Ko cashes in after get­ting clean slate

Weekend Herald - - RUGBY - Erakovic swept out in Que­bec Mis­sile haz­ard halts play Fan flood de­lays Gun­ners win In­di­ans keep un­beaten run go­ing Hig­gin­botham charges dropped

Sec­ond time around, Ly­dia Ko has made a great start to the sea­son’s fifth and fi­nal ma­jor, the Evian Cham­pi­onship, in France.

The orig­i­nal first round was wiped out after the LPGA said heavy rain and wind which forced the suspension of play ad­versely af­fected the play­ers who had been on the course at the time. So the tour­na­ment was restarted as a three- round event rather than four rounds.

Ko, who won the event in 2015 for her first ma­jor ti­tle, was one of those over par when play was called off on Thurs­day and she made great use of the clean slate by card­ing a bo­gey- free 3 un­der par 68 last night ( NZT) to be in­side the top 10 with half the field still to the start their rounds.

The most dra­matic turn­around came from Korean Sung Hyun Park, who had been 6 over par when the first day’s play was can­celled. She came out yes­ter­day and fired an 8 un­der par 63 to be the early leader.

LPGA com­mis­sioner Mike Whan says fair­ness was at the heart of their redo rul­ing. “While we did not make this de­ci­sion lightly, we be­lieve that this is the right de­ci­sion — to have the fairest, most com­pet­i­tive tour­na­ment for all play­ers in this field,” he said.

After the sec­ond round, a cut will be made and the top 70 play­ers and ties will ad­vance to the fi­nal round on Sun­day.

In America, Danny Lee’s FedEx Cup hopes came to a dra­matic halt when he was forced to quit his first round at the BMW Cham­pi­onship in Illi­nois.

The Kiwi No 1’ s in­jury- plagued sea­son hit a low- point when he was seen prone on his back on the third fair­way at Con­way Farms Golf Club.

Lee re­ceived ex­ten­sive treat­ment but de­cided he couldn’t con­tinue.

It was the fi­nal act of the sea­son for world No 93 Lee, who had started the round en­cour­ag­ingly with an ea­gle on the first hole be­fore bo­gey­ing the sec­ond.

Ranked 69th on the Tour’s points stand­ings, he needed a top- three fin­ish this week to ad­vance to the Tour Cham­pi­onship in At­lanta.

It ended a dif­fi­cult cam­paign for the 27- year- old, who was forced to with­draw with in­jury four times from PGA tour­na­ments.

He recorded four top- 10 fin­ishes in 2017, in­clud­ing a third plac­ing at the Trav­ellers Cham­pi­onship in Con­necti­cut in June.

Lee’s rank­ing wasn’t high enough to win a place in the In­ter­na­tional team to con­test the Pres­i­dents Cup team tour­na­ment against the United States in New Jersey later this month.

Aus­tralian Marc Leish­man, fresh from a third- place fin­ish at the pre­vi­ous FedEx Cup play- off event in Bos­ton, shot an open­ing round of 9 un­der 62 to hold a two- shot lead over coun­try­man Ja­son Day and Amer­i­cans Charley Hoff­man and Jamie Love­mark. FedEx Cup points leader Jor­dan Spi­eth and Rickie Fowler ( both 65) head­line a five- way tie for fifth at six- un­der.

And in Europe, Ryan Fox fin­ished even par at the KLM Open in the Nether­lands be­fore the round was sus­pended due to bad weather. Olympic bronze medal- win­ning sailor Sam Meech is away to a pow­er­house start at the Laser world cham­pi­onships in Croa­tia, hold­ing down third place. Kiwi Meech notched a win and a fourth plac­ing in Split to sit three points be­hind Cypriot Pav­los Kon­tides, who won both his races. The field of 147 boats has been split into four fleets for the open­ing phase of the re­gatta. Meech, who snared bronze at Rio last year, was pleased to per­form well in light, un­pre­dictable con­di­tions, par­tic­u­larly after strug­gling on the open­ing day of other re­gat­tas this year. Fel­low Kiwi Thomas Saun­ders is 18th after a 15th and a third while Ge­orge Gautrey is 66th and An­drew McKen­zie 74th. Ma­rina Erakovic has lost in straight sets to a Bel­gian ri­val in the sec­ond round of a WTA tour­na­ment in Que­bec, Canada. Kiwi No 1 Erakovic went down 6- 4 7- 6 to Bel­gian sev­enth seed Ali­son Van Uyt­vanck, a player ranked 76 places higher than her at 98th in the world. It was just the third time in a dif­fi­cult year that Erakovic ad­vanced past the first round of the main draw, hav­ing de­feated Rus­sian qual­i­fier Alla Kudryavt­seva 6- 4 6- 1 on Tues­day.

Com­mis­sioner Mike Whan

Golfers in Ja­pan have been caught up in a mis­sile launch by North Korea as they were forced to sus­pend play dur­ing a tour­na­ment. Aus­tralian Matthew Grif­fin said on Twit­ter: “Well this is a first. We cur­rently have a suspension of play in Sap­poro, Ja­pan, due to North Korea launch­ing bal­lis­tic mis­siles.” Play­ers re­ceived a text alert yes­ter­day morn­ing in­form­ing them of North Korea’s mis­sile launch and that play had been sus­pended. The weapon trav­elled over Ja­pan’s north­ern Hokkaido and landed far out into the Pa­cific Ocean. A stun­ning Alexis Sanchez strike has helped Ar­se­nal beat Cologne 3- 1 in their Europa League opener, with the game de­layed by an hour due to crowd prob­lems. Kick- off was put back be­cause thou­sands of tick­et­less Cologne fans caused con­ges­tion out­side the Emi­rates, with some re­port­edly in­volved in skir­mishes with stew­ards. Cologne fans were vis­i­ble in many sec­tors within the sta­dium for their team’s first Euro­pean game in 25 years, some find­ing their way into ar­eas re­served for Ar­se­nal fans after the Ger­mans were only al­lo­cated 3000 tick­ets for the game — 20,000 sup­port­ers trav­elled. The Cleve­land In­di­ans added a walkoff win to a base­ball streak that has had ev­ery­thing. Jay Bruce hit an RBI dou­ble in the 10th in­ning as the In­di­ans ral­lied for their 22nd straight win to ex­tend their Amer­i­can League record, beat­ing the Kansas City Roy­als 3- 2 yes­ter­day to move within four wins of match­ing the 1916 New York Gi­ants for the long­est streak in ma­jor league his­tory. After blowouts, shutouts and easy wins, the In­di­ans, who tied it in the ninth on Fran­cisco Lin­dor’s two- out, two- strike RBI dou­ble, went into ex­tra in­nings for the first time to keep the long­est streak in 101 years in­tact. For­mer Aus­tralian test player Scott Hig­gin­botham has been cleared over an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Queens­land state po­lice after charges against him were dropped yes­ter­day. Hig­gin­botham, who plays for the Reds in Su­per Rugby, was charged in Fe­bru­ary with ob­struct­ing po­lice after one of his friends was ar­rested for uri­nat­ing in pub­lic. The 31- year- old Hig­gin­botham has played 34 tests for Aus­tralia but none since the shock loss to Scot­land in June.

Pic­ture / Getty Im­ages

Golf Rain washed out play for Ly­dia Ko in the first round of the Evian Cham­pi­onship.

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