ON THE LINKS Thursday’s professional golf results
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA.
Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead in the RSM Classic. Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under. The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Joel Dahmen had a 64, while the group at 65 included Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford, Warren JFK graduate Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay. Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds. Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.
CME GROUP TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
LPGA rookie Sung Hyun Park took a big first step toward sweeping all the season awards with a 5-under 67 to finish one shot behind after the opening round of the CME Group Tour Championship. Peiyun Chien of Taiwan and Sarah Jane Smith both shot 66 on a breezy day at Tiburon Golf Club. Neither has a chance at the $1 million bonus this week. Of the leading five players for the CME Race to the Globe, Park got off to the best start. She saved par after two poor shots on the par-5 14th with a short iron, and then added a pair of birdies late in her round. Shanshan Feng, in her debut at No. 1 in the world, had a 70.
WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Justin Rose made the best start of the three players looking to become Europe’s top player for 2017 at the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai with a 6-under 66. An eagle from the greenside bunker on the 14th hole and a stunning approach shot to two feet for birdie on the 18th handed the Englishman the early initiative in his attempt to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai crown. The other two players in contention for the crown — leader Tommy Fleetwood and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia — opened with rounds of 73 and 70, respectively.
US WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR
Kelsey Chugg capped off a dominant week of match play with a 3-and-1 victory over Mary Jane Hiestand to win the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title and earn a spot in the U.S. Women’s Open next year. Chugg, making her U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur debut, began her week with an 85 in stroke play qualifying. She rebounded with a 72 to earn one of 64 spots in match play, and the 26-year-old from Salt Lake City took it from there. None of her six matches reached the 18th hole at Champions Golf Club. Hiestand, a 58-year-old from Naples, Fla., was trying to become the oldest Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. She reached the championship match by making a 50-foot birdie putt to win her semifinals match in 19 holes, and she opened the final match by making a 25-foot par putt.