 61 in the opening round of the Evian Championship, on the Ladies European Tour.

Evian Championship

Record breaking Hyo-Joo Kim / Getty Images

South Korean Hyo-Joo,  just 19 years of age carded 10 birdies on a sunny day at the Evian Resort Golf Club in a flawless display of golf. She said, via an interpreter, she was only looking for a good experience, it can’t get much better than a four shot lead at the end of day one;

“My goal is have a good experience in here, that’s all.”

Hyo-Joo’s caddie Gordon Rowan was full of praise for his charge;

“She has a very good all round game. She’s not a massive hitter but has a very decent length and keeps up with the girls but she’s so straight and this is a course where you need to hit fairways because the rough is very thick.”

“Her accuracy into the greens means that she’s never far away. She also has a very good temperament and even on days when she’s fighting and putts don’t fall she keeps going and going and going.”

The the lowest round in a Major and also the tournament record for 18 holes on the redesigned Evian Resort Golf Course.

Her nearest competitor is Karrie Webb, a -6 under par 65 giving her second place.

Another South Korean Mi Jung Hur is a stroke further behind in solo third on -5 under par for the tournament after her first round of 66.

Sadly Michelle Wie, the US Women’s Open champion, was forced to retire after 13 holes of the first round due a recurring problem of pain from a stress reaction in her right index finger.She last played at the Meijer LPGA Classic in early August, where she had to retire for the same reason;

“I had hoped it was a week later, but, you know, I just really wanted to come to France.  I really love this tournament.”

“It was at a point where it was touch and go.  I just wanted so see if I could play.  The doctors just told me, ‘It’s all up to you.’  It just depends on if it hurts or not. But they did tell me if it did hurt to stop right away just because it could get worse.”

“I was out there and I knew I should have stopped earlier but I was having so much fun out there I wanted to keep playing. But it got to the point where it was too painful.  So I just made the smart decision to not play.”

 

KLM Open. Joost and Jamie Share the Lead.

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Joost Luiten jumped into the lead to the delight of the Dutch spectators, but he has been joined at the top of the leaderboard by Jamie McLeary. Jamie has yet to complete his round, play was delayed due to an on course accident, and bad light then stopped play.

KLM Open

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost started the KLM Open with a -5 under par 65 at his home tournament, on the Kennemer Golf & Country Club course in Holland. He was obviously very happy to begin the tournament in style;

“It is always nice to shoot a 65, I played well and didn’t make any mistakes. That’s the key on this course, keep the ball in play and take your chances. For me it was a good solid round and I hit some nice spots.”

“You have to take your chances. Sometimes you can be conservative and take irons off the tee but if you feel good with the drive you have to hit it and make a tough hole into a birdie hole. It all depends how the winds but I was hitting my drive well and I tried to take advantage of that.”

A trio players are currently tied in third place, Gary Stal, Edorado Molinari and Andrea Pavan, all on -4 under par following their opening rounds of 66.

There was a delay during the round when Alexandre Kaleka, who was teeing off from the 14th tee box, had a wild swing, sending the ball down the 16th fairway. The ball fiercely striking Fabrizio Zanotti on the head and he needed medical treatment on the course, and was then taken to Hospital. He was accompanied by fellow players Felipe Aguilar and Ricardo Gonzalez, who withdrew from the tournament to stay with him.

Euro Senior Tour, Magical Monty In Moscow.

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Magical Monty claims the Russian Open on the Euro Senior Tour at Moscow Country Club.

Russian Open Championship

Magical Monty in Moscow / Getty Images

Colin Montgomerie shot a -7 under par 65 in the last round of the Russian Open Championship (Seniors) at Moscow Country Club to take the trophy by three shots with a -14 under par total.

Coming from a wire to wire win last week Monty is truly in form;

I have had a lot of good runs of form over the years but I think this is right up there with the best of them.”

“I think I’m playing as well as I have ever done right now. A year ago I said I wasn’t driving as well as I did when I was winning my Order of Merit titles but that’s not the case anymore.”

“I hit 28 fairways out of 28 the last two days and you can’t do any better than that. I’m shorter now than I used to be but that’s the only difference. I’m playing as well through the green as I have ever done and I’m also holing out just like I did when I was younger.”

“It was a lot of fun out there today. It was a dream start to my year with three wins in my first four starts on the European Senior Tour and now it has just got better.”

“I have played well all week but the difference today was that I got off to a much better start. I was two behind Tim (Thelen) overnight, but I put a bit of pressure on him with four birdies in the first five holes and then played solid golf after that.”

“I finished fourth here last year so I was determined to do better than that, it has been a great week. It’s a fantastic course and I’m already looking forward to coming back next year to defend.”

“It was also great to play in the last group with Tim. We were room-mates at Houston Baptist University but I don’t think we have played golf together like that for about 28 years. It was super to compete with him again like we used to do at college.”

Second place went to Canadian Rick Gibson, a final round -5 under par 67 gave him the position on his own, and is now in third place on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit;

“It’s an old cliché but all I try to do now is to keep out of my own way. I drove into the bunker but I managed to hit a six-iron to about ten feet and then hole the putt.” 

“I have got a lot of belief in my golf at the moment but that wasn’t always the case. There was a while when I was far too hard on myself but I have learned to relax and go with the flow.”