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PGA Tour expands 2019-20 season schedule to 49 tournaments

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PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. Photo: PGA Tour/Getty Images

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida: The PGA Tour on Tuesday announced an expanded 2019-20 season schedule of 49 FedExCup tournaments, featuring a dramatically changed opening segment and several late-season adjustments to accommodate the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The schedule reflects a net increase of three tournaments over the current season. Eleven of the 46 regular season events will be conducted in the opening portion of the schedule between September-November. This segment includes two new tournaments in The Zozo Championship in Japan and the Bermuda Championship, plus the return of A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier and the Houston Open following one-year absences due to their transition from 2018 mid-season dates.

Later in the season, the Tour will have an open week during the men’s Olympic competition (week of July 27-August 2) before resuming with the Wyndham Championship and three FedExCup Playoffs events. Several changes also have been made leading up to the Olympics, most notably: the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit moving one month earlier to late May; and the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and Barracuda Championship shifting from late July to the first week of the month, exchanging dates with the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota.

“After a very successful first year with our new schedule, we are thrilled to expand the number of events to 49 while maintaining a great flow from start-to-finish, allowing our fans to better engage and follow the Tour throughout the season,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

“For the second year, we’re excited about kicking off the season of Championships with The Players in March, bookended by the FedExCup Playoffs in August, and the return of the Olympics in that window. As for the early-season portion of the schedule, our players grasp the importance of a strong start in the Race for the FedExCup and this has translated into growth and momentum for the events played in the fall.”

With the PGA Tour season now ending in August at the Tour Championship, the 2019-20 season will open the week of September 9-15 with A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. The Sanderson Farms Championship follows with its first-ever standalone date (September 16-22), before the Tour moves on to the Safeway Open, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and Houston Open. 2019-20 PGA TOUR Schedule

The Tour then embarks on a three-tournament Asian swing, beginning October 14-20 with The CJ Cup @Nine Bridges at Jeju Island, Korea. The Zozo Championship debuts at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba Prefecture October 21-27, followed by the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China, the week of October 28-November 3, which also marks the debut of the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Club in Southampton.

Following a week off, the Tour continues the 2019 segment at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (November 11-17) before concluding with The RSM Classic. While that marks the end of FedExCup competition until the first week of January 2020, the 13th Presidents Cup returns to the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia the week of December 9-15. It was there that the International Team claimed its lone victory over the U.S. Team in 1998.

Once the Tour resumes in January in Hawaii, the scheduling sequence remains unchanged from the current season until the Rocket Mortgage Classic’s move from the last week of June to May 25-31. The next four weeks remain the same before the move of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and Barracuda Championship to June-29-July 5 and the 3M Open to July 20-26, the week before the Olympic competition.

Following the Olympic Games, the regular season wraps up at the Wyndham Championship (August 3-9), where not only the FedExCup Playoffs field will be finalised, but the added drama of the season-long Wyndham Rewards Top-10 will be determined. Introduced this season, the $10 million competition caps the regular season by rewarding the 10 leaders in FedExCup points, with $2 million going to the winner.

Due to the off week for the Olympics, the FedExCup Playoffs will begin one week later and conclude the final week of August: The Northern Trust August 10-16; BMW Championship August 17-23; and the Tour Championship August 24-30.

The FedExCup Playoffs wrap-up the season of Championships, which begins with The Players Championship (March 9-15) and continues through the Masters Tournament (April 6-12); PGA Championship (May 11-17); U.S. Open (June 15-21); and The Open Championship (July 13-19).

Several new or familiar venues are included during this stretch, beginning with the PGA Championship visiting TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, the U.S. Open returning to Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, and The Open Championship going to Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England.

Additionally, The Northern Trust will be held for the first time in the Boston market at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, while the BMW Championship will visit Olympia Fields Country Club in suburban Chicago.

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Rookie Gauri Karhade wins maiden pro title in sixth attempt

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Gauri Karhade in action during final round

Hyderabad: Rookie Gauri Karhade playing only her sixth event as a pro on the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour, stunned the front runners, amateur Shreya Pal, and the seasoned Gaurika Bishnoi, to land her first title on the circuit. She stayed calm and held her nerve to shoot a final round of 73 for a total of two-under 214 and win the 12th Leg by one shot over Gaurika Bishnoi (75) and Afshan Fatima (70).

Afshan Fatima, who made a great charge on the front nine with a two-under 34, held the lead midway through the back nine but dropped crucial back-to-back bogeys on 15th and 16th to fall into a tie for second with Gaurika at one-under 215.

Playing the final group, overnight leader, Shreya Pal began with a flourish on the first with a birdie. But she dropped three bogeys in the next four holes. Gauri, starting the final day two behind leader Shreya and one behind Gaurika, was steady and she parred the first five holes, as Gaurika also dropped a shot on second.

Then it was Gauri’s turn to make a mistake with a double bogey on sixth, but Gaurika dropped a bogey on seventh and Shreya dropped a double bogey. That opened the door for Gauri. Meanwhile, Afshan was making a charge with three birdies against one bogey on the front nine.

After nine holes, it was still a very tight battle. Gaurika, who was four-under for two rounds, was still two-under after 45 holes. Four players, Shreya, Afshan, Gauri and Ananya Datar were at one-under after the front nine.

On the back nine, Gauri and Afshan found birdies on 11th and Gaurika bogeyed to let Gauri and Afshan move into the lead with the two-shot swing. Gauri dropped a shot on 12th to fall back and Afshan was sole leader.

Gauri and Afshan both birdied the 14th at which stage Afshan was ahead at three-under and Gauri was two-under. Gaurika stayed at one-under. Shreya, now five-over for the day after a bogey on 12th, fell back to even par.

Then it was Afshan’s turn to make mistakes and she made two in a row on 15th and 16th that allowed Gauri to sneak ahead. She only had to stay calm and get her pars. She did just that. None of the three, including Gaurika, made birdies on the last two holes, leaving Gauri as the victor.

Gaurika, unable to find birdies the whole day, ended Tied-second with Afshan, who after a great 14 holes made crucial errors to throw away a chance.

Gauri, who started playing at the age of 10 and learnt her early lessons in Thane and Kharghar, has honed her skills at the Poona Golf Club and now resides in Mumbai.

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Korn Ferry finals: Ace golfer Anirban Lahiri gets positive start

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Lahiri had a rough start as he started from 10th and bogeyed 11th and 14th to go two-over.

Columbus: Indian ace golfer Anirban Lahiri started his campaign on a positive note, he shot four-under 67 to be placed at tied-fifth in the first round of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship here. The tournament is the first one in the series of three-event Korn Ferry finals.

The 32-year-old PGA Tour golfer was down by two strokes when he began his round with bogeys at the 11th and 14th holes. But the resilient Indian fought back with six birdies, including back to back birdies to finish the round. He had five birdies in a brilliant second nine, after starting the day at the 10th tee.

“I got off to a bad start but played good as things went on. I dropped a shot on 11th and then hit a bad drive but I started getting more comfortable later on. The greens were slower than what I have played in recent months. But then I was getting more comfortable with the surfaces as things went on,” Lahiri said.

Conversely, another Indian contender Shubhankar Sharma conceded a double bogey on the first hole and battled his way to a 75 that left him outside the top 100.

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Vani snatches lead in Round 2 of 11th leg

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Hyderabad: Vani Kapoor moved into sole lead despite a late double bogey in the second round of the 11th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Hyderabad Golf Club on Thursday. The 25-year-old NCR golfer, who is playing her first domestic event this season and has come back after two months while recovering from niggling injuries, had three birdies against two bogeys and a double bogey in her card of one-over 72.

Vani is now four-over 146, but three shots clear of her nearest rival Gaurika Bishnoi, who shot the day’s best and the week’s first par round of 71.

Gaurika, one of the only two players to have four birdies in the second round, birdied first, sixth, ninth and 17th, while dropping shots on second, seventh, 12th and 14th. Amateur Shreya Pal was the other player with four birdies, but she dropped numerous shots including a triple bogey on the par-4 18th for 76.

Ananya Datar overcame a rough front nine of five-over 40 with a one-under 35 in the back nine for a 75 that brought her to 151 and put her in shared third place with overnight leader, amateur Sneha Singh (78).

Sneha, the 15-year-old Hyderabad golfer who was outstanding on the first day, had a tough day despite three birdies. She had eight bogeys and one double bogey for seven-over 78 that saw her slip to Tied-third place.

Vani birdied the second, gave the gains back on the long Par-3 fourth and birdied the par-5 sixth as she turned in one-under. On the back nine, she dropped a shot on 12th, but birdied the Par-3 16th. Just as it seemed she was set for a big lead, she dropped a double bogey on Par-5 17th to fall back to one-over for the day and finished at 72.

Neha Tripathi (77), Gurjot Badwal (78), amateur Shreya Pal (76) and Khushi Khanijau (75) occupied the fifth to eighth places. Siddhi Kapoor (78) was ninth, while three players, Suchitra Ramesh (78), Gauri Karhade (79) and Amandeep Drall (82) were Tied-tenth.

Ridhima Dilawari and Gursimar Badwal were among the five players tied at 13th with a total of 160.

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