CARNOUSTIE (UK): South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen put down an early marker at the British Open as a four-under-par first round of 67 gave him the clubhouse lead on Thursday morning.
Van Rooyen went out in the second group of the day at Carnoustie, teeing off at 6:46 am (0546 GMT). On a perfect summer’s morning on Scotland’s east coast, he had five birdies, including at the opening two holes, and was on course for a flawless first round until he dropped a shot at the difficult 18th.
The 28-year-old, who qualified for his first British Open by coming second at the Joburg Open late last year, was two shots ahead of English duo Danny Willett and Matthew Southgate.
Willett, the 2016 Masters champion who missed the cut at this year’s Masters and US Open, was enjoying a fine round, featuring three straight birdies from the fourth.
However, he dropped shots at the 17th and the 18th for a 69. Southgate’s round featured two eagles, two birdies, and four bogeys.
Scottish veteran Sandy Lyle, the Open champion back in 1985, hit the first tee shot of the day at 6:35 am but ended up with a four-over round of 75.
Meanwhile, reigning Open champion Jordan Spieth teed off at 9:58 am and birdied two of the opening four holes.
A number of big-hitters have afternoon starts in the first round, including Rory McIlroy, world number one Dustin Johnson, and Tiger Woods.
Given the conditions, Van Rooyen will do well to hold onto his lead, and the record low first-round score at an Open here — Sergio Garcia’s 65 in 2007 – could come under threat.
Golf: Johnson climbs to 2nd in rankings!
PARIS: Dustin Johnson moved up to second in the world rankings and closed on number one Justin Rose on Monday after winning his sixth WGC title in Mexico.
The 34-year-old American is now only 0.0064 average points adrift of fellow former US Open champion Rose as he bids to retake the top ranking, which he has held for 81 weeks in his career. Johnson’s five-shot win over Rory McIlroy on Sunday made him only the fifth man in the last 50 years to reach 20 PGA Tour titles before the age of 35, after Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, and Phil Mickelson.
Woods continued his rise up the rankings since returning to the sport last year following back surgery, moving up one place to 12th after finishing tied-10th in Mexico. Four-time major winner McIlroy jumped two spots to sixth after his fourth successive top-five finish.
World top 20
1. Justin Rose (ENG) 9.87 average pts
2. Dustin Johnson (USA) 9.87 (+1)
3. Justin Thomas (USA) 8.69 (+1)
4. Brooks Koepka (USA) 8.67 (-2)
5. Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 7.64
6. Rory McIlroy (NIR) 6.68 (+2)
7. Xander Schauffele (USA) 6.31
8. Jon Rahm (ESP) 6.12 (-2)
9. Rickie Fowler (USA) 5.89
10. Francesco Molinari (ITA) 5.58
11. Jason Day (AUS) 5.40
12. Tiger Woods (USA) 5.25 (+1)
13. Tony Finau (USA) 5.23 (-1)
14. Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 4.87
15. Patrick Reed (USA) 4.78
16. Paul Casey (ENG) 4.70 (+3)
17. Marc Leishman (AUS) 4.51 (-1)
18. Patrick Cantlay (USA) 4.43 (+2)
19. Bubba Watson (USA) 4.41 (-2)
20. Phil Mickelson (USA) 4.28 (-2)
Wasim Akram to establish a cricket academy
KARACHI: Wasim Akram today announced the establishment of Wasim Akram Cricket Academy in DHA Multan.
Addressing a presser at a local hotel here, he said that the state-of-the-art Wasim Akram Cricket Academy will be equipped with all requisite facilities including a multipurpose building, pavilion/seating area, outdoor practice nets (6-8 pitches), administrative facilities including grounds men workshop and other sports facilities like squash courts, swimming pool etc.
“My purpose is to train and nurture the young talent and this academy will be breeding ground for Pakistan’s National team. I intend turning this academy into our national team’s camp before proceeding abroad for matches. We will lay the top of the lines pitches like Perth, Melbourne etc to train them,” said Wasim Akram.
Sharing details of the country’s first Championship Signature 18 holes golf course, he said “Currently Pakistan has been unable to register its presence on International standard golf courses and coaching facilities for talented young golfers. I am very happy after knowing that DHA Multan aims to address both shortcomings.” He expressed the hope that Rumanza Golf Course will be an avenue to flourish the game by nurturing the young talent of the country to be able to compete at international levels.
Wasim Akram apprised that the ground breaking ceremony of Rumanza was held on 22nd November 2018 in DHA Multan where golf course architect Sir Nick Faldo, number of foreign consultants engaged for the golf course and representatives of Desert Group UAE responsible for the construction of the course were present. He said that Rumanza would be managed and operated by Troon Golf, which is managing over 300 golf courses across the globe.
60-million-to-one shot! Club golfer bags two holes-in-one
MELBOURNE: An Australian club golfer has defied odds of more than 60-million-to-one to shoot two holes-in-one in a single round on a course in Melbourne, local media reported today.
Jim Grant said he missed seeing his first ace go in on the 11th at the Green Acres Golf Club in the suburb of Kew because he was chatting with playing partners, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
“I hit a lovely 8-iron up and I thought the ball was getting close and I turned to the fellas to say ‘I think this is going to go close’ and they were all jumping up and down,” he told the ABC. “I kind of missed it going in.”
But he had another bite of the cherry just six holes later at the 17th, a 180-meter (196-yard) par three with a bunker guarding the front left of the green.
“We jumped for joy and whooped a bit. It was quite amazing,” he said, adding that he had used a 5-iron. The odds of an amateur golfer carding a hole-in-one are around 12,500-1, according to insurance companies. And the odds of two holes-in-one in the same round are quoted at roughly 67-million-to-one, though mathematicians can disagree on the exact figure because of the variables involved.
It is not clear whether Grant bought two rounds of drinks for everyone at the clubhouse afterward – one for each of his aces.