Ko cashes in after getting clean slate
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.
Golf Rain washed out play for Lydia Ko in the first round of the Evian Championship.