The Open 2019: Shane Lowry sets Royal Portrush course record as he goes into final round four shots clear of Tommy Fleetwood

20 Jul

Shane Lowry takes a four shot lead into the final round of The Open after a scintillating round of 63 at Royal Portrush on Saturday.

The Irishman broke the course record with an eight-under-par round to have a commanding lead over the rest of the field.

Shane Lowry leads The Open by four shots
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Lowry came close to equalling the record for lowest round at a major championship but missed his birdie chance on the 18th hole.

Tommy Fleetwood is in second place with a round of 66 to take him to 12-under-par.

It is not the first time Lowry has taken a four shot lead going into the final round of a major.

Tommy Fleetwood is in second place at Royal Portrush
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At the 2016 U.S Open, he led Dustin Johnson by four shots but faded in the final round as the American won the title.

Shane Lowry told Sky Sports: “I’m still a bit fuzzy. I just really enjoyed today. Obviously I played great golf, the crowd were incredible and I just felt so comfortable. I know there’s a tough 24 hours ahead of me but there’s nowhere I’d rather be.

“I said to my caddie walking off 17 that the next half an hour, we might never experience it again so let’s enjoy it.

“It was one of the most incredible days of my life.

“I hope I am going to be able to deal with it but I think I’m ready for it.”

American J.B Holmes is in third place on 10-under-par while Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose are a further shot back on nine-under-par.

Brooks Koepka is seven shots behind the leader
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Tee times for the final round have been moved forward due to adverse weather forecast.

The first tee will be at 7.32am with the leaders going out at 1.47pm.

You can listen to live action from the final round at Royal Portrush on talkSPORT 2.

US Open result: Gary Woodland holds off Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose to win $2.25million prize money at Pebble Beach

17 Jun

Gary Woodland won the US Open and struggled to put into words the feeling of winning his first major title.

The 35-year-old American held off the challenge of defending champion Brooks Koepka to win at Pebble Beach.

The US Open was Woodland’s first major golf victory
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Woodland carded a final round of 69 to finish 13 under par and three shots clear of Koepka, who was aiming to become the second player to win three straight US Opens.

Justin Rose was tied for the lead after a birdie on the opening hole, but faded on the back nine to share third with Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Chez Reavie, while the expected challenge from Rory McIlroy never materialised after a double bogey on the second.

Woodland had failed to convert any of his seven 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour into a win, but withstood the stubborn challenge of Rose and early charge from Koepka to land the title and first prize of $2.25million.

Moments after holing the winning putt, Woodland embraced his mother and father behind the 18th green, while his wife Gabby was at home as she is expecting twin girls in August.

The couple lost one of the twins they were expecting two years ago and their surviving son, Jaxson, who celebrates his second birthday next week, was born prematurely weighing just three pounds.

“It’s hard not being with them and I’m excited to get home and see them and have a little birthday party,” Woodland said.

“But it’s nice to have my dad here. I would not be here without him. I probably did not realise how special it all was until I became a father.”

After Koepka made a flying start with four birdies in his first five holes, Woodland responded with birdies on the second and third and twice enjoyed a three-shot lead before carding just his third bogey of the week on the ninth.

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Justin Rose looks on as Woodland celebrates his victory on the 18th green at Pebble Beach[/caption]

Koepka closed to within a shot of the lead for the first time with a birdie on the 11th, only to promptly bogey the next after finding sand off the tee.

Woodland was starting to feel the pressure and dropped his second shot in four holes on the 12th, but then struck what proved to be the vital blow with a stunning approach from 263 yards on the 14th which landed just over the greenside bunker and ran a few inches off the green.

From there, the world number 25 chipped to three feet and tapped in for his first birdie since the third hole and he effectively sealed victory with a sublime pitch from the corner of the 17th green which span to a halt just two feet from the hole.

Woodland, who has worked hard on his short game with renowned Yorkshire coach Pete Cowen, then put the icing on the cake by holing from 30 feet for birdie on the 18th.

“The drive on 14 was huge and then I hit a great second shot,” Woodland added.

Defending champion Koepka was attempting to become the second man to win three successive US Opens
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“The idea was to play to win. I could have easily laid up but my caddie gave me a lot of confidence when he told me to hit 3-wood and that birdie kind of separated me a little bit.

“On 17 I had that shot earlier this week and it’s the second time I got it up and down. I would have taken four if I had to but it came off perfectly.”

Koepka, who has now finished first, second, first and second in his last four majors, was magnanimous in defeat, saying: “Gary played a helluva round today, props to him for the way he hung in there. It was pretty cool.

“When I was on 18 I realised I was that close to accomplishing something that has not been done in more than 100 years and that’s special, but I don’t think anybody in the world played as good as Gary did.”

World number 25 Woodland shot a two-under 69 to win by three on 13 under from two-time defending champion Koepka
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Rose had relied heavily on his scrambling skills all week but was finally found out on the back nine as he dropped three shots in the space of four holes.

“I made three good saves at nine, 10 and 11 and I was right in the tournament but then just kept missing in the wrong spot,” Rose said.

“And the putter wasn’t quite as warm today as it was yesterday. It took a bit of a day off. But I felt like I had to have a day where I pieced everything together to win. It was close.

“But coming in, once momentum leaves you a little bit, it just becomes hard to grind it out.”

Brooks Koepka hangs on to defend US PGA Championship title despite late wobble

20 May

Brooks Koepka survived an unexpectedly nerve-racking final round to defend his US PGA Championship title and claim a remarkable fourth major victory in his last eight starts.

Koepka had followed a course record of 63 on Thursday with a second round of 65 to set the lowest halfway total in major championship history and took a tournament-record seven-shot lead into the last day at a blustery Bethpage.

Koepka held off Dustin Johnson on the final day

No player has ever surrendered such a lead in a major after 54 holes and the 29-year-old remained six clear with eight to play, but bogeyed the next four holes to allow good friend Dustin Johnson to close within a single shot.

However, with the raucous New York crowd now chanting his name, Johnson dropped shots on the 16th and 17th to give Koepka the breathing space he so desperately needed.

To his credit, Koepka vitally found the fairway on both the difficult 15th and 16th holes and had the luxury of dropping a shot on the 17th before completing a closing 74 to finish eight under, two shots ahead of Johnson.

England’s Matt Wallace was four shots further back in a share of third place with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry among a tie for eighth on one over.

Koepka will replace Johnson as world number one on Monday and with the US PGA moving from August to May this year, he is the first player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time following his US Open wins in 2017 and 2018.

Birdies on the fourth, sixth and ninth had taken Johnson to the turn in 32 and reduced the gap to four, Koepka having made a poor start with a bogey on the first before reducing the par-five fourth to a drive and an eight-iron to set up a two-putt birdie.

Koepka was made to work for the victory

With Johnson about to drop a shot on the 11th, Koepka struck what looked to be the killer blow with a stunning approach to the 10th to set up a tap-in birdie and restore a six-stroke cushion, although he had to hole from six feet on the next to avoid a double bogey.

Another bogey on the 12th saw the lead trimmed to four shots again and Koepka was fortunate to get away with a wild drive on the 13th which finished on a trampled down patch of grass where the spectators had been walking.

However, he failed to find the fairway with his recovery and came up short of the green with his third shot before three-putting from long range.

Johnson made things interesting

A third straight bogey meant his lead was down to three and minutes later it was just two as Johnson holed from 11 feet for birdie on the 15th.

Koepka’s mind was scrambled by this point and his tee shot on the 14th flew fully 15 yards over the green as a combination of adrenaline and a possible drop in the wind struck at the most inopportune moment.

With a fourth bogey in a row Koepka’s lead was down to a single shot but he got the help he needed when Johnson was unable to save par from over the 16th green and another bogey on the 17th effectively ended his chances.

After finishing runner-up in the Masters last month, Johnson has now finished second in all four majors with his sole success coming in the 2016 US Open.

Koepka made it back-to-back championships

Speaking at the trophy presentation, Koepka said: “I’m just glad we didn’t have to play any more holes, that was a stressful round of golf.

“The wind was up, DJ (Johnson) played awesome and he put the pressure on. I’m glad to have this thing (the Wanamaker Trophy) back in my hands.

“It’s incredible. I don’t even know if I dreamed of this. This is cool. I am still in shock right now, this is awesome.”

The Masters 2019 odds: Brooks Koepka slashed from 28/1 to 5/1 favourite to win, Rory McIlroy slips down to ninth

12 Apr

Former world No.1 Brooks Koepka has emerged as the clear favourite to win the Masters after his brilliant opening round at Augusta National.

The American’s odds have been cut from 28/1 to 5/1 to win the major.

Koepka is seeking his fourth major of his career and a first triumph at Augusta

Play started on Thursday and 16 per cent of all bets on the eventual winner have been placed on Koepka wearing the Green Jacket on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson is second favourite at 13/2, with Bryson DeChambeau (7/1), John Rahm (12/1) and Phil Mickelson (14/1) third, fourth and fifth favourites respectively.

Fellow American Tiger Woods is also 14/1 to win the major while Rickie Fowler (16/1), Adam Scott (25/1) and Rory McIlroy (25/1) outside contenders.


Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek: “Koepka is the early standout and has put himself in a great position. That’s translated into what the public is punting, with Koepka easily the most popular.

“But, with the likes of Dustin Johnson breathing down his neck, he’ll know that there is a long way to go before thinking about a fourth major.”

Below you can see the contenders to win the 2019 Masters.

9 – Rory McIlroy (25/1)

McIlroy has never won at Augusta

9 – Adam Scott (25/1)

Scott won the Masters in 2013

7 – Rickie Fowler (16/1)

US Open: Rickie Fowler sets first-round pace as Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy struggle
Fowler finished second in last year’s Masters

6 – Tiger Woods (14/1)

Tiger Woods shot 70 in the first round at The Masters

6 – Phil Mickelson (14/1)

Phil Mickelson enjoyed a good start to this year’s competition

4 – Jon Rahm (12/1)

Rahm reached a career high of world No.2 in January 2018

3 – Bryson DeChambeau (7/1)

DeChambeau in action in Round One on Thursday

2 – Dustin Johnson (13/2)

Johnson has one major to his name – the U.S Open in 2016
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1 – Brooks Koepka (5/1)

Koepka is the favourite going into the second day at Augusta

The Masters 2019: Why Tiger Woods’ opening round of 70 is bad news for the rest of the field at Augusta

12 Apr

Tiger Woods got off to a solid start at The Masters on Thursday with a two-under-par round of 70.

Most of the field would be content with an under-par first 18 at the notoriously challenging Augusta.

Tiger Woods shot 70 in the first round at The Masters

Woods is tied 11th and four shots off leaders Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka – who shot 66.

Three-time former Masters champions Phil Mickelson is one shot further back after his opening round of 67.

Phil Mickelson enjoyed a good start to this year’s competition

A score of 70 on the opening day is possibly a good omen for the 43-year-old Woods.

In three of his four victories at Augusta, the veteran hit the exact same opening round score and went on to win the Green Jacket.

His first came in 1997 when he won by an astonishing 12 shots. The second was in 2001 when 16-under-par was enough to win.

He made it back-to-back victories the following year and became the first person since Nick Faldo in 1990 to defend his title.

Woods’ fourth, and last, win at The Masters came in 2005 but he had to come back from a disappointing opening round of 74 to win.

He eventually fought his way back to win a play-off against Chris DiMarco.

The 14-time major champion will tee off for his second round at this year’s competition at 5.49pm (GMT) with Jon Rahm and Haotong Li.

The Masters 2019 tips: Super Computer predicts where Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and co will finish at Augusta

11 Apr

The 2019 Masters is upon us as golf’s greatest descend on Augusta National looking to get their hands on a legendary Green Jacket.

The first Major of the year is always a special event with the Georgia course providing the perfect backdrop to all the drama.

If McIlroy wins, it would complete a career Grand Slam for him

It’s one of the highlights of the sporting calendar and to mark the occasion, talkSPORT has fired up its famous Super Computer to predict who will make up the top ten come Sunday evening.

This year’s tournament is one of the most unpredictable in years with a host of star names in contention.

Here’s how our Super Computer sees the final leaderboard of The Masters.

10. Brooks Koepka

Koepka won two of the four Majors in 2018 but is yet to produce his best at Augusta. We have the 28-year-old from Jupiter, Florida making the top ten this year but only just.

9. Tiger Woods

The four-time Masters champion is a legend around the famous old course and is looking for glory again this year. A top ten for the golfing icon looks good but the stacked field could scupper his chances.

8. Jon Rahm

The 24-year-old Spaniard will be one of golf’s biggest stars for years to come and already has a top-four finish at the Masters on his CV. He could go close again this year but may have to wait for his first Major title.

7. Francesco Molinari

Few golfers have ever had a better year than Molinari did in 2018. Unfortunately for the Italian, Augusta just doesn’t seem to suit his game with his previous best being T19. While he could improve on that this year, a Green Jacket looks set to elude him.

Masters legend Tiger Woods has won the event four times

6. Justin Thomas

JT is another young man set for a glittering career but is also yet to show what he can do at the Masters. The Kentucky man will be a threat but a top five could just be too much.

5. Justin Rose

The English Rose somehow still has only one Major title to his name. A mixed start to this season could mean he’ll come up short again following his second place finish two years ago.

4. Dustin Johnson

One of the top ranked players in the world, DJ is another man with just one Major going into this week’s tournament. He’ll be eager to add to that tally in 2019 but the Masters looks set to just pass him by.

3. Jordan Spieth

The champion from 2015 will be right in the mix yet again this year but his poor form so far this season could mean he’ll have to wait for another Green Jacket.

Jordan Spieth will be looking to win his second Green Jacket, having won it in 2015

2. Rickie Fowler

Second last year and on a course that suits his game well, Fowler will yet again be near the top of the leaderboard. Still without a Major title, the 30-year-old may have to wait until later in the summer to claim his first.

1. Rory McIlroy

McIlroy has had to wait since 2014 to claim his career Grand Slam but he could be set to achieve that remarkable feat this week. The northern Irishman has a chequered past at Augusta but he could lay his old demons to rest with a stunning win in 2019.

Ryder Cup 2018: European Tour makes statement on golf fan left blind in one eye from Brooks Koepka ball

2 Oct

The Ryder Cup organisers say they will ‘continue to offer support for as long as necessary’ to a golf fan left blind in one eye while watching the 2018 edition.

Corine Remande, 49, was with her husband to watch the event, which was won by Europe, but was knocked to the ground on the first day when Brooks Koepka’s wayward ball struck her.

Corine Remande was floored by a wayward tee shot from Brooks Koepka

Scans on her eye revealed a “fracture of the right socket and the explosion of the eyeball”, which, she said, surgeons managed to sew back together.

“However they told me I’d lost the sight in my right eye, and this was what was confirmed to me today (Monday),” Ms Remande told the AFP, revealing she is set to consult a lawyer with a view to seeking damages.

“More than anything I want them to take care of all the medical bills to make sure there is no risk of infection,” she said.

Koepka was quick to apologise and went over to check on her well being, signing a glove to give to her – a gesture that was appreciated. However, Ms Remande, who was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital, said she didn’t hear anything after being carted off.

Koepka rushed over to Ms Remande to check on her and offered her a signed glove

On Tuesday, a Ryder Cup spokesperson said: “It is distressing to hear that someone might suffer long term consequences from a ball strike.

“The spectator hit by a ball at the 6th hole during Friday’s play was treated by first responders immediately and taken to hospital. We have been in communication with the family involved, starting with the immediate on-course treatment and thereafter to provide support, helping with the logistics of repatriation, including providing a transfer for the family from Paris to Lyon. We will continue to offer support for as long as necessary.

“Ball strikes are an occasional hazard for spectators but this kind of incident is extremely rare. We can confirm that ‘fore’ was shouted several times but also appreciate how hard it can be to know when and where every ball is struck if you are in the crowd. We are hugely sympathetic and will do everything we can to support the spectator, insofar as that is possible under very difficult circumstances.”

Golf fan hit by Brooks Koepka’s ball during Ryder Cup loses sight in right eye

2 Oct

The golf fan who was struck in the eye by Brooks Koepka’s ball during the Ryder Cup has lost sight in her eye.

Corine Remande, 49, had travelled to France from Egypt with her husband to watch the 2018 event just outside Paris, which was won by Europe.

Corine Remande was floored by a wayward tee shot from Brooks Koepka

But she was hit early on Friday by the American, known as one of the biggest hitters on the tour.

Koepka was quick to apologise and went over to check on her well being, signing a glove to give to her.

She appreciated the gesture, but said she planned to sue the organisers.

“Quite clearly, there is responsibility on the part of the organisers,” Ms Remande told AFP.

“Officials did not shout any warning as the player’s ball went into the crowd.”

Koepka rushed over to Ms Remande to check on her and offered her a signed glove

On Koepka’s attentiveness she said: “I tried to stay positive with him so that he didn’t lose his concentration.

“But once I was taken away, I didn’t hear anything from the organisers.”

Ms Remande is set to consult a lawyer on Tuesday with a view to seeking damages.

“More than anything I want them to take care of all the medical bills to make sure there is no risk of infection,” she said.

She received first aid on the spot before being transferred to a specialist eye hospital in Paris.

Afterwards, she was taken to her parents’ home in Lyon as doctors advised her not to fly immediately back to Egypt.

Scans on her eye revealed a “fracture of the right socket and the explosion of the eyeball”, which, she said, surgeons managed to sew back together.

“However they told me I’d lost the sight in my right eye, and this was what was confirmed to me today (Monday),” she explained.

Golf fan hit and left bloodied by Brooks Koepka’s ball during 2018 Ryder Cup

28 Sep

A female fan at the Ryder Cup needed medical attention when she was struck by Brooks Koepka’s wayward tee shot.

Koepka rushed over to check on the fan, whose weekend is likely to be a sore one after the big hitting American’s ball hit her in the face

The American – known as one of the biggest hitters on the PGA tour – was attempting a huge drive on the sixth hole when his ball floored her.

Rich Beem, on-course commentator for Sky Sports, said Koepka was clearly shaken up.

The 28-year-old rushed over to check on her and spent several minutes talking with the medical staff before rejoining the match. He was pictured signing his glove and handing it over as a way of apologising.

 

The American was horrified by what had happened and signed his glove to give to the fan to show how sorry he was
Koepka rejoined the match, leaving the fan in the care of medics, after doing all he could

Kopkea, who won the PGA Championship and US Open earlier this year, started Friday playing alongside Tony Finau against Europe’s Justin Rose and Jon Rahm as America attempt to defend the title won at Hazeltine in 2016.

You can keep up to date with the Ryder Cup in full on talkSPORT 2 right here.