25 décembre 2016 ~ 0 Commentaire

Australian Ogilvy breaks drought Kirk stays in control of FedExCup with opening 66

Australian Geoff Ogilvy broke out of a slump with a convincing victory at the $3 million Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada on Sunday. Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion, finished on 21-under-par for 49 points in the Modified Stableford format on the Montreux course. American Justin Hicks claimed second place on 44 points, with compatriots Jonathan Byrd and John Huh equal third on 37 points. Ogilvy, 37, collected $540,000 for his eighth PGA Tour victory, his first since 2010 when he also won the Australian Open. He also earned a late invitation to next week’s PGA Championship. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry). FedExCup points leader Chris Kirk maintained control of the season-long race for playoff honours as he surged into a share of the lead in Thursday’s opening round of the elite Tour Championship. Kirk, who took over at the top of the standings with his victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship earlier this month, fired a four-under-par 66 to set the pace with fellow American Billy Horschel in the PGA Tour’s season-ending event. Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlroy, hunting his fourth PGA Tour victory of the year, returned a 69 to remain in contention for overall playoff honors, a title he has never previously won and has specifically targeted this week. As the leading two players in the FedExCup standings, Kirk and Horschel were drawn together for the opening round and they clearly benefited from what Kirk called a comfortable pairing. « We both had a solid day, » Kirk told reporters after emulating his playing partner by recording four birdies in a bogey-free display on a sunny but muggy afternoon. « 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, and the golf course played really, really well. It was tough, but very fair. And we both had it going pretty nice. » EYE-POPPING BONUS Kirk picked up shots at the first, eighth, 15th and 17th, where he chipped in from off the green, to remain in pole position for FedExCup honors and the $10 million bonus. « I felt comfortable with my play and judged the ball pretty well, » said the 29-year-old, who has won twice on the 2013-14 PGA Tour. « Made what I needed to. Made a few putts when I needed to. Chip-in on 17 was a nice bonus to cap off my round there, but all in all pretty solid game. » In-form Horschel, rose to second in the FedExCup points list by winning the BMW Championship on Sunday, birdied the par-five ninth before picking up three more shots after the turn. « Chris and I both played a beautiful round of golf out there today, » said Horschel, a double winner on the PGA Tour. « I don’t believe we had a bogey between us. « (Combined) eight under par, no bogeys, great round. Especially on this golf course, the way it’s set up. Chris and I get along very well. We seem to always play well when we’re paired together. » Masters champion Bubba Watson also got to four under, having rebounded from a double at the 13th with three successive birdies, but he bogeyed the par-three last to open with a 67. « Silly bogey on 18, » said left-hander Watson, who piled up seven birdies in his round. « But other than that, a good day, a good start. I’m looking forward to the next three days. » Also at three under in the PGA Tour’s fourth and final playoff event were Australian Jason Day, whose caddie had to withdraw after seven holes because of a back problem, and Americans Patrick Reed and Jim Furyk. McIlroy, who has enjoyed a brilliant 2014 campaign, clinching two major titles among four wins worldwide, was a little frustrated after a 69 that included four birdies and three bogeys. « Hopefully I can show a little bit more consistency over the next few days, » said the 25-year-old Northern Irishman. « Finish it off the way I feel I should finish it off. « It’s been a great season. Even though I haven’t played my best in these FedExCup playoffs … I definitely want to win here and win the overall thing. » Any of the top five in the points standings would clinch the FedExCup by winning the Tour Championship – and that quintet comprises top-ranked Kirk, Horschel (second), Watson (third), McIlroy (fourth) and Hunter Mahan (fifth). Due to the threat of thunderstorms forecast for Friday afternoon, tee times for the second round have been brought forward by three hours. (Editing by Frank Pingue). Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is backing the new Premier League to take tennis to areas of the world that have little chance of seeing the leading players perform. Speaking at an event to promote this year’s International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), the British number one was quoted by the organizers as saying: « Being able to grow the sport globally is important to me. « It’s great to be able to play tennis in parts of the world that don’t have a huge tennis heritage but have a big fan base. » The IPTL, which will offer prize money of $29.7 million, will start in November in four cities – Manila, Dubai, Mumbai and Singapore – and the four franchises have attracted top players. Murray and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have joined the Manila group, Singapore have world number one Serena Williams and Czech Tomas Berdych, Dubai include Wimbledon top seed Novak Djokovic and Mumbai boast world number one Rafa Nadal. Former India cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar is part of the Singapore franchise and he said: « Tennis as a sport has always been instrumental in transcending borders and catering to multiple demographies. « Singapore rivals my home town Mumbai as one of the greatest cities of Asia and I’m confident the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore will ensure our franchise is a great success. » Berdych, former world number one Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Tsonga attended the IPTL event close to the All England Club where the Wimbledon championships start on Monday. (Reporting by Clare Lovell, editing by Tony Goodson).

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