Sunday, December 17, 2017
Golf

Ko tied for lead at weather-plagued Coates Championship in Ocala

OCALA — Lydia Ko hit the ball only 22 times in 11 hours Friday in the Coates Championship and finished where she started — with a share of the lead and still a long way from the finish line.

Ko, who began the day tied with Ha Na Jang for the lead at 7 under, three-putted from 15 feet for bogey in 39-degree weather to finish the rain-delayed second round in the morning. In the afternoon, she made one birdie in six holes to get back to 7 under and share the lead again with Jang, who played 24 holes before third-round play was called because of darkness.

None of the 75 players who made the cut finished the round, which was to resume this morning.

Jang played her entire second round Friday morning, when temperatures eventually climbed into the 50s. She made 15 pars, two birdies and a double bogey for par 72 and the 36-hole lead. Jang was at par through six holes of the third round when play was halted.

Lexi Thompson was among five players who were one shot out of the lead.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome was 2 over through 11 holes of the third round.

Rain that soaked Golden Ocala on Thursday gave way to a cold front that chilled much of the state. Ko, the world's top-ranked player and making her season debut, had a 15-foot birdie putt on her last hole of the second round when she returned Friday morning, only to ram the putt about 4 feet by. She missed the next one for par and had to make a 31/2-foot bogey putt to limit the damage. That gave her 69.

"I did some 15-footer practice on the putting green before I went, but when I hit it on the course, the green was a touch faster than what I thought it would be," Ko said. "Obviously, it's not the best start of the day, but I had a nap and got over it, and it definitely got much better. "

Players had to wear extra layers of clothing in the cold weather, and Jang soldiered on beautifully with a steady diet of pars to offset her lone mistake in the morning. She started the third round with a birdie, dropped a shot on the next hole and followed with four pars.

"Very confident right now," Jang said.

Tournament officials still hoped to finish today. The weather forecast predicted a 30 percent chance of rain and a high temperature in the 60s.

PGA: James Hahn shot bogey-free 6-under 65 in breezy conditions to take the clubhouse lead in the Phoenix Open at Scottsdale, Ariz. Hahn was at 10-under 132, a stroke ahead of first-round co-leader Rickie Fowler (68) and Danny Lee (66) when played was called because of darkness for the second day with players still on the course. First-round co-leaders Shane Lawry (70) and Hideki Matsuyama (70) were 7 under.

PGA Europe: Ernie Els surged into contention at the Dubai Desert Classic while Rory McIlroy struggled just to make the cut in the second round at the United Arab Emirates. Els, who has dropped to 205th in the world after struggling with yips over the past year, shot 5-under 67 to move to within one shot of leader Rafael Cabrera-Bello (67), who was at 10-under 134. Els was tied with Trevor Fisher (68) and Danny Willett (65). Defending champion McIlroy shot 72 to sit at 4-under 140. He had three birdies in his last three holes to finish three above the cut line. First-round leader Alex Noren shot 75 and was 3 under.

Champions: Corey Pavin and Todd Hamilton shot 6-under 66s in blustery conditions to share the first-round lead at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton. Tom Lehman and Billy Andrade had 67s.

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