Sunday, June 24, 2018

Love among St. Jude leaders

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Davis Love III is busy trying to play his way back into shape after back surgery in February. Playing with Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson, he did a bit better than just keep up.

Love, 49, shot 4-under 66 for his best round of the year Thursday for a share of the lead with five others after the first round of the St. Jude Classic, the final event before the U.S. Open next week.

"I still hit some bad shots," Love said. "I'm excited to be back, and I'm anxious, and I want to play better than I'm playing. … You got to be a little bit more patient and polished. That's going to take some rounds of golf to get back."

Stuart Appleby, Harris English, Nathan Green, Martin Flores and Glen Day also pushed their way into the lead.

Defending champ Dustin Johnson was 5 under through six holes, taking advantage of near perfect conditions at TPC Southwind with the temperature in the low 80s and only a slight breeze early. But he finished with 67 and was tied with 10 others at 3 under.

Snedeker, No. 6 in the world, opened with 70. Phil Mickelson had 71.

Love left the PGA Tour in February for surgery to relieve numbness and weakness caused by spinal stenosis and bone spurs. He didn't play in March or April. This is his fourth tournament back. He tied for 29th at Memorial last weekend.

He credited his good start to being grouped with Johnson and Snedeker, who also like to play fast. "I tried to keep up with Dustin and Brandt," Love said.

Rain delays start of LPGA Championship

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Steady rain punctuated by heavy downpours and occasional lightning forced the postponement of the first round of the LPGA Championship, the second major of the year. The first round was rescheduled to begin this morning, with the second round Saturday and 36 holes Sunday.

"The problem became the golf course," said Sue Witters, LPGA director of tournament competition. "We had numerous greens under water, fairways puddling."

More than a half-inch of rain had fallen by mid morning, and it was still raining hard more than two hours after the noon postponement announcement.

The overnight forecast called for a break in the rain, which would give the grounds crew a chance to get the course in shape. More rain was expected today, but Witters said she was confident the course would be okay.

Champions: Jeff Sluman shot 7-under 65 and had a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples after the first round of the Regions Tradition, the second of five majors, in Birmingham, Ala. Duffy Waldorf and Peter Senior shot 67. Mark Calcavecchia, Michael Allen, David Frost and Corey Pavin were at 68. Two-time defending champion Tom Lehman was among 11 players with 69.

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