Jason Day To Play High Profile Skins Event

Thursday 19 September: GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR has today announced an upcoming high-profile, live competition featuring global golf icon Tiger Woods to be named The Challenge: Japan Skins.

Woods will go head to head with reigning FedExCup champion and PGA TOUR Player of the Year Rory McIlroy and multiple-time PGA TOUR winners Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in a globally-televised skins game.

The high-stakes exhibition event kicks off the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP week, the first-ever official PGA TOUR event to be played in Japan. Both events will be played at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, during the week of October 21, 2019.

The Challenge: Japan Skins marks the first in a series of annual Challenge events that are set to become a thrilling addition to the global golf calendar, and tees off at 2:00pm AEDT on October 21.

Endorsed by the PGA TOUR and produced in partnership with Excel Sports Management, The Challenge: Japan Skins unites four of the top players in the world from separate continents, who will also participate in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, in an exciting competition format that’s sure to thrill audiences around the globe.

Alongside special in-match challenges and surprises, and finishing under floodlights, each hole will be assigned an increasing monetary value as the competition plays out. Players need to win a hole outright to take a “skin” (tied holes result in a “push” of the skin to the next hole), so golf fans can expect to see aggressive play from start to finish.

The Challenge and the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP brings Tiger Woods back to Japan for the first time in more than 13 years. It is also the first televised exhibition match of Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama’s careers.

Looking ahead to the event, Woods said: “After discussing The Challenge with Discovery and GOLFTV, I wanted to be a part of it. I haven’t been back to Japan since 2006 and the golf fans there are some of the best in the world. It’s a unique format and a top field with Rory, Jason and Hideki. I can’t wait to play against them on a global stage.

“I haven’t played a skins format in quite some time, so it will be fun to try something a little different and add a few strategic elements as we compete. There has already been some friendly banter between us and that will continue until we get to the first tee.”

Day added: “I can’t wait to get out there and play in Japan. We don’t get the opportunity to play skins throughout the year and I’ve never actually played in an exhibition event like this, so The Challenge certainly stood out to me.

 “It’s going to get really competitive between the four of us and that’s one of the great things about skins. The winner is going to be the guy who best executes an aggressive strategy on every hole, so there’s going to be plenty of twists and turns throughout the competition.”  

 

 

Golf Betting Thoughts for September 19th

Not a particularly productive week last week in terms of golf betting but we get straight back on the horse this week at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Sandersons Farms Championship in Mississippi.

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Top Ten for Matt Jones in Season Opener

Matt Jones has finished as the leading Australian at the Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia, a final round of 4 under par 66 good enough to jump six places and into a share of 10th place in the opening event of the new PGA Tour season.

For Jones, who finished runner-up behind Jonas Blixt in this event in 2013, it was just his third top ten of 2019 but represents a good start to the new season as he looks to improve on his 91st place standing in the FedEx Cup last season.

Cameron Smith improved with a final round of 69 to finish as the next best of the Australians in 24th place, Rhein Gibson was next in 57th position and Cameron Percy 63rd.

New Zealander Danny Lee, a previous winner of this event, finished 36th.

The event was won by Chilean, Joaquin Niemann, who is now in his second season on the PGA Tour having finished 67th in the FedEx Cup rankings in his rookie season in 2019.

In winning, Niemann, at the age of 20, became just the third non American to win on the PGA Tour before the age of 21. The others were Seve Ballesteros and Rory McIlroy.

The former world number one amateur produced a final round of 64 to win by six shots over Tom Hoge.

Interestingly, one of Niemann’s previous best PGA Tour finishes of 5th came in this event last year.

Europe snatches Solheim victory from jaws of defeat

Ladies European Tour – Beth Cutler

Europe produced one of the greatest fightbacks in golf history to snatch a dramatic 14 ½ – 13 ½ victory over America in the 16th Solheim Cup at the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles.

For the last 45 minutes of a truly enthralling contest it looks as if the visitors would emerge as victors but that was before Anna Nordqvist, Bronte Law and Suzann Pettersen conspired to turn the result completely on its head.

The Americans needed just half a point from the last three games to retain the trophy but first Nordqvist beat Morgan Pressel and then Law came from behind to snatch an improbable win over Ally McDonald before Pettersen completed one of golf’s greatest acts of escapology with a winning birdie putt against Marina Alex on the last.

It is no wonder the celebrations were tumultuous and no surprise either that the Americans looked shell-shocked because they scarcely deserved to lose.

In fact, the match was so close that no less than six of the 12 singles went to the 18th and Europe edged it purely because they won three and halved one of those.

The timeline best tells the story of the final day.

Carlota Ciganda put the first point on the board for the home side when she beat Danielle Kang on the last in a match in which there was never more than one hole it in but Nelly Korda then evened things up at 9-9 when she came back from three down after nine holes to beat Caroline Hedwall by two holes.

Europe then edged ahead again when Georgia Hall beat Lexi Thompson 2 & 1. The American was in front in that game early on but seemed to be struggling with a back problem and in the end could not contain Hall who went ahead for the for first time on the 11th before claiming another point for the home side on the 17th.

Europe now held a slender 10-9 lead in the match and they went two points ahead when French rookie, Celine Boutier, also came from behind to beat American counterpart Annie Park 2 & 1. That meant the 24-year-old captain’s pick completed her first Solheim Cup with four wins in her four matches and completely vindicated the faith Catriona Matthew had placed in her. It also saw her tie Hall as the top points-earner in the home side.

Europe was chasing 14 ½ points to win but they remained 3 ½ points short of that target when Jodi Ewart Shadoff lost 5 & 4 to US rookie Brittany Altomare. The US revival continued first when Angel Yin led almost all the way to even the match up at 11-11 with a 2 & 1 win over Azahara Munoz and then when Jessica Korda completed a memorable family double with a 3 & 2 comeback victory over Caroline Masson.

That win by the elder Korda sister meant that for the first time in the entire match America held the lead and Europe’s predicament worsened when Charley Hull lost the last hole to halve her match against Megan Khang and again when Anne Van Dam missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the last that would have given her a halve with Lizette Salas.

That one hole win by Salas took the American total to 13 ½ points and meant they just needed half a point to retain the trophy. Strange as it seemed at the time, it was not to be.

At that stage, Anna Nordqvist was four up through 13 holes on Pressel and the Swede went on to win 4 & 3 but Pettersen and Law were tied with Alex and McDonald when both had to win to stop America winning the match.

For three days of intense competition there had been little to choose between the two teams so it was fitting the match was to go right to the wire.

English rookie, Bronte Law, was the first to grasp the moment when she won both the 16th and 17th to beat McDonald 2 & 1 and then seconds later, up ahead at the last, controversial captain’s pick Pettersen, a veteran with eight previous Solheim Cup appearances behind her, holed a ten-foot birdie putt to beat Alex and secure what was one of the most dramatic victories in the history of the game.

Bedlam ensued.

The delirious European team rushed onto the green to hug the Norwegian, while the Americans were left to ponder what might have been.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Europe’s captain, Catriona Matthew. “All 12 of these players, they played their hearts out. We knew it was going to be close today, but to come down to the last putt and for Suzann to hole it, it’s incredible. She got a lot of stick when I picked her, but it shows it was the right one.

“I could barely watch, actually,” she added. “It’s far worse watching. “When you’re playing, you’re kind of in the zone and in the moment, and you’ve got control over things. But watching you just have to have faith in the players. There’s nothing else you can do.”

Juli Inkster, the US captain for a third time in succession, said: “It’s disappointing but, you know what, I told them afterwards the sun’s going to come up tomorrow. We played great; the Europeans played great. You tip your hat and you move on to (the next Solheim Cup at) Toledo.”

Suzann Bows Out at the Top

Suzann Pettersen has announced she is to retire for competitive golf after a sparkling professional career spanning two decades.

Moments after holing the birdie putt that secured Europe’s victory in the 16th Solheim Cup, the 38-year-old Norwegian, confirmed she would be hanging up her clubs with immediate effect.

“That’s it, I’m done,” she said. “I’m closing it down tomorrow.

“I think it’s the perfect closure, there’s no better way to end my professional career. I never thought I was going to be here four months ago until I met Beany (Catriona Matthew). So, to end it this way, that’s very special.”

Pettersen bows out of professional golf having won two majors, 15 LPGA tour titles and seven on the Ladies European Tour. This year marked her ninth appearance in the Solheim Cup, stretching back to 2002, during which she won 18 matches, tied third on the all-time European list alongside Matthew, behind only Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam.

Her most successful year came in 2013 when she won five tournaments around the world and posted an additional eleven top-ten finishes. She ended the year as World No. 2, just behind Inbee Park.

Suzann arrived at Gleneagles as one of Matthew’s captain’s picks having played just twice this season following the birth of her son, Herman, last September but that didn’t stop her combining with Anne Van Dam to beat Danielle Kang 4 & 2 before delivering the winning point against Marina Alex in the singles.

“It didn’t surprise me when Suzann holed that putt,” said US captain, Juli Inkster. “It was great. I mean, I knew she knew the Cup was on the line. And to go ahead and roll that putt in, that’s impressive. That’s why she’s Suzann.”

She also received a glowing tribute from teammate Anna Nordqvist.

“I think I’m speaking for everyone on this team,” she said. “Suzann has been a big role model for all of those the last couple of years, more than that.

“I remember my first Solheim Cup in 2009, I got to play with a lot of my idols growing up. It was Laura Davies, Helen Alfredsson, it was Beany, it was Mimmi Hjorth and Suzann Pettersen. I got paired with Suzann in my second match and it was really cool. It was definitely one of the best highlights of my career.

“She’s going to be missed,” Nordqvist added. “She’s a rock star. She’s such a great character and a big role model for all of us.”

 

RESULTS

FRIDAY FOURSOMES RESULTS

8:10 Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex (USA) halved with Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (Europe)

8:22 Georgia Hall and Céline Boutier (Europe) defeated Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare (USA) 2&1

8:34 Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda (USA) defeated Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (Europe) 6&4

8:46 Charley Hull and Azahara Muñoz (Europe) defeated Megan Khang and Annie Park (USA) 2&1

 

EUROPE 2 ½ USA 1 ½

 

FRIDAY FOURBALL RESULTS

 

12:40 Suzann Pettersen and Anne Van Dam (Europe) defeated Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas (USA) 4&2

12:55 Ally McDonald and Angel Yin (USA) defeated Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall (Europe) 7&5

13:10 Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (Europe) halved with Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson (USA)

13:25 Charley Hull and Azahara Muñoz (Europe) halved with Nelly Korda and Brittany Altomare (USA)

EUROPE 2 USA 2

OVERALL EUROPE 4 ½ USA 3 ½

 

SATURDAY FOURSOMES RESULTS

 

8:10 Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex (USA) defeated Anna Nordqvist and Anne Van Dam (Europe) 2&1

8:22 Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier (Europe) defeated Lizette Salas and Ally McDonald (USA) 3&2

8:34 Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz (EUR) defeated Danielle Kang and Megan Khang (USA) 4&3

8:46 Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda (USA) defeated Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (EUR) 6&5

EUROPE 2 USA 2

OVERALL EUROPE 6 ½ USA 5 ½

 

SATURDAY FOURBALL RESULTS

 

12:40 Brittany Altomare and Annie Park defeated Suzann Pettersen and Anne Van Dam 1 up

12:55 Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson halved with Lexi Thompson and Marina Alex

13:10 Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier defeated Ally McDonald and Angel Yin 2 up

13:25 Lizette Salas and Danielle Kang defeated Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz 2 up

 

USA 2 ½ EUROPE 1 ½

OVERALL EUROPE 8 USA 8

 

SUNDAY SINGLES PAIRINGS (USA first)

 

11:40 Carlota Ciganda defeated Danielle Kang 1 up

11:52 Nelly Korda defeated Caroline Hedwall 2 up

12:04 Georgia Hall defeated Lexi Thompson 2&1

12:16 Celine Boutier defeated Annie Park 2&1 

12:28 Angel Yin defeated Azahara Munoz 2&1

12:40 Megan Khang halved with Charley Hull

12:52 Lizette Salas defeated Anne Van Dam 1 up  

13:04 Jessica Korda defeated Caroline Masson 2&1

13:16 Brittany Altomare defeated Jodi Ewart Shadoff 5&4

13:28 Suzann Pettersen defeated Marina Alex 1 up  

13:40 Bronte Law defeated Ally McDonald 2&1

13:52 Anna Nordqvist defeated Morgan Pressel 4&3

 

EUROPE 6 ½  USA 6

FINAL RESULT: EUROPE 14 1/2  USA 13 ½

 

Garcia Wins First Title of 2019 in Amsterdam

Sergio Garcia has won his first tournament of 2019 with victory at the KLM Open in Amsterdam, holding off a strong late challenge from Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard.

Garcia had shared the 54-hole lead with Englishman Callum Shinkwin and appeared to have the title in his hands with three holes to play before a bogey at the 17th and a failure to make birdie at the par five last saw the winning margin reduced to just one.

For Hojgaard it will be a case of mixed emotions having lost the chance for a first European Tour victory with a bogey at the 16th although it might be he looks back to Friday’s second round when a triple bogey, again at the 16th hole would prove crucial in the final outcome.

“It was honestly amazing to have my brother, Angie my wife and little Azalea here, it’s very special, said Garcia.
“I played well all week under pressure. It wasn’t easy, there were a couple of tough moments today but I hung on tough, that’s the most important thing.

“There was obviously a little bit of nerves here and there. Today wasn’t easy, it was quite breezy and was blowing in a different direction again so it wasn’t playing easy at all, but I played nicely again. A couple of mistakes here and there but other than that, I felt like I played really well and that’s why I’m standing here I guess.

“Amazing, we had a great week and great to win again.”

Hojgaard who is currently ranked outside the top 1000 in the world was disappointed not to have forced a playoff the proud of what he achieved and delighted for what it means to his playing future.

“It was fun out there. I got a good start and everything came down to one putt, so I’m very proud of being in the chance of getting a play-off with Sergio (Garcia), so I’m pleased to be here.

“It was close, but when I hit I knew it was left. It was close but I am happy to have a putt to force a play-off and I’m speechless right now.

“This week means I’m playing European Tour tournaments next year. I’ve been in-between with everything so I’m hopefully on my way up there so that would mean a lot.”

Jake McLeod led the Australians and was the only one to make the weekend.

For the 25 year old Queenslander it was his best European Tour finish in his last 13 starts but it was not enough to make any difference in his current 156th standing in the Race to Dubai rankings.

Solheim Cup Delicately Poised in Scotland

Gleneagles Scotland – Beth Cutler: Europe and the USA will have it all to play for when the singles matches get underway at the 16th Solheim Cup over the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles.

The Americans beat the European 2 ½ – 1 ½ a tense second fourball series which means that after two days of intense competition the teams go into the 12 singles tantalisingly tied at eight points all.

That gives a slight advantage to the USA who need just six points to retain the trophy having won the last match at Des Moines in Iowa two years ago but it is a better position than the Europeans could have hoped for midway through the second afternoon when, for a while at least, they had been staring a 4-0 whitewash in the face.

The European team went into the session with a narrow 6 ½ – 5 ½ lead after halving the morning foursomes 2-2 but that advantage disappeared when in the top match in the afternoon America’s Brittany Altomare and Annie Park beat Suzann Pettersen and Anne Van Dam by one hole.

The European pair had recorded a 4 & 2 victory over Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas in the opening fourballs but 24 hours later they were never ahead against the US rookies before losing when Altomare holed from four feet for par on the last.

The players had been buffeted by wind gusting up to 48 miles an hour throughout the afternoon and they also had to contend with driving rain long before in the second match on the course Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson halved their match against Lexi Thompson and Marina Alex.

Thompson and Masson both had a good chance to win the match with a birdie but first Thompson and then Masson missed their opportunities to ensure the two teams were tied at seven points apiece.

Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier had been four down after seven holes in their match against Ally McDonald and Angel Yin but they went on to mount a brave fightback which saw them move ahead for the first time in the match with a par on the 17th before securing a point for the home team when the Americans conceded the last.

That result gave Europe an 8-7 lead in the match but it lasted little more than a couple of minutes before Danielle Kang holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th to give her and partner Lizette Salas a 2 & 1 win over Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz.

It leaves the match on a knife edge heading into the singles with the home team needing six and a half points to claim the trophy for the first time since 2013. The last time the two teams were tied heading into the singles was at Killeen Castle in Ireland in 2011 and on that occasion Europe ran out 15-13 winners when they won series 7-5.

“We’re probably a bit chippier tonight,” said European Captain Catriona Matthew after watching her team withstand the early afternoon onslaught. “At one point this afternoon, it looked as if we could go down 4-0 or 3-1, so to get in at 2 ½ – 1 ½ is good for us.

The fightback from Georgia (Hall) and Celine was great. Caroline (Masson) is devastated she missed the putt on 18 but to be honest we’re really pleased to be where we are.

“I think it’s going to be pretty tight again tomorrow. It’s going to come down to one long putt, a chip-in, something like that. I think it will be a small thing that changes it one way or another.

“I rate them (our chances) pretty good.”

US captain Juli Inkster, who admitted to wearing three hats in order to protect herself from the cold, said: “I’m ecstatic at where we are right now.

“We sat out the Kordas and had two rookies Brittany (Altomare) and Annie (Park)and they showed me something today. It was tough out there for those girls but they stayed strong.

“Hopefully the weather will be a little better tomorrow and we can see some really good golf from the Euros and the USA. We want a good battle for the cup. That’s what these girls do.”

The battle commences at 11.40 when Spain’s Carlota Ciganda goes head to head against Danielle Kang. Next up for Europe is Caroline Hedwall who faces Nelly Korda while former Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall faces Lexi Thompson in the third match at 12.04.

The other nine matches feature Celine Boutier v Annie Park, Azahara Munoz v Angel Yin, Charley Hull v Megan Khang, Anne Van Dam v Lizette Salas, Caroline Masson v Jessica Korda, Jodi Ewart Shadoff v Brittany Altomare, Suzann Pettersen v Marina Alex, Bronte Law v Ally McDonald and Anna Nordqvist v Morgan Pressel.

FRIDAY FOURSOMES RESULTS

8:10 Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex (USA) halved with Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (Europe)

8:22 Georgia Hall and Céline Boutier (Europe) defeated Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare (USA) 2&1

8:34 Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda (USA) defeated Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (Europe) 6&4

8:46 Charley Hull and Azahara Muñoz (Europe) defeated Megan Khang and Annie Park (USA) 2&1

EUROPE 2 ½ USA 1 ½

 

FRIDAY FOURBALL RESULTS

12:40 Suzann Pettersen and Anne Van Dam (Europe) defeated Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas (USA) 4&2

12:55 Ally McDonald and Angel Yin (USA) defeated Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall (Europe) 7&5

13:10 Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (Europe) halved with Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson (USA)

13:25 Charley Hull and Azahara Muñoz (Europe) halved with Nelly Korda and Brittany Altomare (USA)

EUROPE 2 USA 2

OVERALL EUROPE 4 ½ USA 3 ½

 

SATURDAY FOURSOMES RESULTS

8:10 Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex (USA) defeated Anna Nordqvist and Anne Van Dam (Europe) 2&1

8:22 Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier (Europe) defeated Lizette Salas and Ally McDonald (USA) 3&2

8:34 Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz (EUR) defeated Danielle Kang and Megan Khang (USA) 4&3

8:46 Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda (USA) defeated Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (EUR) 6&5

EUROPE 2 USA 2

OVERALL EUROPE 6 ½ USA 5 ½

 

SATURDAY FOURBALL RESULTS

12:40 Brittany Altomare and Annie Park defeated Suzann Pettersen and Anne Van Dam 1 up

12:55 Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson halved with Lexi Thompson and Marina Alex

13:10 Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier defeated Ally McDonald and Angel Yin 2 up

13:25 Lizette Salas and Danielle Kang defeated Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz 2 up

USA 2 ½ EUROPE 1 ½

 

OVERALL EUROPE 8 USA 8

 

SUNDAY SINGLES PAIRINGS (USA first)

11:40 Danielle Kang versus Carlota Ciganda

11:52 Nelly Korda versus Caroline Hedwall

12:04 Lexi Thompson versus Georgia Hall

12:16 Annie Park versus Celine Boutier

12:28 Angel Yin versus Azahara Munoz

12:40 Megan Khang versus Charley Hull

12:52 Lizette Salas versus Anne Van Dam

13:04 Jessica Korda versus Caroline Masson

13:16 Brittany Altomare versus Jodi Ewart Shadoff

13:28 Marina Alex versus Suzann Pettersen

13:40 Ally McDonald versus Bronte Law

13:52 Morgan Pressel versus Anna Nordqvist

Top photo shows American Lizette Salas fighting the cold

Cameron Smith top Aussie as Kevin Chappell stars at Greenbrier

Nine birdies in succession during his second round of the Military Tribute at Greenbrier has not only swept American Kevin Chappell into contention in the opening event of the PGA Tour season, but he has become the 10th player to break 60 and equaled the PGA Tour record for the most birdies in succession.

Chappell is playing his first PGA Tour event since November of 2018 making his effort even more remarkable.

Last November he announced he was undergoing microdiscectomy surgery on his back, leaving his return open-ended. His lone TOUR win came at the 2017 Valero Texas Open; later that year he participated in the Presidents Cup as a member of the U.S. Team.

After his recovery from surgery, Chappell returned to competitive action on the Korn Ferry Tour, playing two events in late August. He finished T-62 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, followed by a T-51 at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco.

His birdie run today began at his second hole (the 11th of the course) and finished at the 1st and at that point appeared as if a record round of 58 was in the offering.

He would birdie his 15th and 17th holes so while the new record would not fall his way his round of 59 is the second in the history of the Old White TPC at White Sulphur Spring, Stuart Appleby producing a similar score when winning the event in 2010.

Chappell is three shots from the three-way tie for the lead held by new PGA Tour recruits Scottie Scheffler and Robby Shelton and Chilean Joaquin Nieman.

Cameron Smith is the leading Australian in 6th position, one shot behind Chappell and four from the lead.

“Yeah, really solid,” said Smith when asked about his round. “I’ve had probably a month off golf now. It’s nice to be back playing competitively again. The course is lovely; the resort is lovely. It’s my first time here. Yeah, just soaking it all in.”

Cameron Percy and Matt Jones are tied for 25th while Rhein Gibson and New Zealander Danny Lee are 48th.

Top photo – Cameron Smith courtesy of Henry Peters

 

 

 

 

Europe snatches early lead at Solheim Cup

12/08/2019. Ladies European Tour 2019. The Solheim Cup Team Announcement, Gleneagles Hotel , Auchterader, Scotland. 12 August 2019. Portrait of The Solheim Cup. Credit: Tristan Jones

The opening day of the Solheim Cup between the USA and Europe has seen a minor surprise with the Europeans taking a 4½ to 3½ lead into Saturday’s matches.

The Americans have won ten of the biennial 15 encounters to date since the event was first played in 1990.

The Europeans won the morning foursomes matches on Friday by 2½ to 1½ while honours were shared evenly in the afternoon fourball match-ups.

The Americans need 14 points at the completion of Sunday’s Single encounters to retain the Solheim Cup they won two years ago in Iowa while the Europeans need 14½ points to take the cup back after having last won in 2013 in Colorado.

Scores

Brendan Jones leading Australian at ANA Open

Former winner, Brendan Jones is the best of the Australians at the halfway mark of the Japan Golf Tour’s ANA Open in Sapporo, a second round of 66 an improvement of seven shots on his opening 73, leaving the 43-year old Canberra golfer tied for 20th and six shots behind Ryuko Tokimatsu.

The bounce-back of Jones, who won this event in 2016, was made even more impressive by that fact that he suffered a double bogey at his 11th hole in round two.

Jones has won 15 times on the Japan Golf Tour, the last of those victories coming earlier this year when winning the opening domestic event of the 2019 Japan Golf Tour season.

Another former winner of this event, Ryo Ishikawa, is just three shots from the lead following his second round of 64. Ishikawa must now be well and truly in the mind of International Presidents Cup captain, Ernie Els, as a possible pick for his side for Melbourne.

Ishikawa has played two previous Presidents Cups, one of those at Royal Melbourne and, with two victories and a 5th place in Japan in his last four starts, another win this week might well seal the deal for him.

Won Joon Lee, Dylan Perry and David Bransdon were the other Australians to make the cut, the trio tied for 33rd.

SCORES

Photo shows Jones following his victory in this same event three years ago.

Jake McLeod improves further at KLM Open

Queenslander Jake McLeod has improved on his opening round of 70 with a second round 68 at the KLM Open in Amsterdam and finds himself in a share of 17th place and five from the lead of Scott Jamieson.

McLeod, who has struggled for much of his rookie European Tour season, recorded a five birdie, one bogey round of four under to jump nine places from his opening round position and given he is currently 159th in the Race to Dubai standings a continuation of this form will go a long way to regaining his playing rights for next season.

With eight missed cuts in his last tens starts, this week’s effort to date represents a significant turnaround of the 25-year old who led last year’s PGA Tour of Australasia money list.

The only other Australian to make the weekend was Sydney’s Harrison Endycott although Adam Bland, Dimi Papadatos and Deyen Lawson were just one shot short of the required mark.

Endycott, a member of the 2016 Australian Eisenhower Trophy winning side, has been playing on the PGA Tour’s South American series in 2019 but made the cut last week at the European Open and has done so again this week.

The leader, Jamieson, has won only once on the European Tour, but that came back in 2013 so this is a nice turnaround for the Scot although to add further to the pressure he will face over the final 36 holes is the ominous presence of Sergio Garcia who is tied for second and just two from Jamieson’s lead.

“Obviously I have been doing a lot of good things this week,” said the Spaniard. A couple of things that need to do better but overall a good amount of good things and I just have to go out there and trust it, believe in myself and see what happens.

“I have been working hard. It feels pretty good, I wouldn’t say it feels like 120% but it feels pretty good. Some of the things I have been working on seem to be working this week. I have putted well for the most part, so that’s nice to see too and I have to keep hitting the ball where I’m hitting it and make a couple of putts here and there.”