Sergio Garcia has a job on his hands to claim a third consecutive Andalucia Valderrama Masters title after Christiaan Bezuidenhout took a four-stroke lead into the weekend.

South Africa's Bezuidenhout backed up Thursday's five-under 66 with an assured 68 to reach eight under – only dropping a shot on the par-four seventh, where he also fell foul during the first round.

Garcia, who also won an event that is hosted by his foundation in 2011, is one of four players four shots back, alongside compatriots Adri Arnaus and Alvaro Quiros and Wales' Bradley Dredge.

"First of all, I just kept it in play really nicely," Bezuidenhout told the European Tour's official website. "That's the key thing here, hitting fairways. I was driving it really well. On a course like this you can score well if you hit the fairways but if you don't you can really struggle.

"I prefer the tougher conditions. It's tough for everyone, the wind is getting quite a bit stronger, you just have to face it.

"It's going to be tough - it's tough without wind - so I'm just hoping to do the same, hit fairways and greens, give myself chances and see where I finish up."

It was a mixed bag from 2017 Masters champion Garcia, who birdied the first to capitalise on his opening-round 66, but needed a chip-in to turn in 35 having dropped shots at seven and eight.

A three-putt bogey on the par-five 11th meant a birdie at 17 was much-needed, only for the host to drop another shot on the last.

Jon Rahm has plenty to do to join the Spanish contingent in the chasing pack after bogeys on the final two holes left him one under at halfway.

Overnight leader Victor Perez tumbled back after his blemish-free opening 65, carding a three-over 74 to sit in a group of five players tied for sixth.

Mikko Korhonen, Scott Jamieson, George Coetzee and Gaganjeet Bhullar are also three under for the tournament.

Nate Lashley shot an impressive nine-under 63 to lead the Rocket Mortgage Classic as Gary Woodland struggled in the first round on Thursday.

Lashley was bogey-free during his round and finished with birdies on five of his last six holes at Detroit Golf Club.

His birdie at 18 came after a nice approach shot.

Lashley made it into the field as an alternate on Wednesday and now holds a one-stroke lead after firing off his best round of the year to date.

Ryan Armour and Nick Watney trail Lashley by one stroke after both players shot eight-under 64s.

In action for the first time since winning the U.S. Open, Woodland struggled to a one-over 73 in his opening round.

In a seven-way tie for fourth place are Chez Reavie, Rory Sabbatini, Stewart Cink, Charles Howell III, Talor Gooch, Adam Schenk and Chase Wright.

Howell had four birdies and two eagles during his round.

Rickie Fowler sits five shots back of the leader in a tie for 33rd at four under, while Dustin Johnson opened with a one-under 71.

A blemish-free first round of 65 helped Frenchman Victor Perez to a one-shot lead at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Thursday.

Perez carded six birdies on day one at Real Club Valderrama and could have been joined at the top of the leaderboard by Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

But the South African dropped a shot on the 18th hole as he joined a group of five players on five under at the European Tour event, including Sergio Garcia.

"I'm very pleased, first round 65 with six birdies," Perez said.

"Very pleased to keep the card clean – it's one of the toughest places to do it.

"I was just really happy, we had a really good game plan going in taking advantage of the softer conditions. It's as soft as the course is going to be this week. Off to a great start."

Perez has never won a European Tour event but entered the event in good form, having finished in a tie for fifth at the GolfSixes Cascais earlier this month.

Garcia's strong first round was no surprise. The Sergio Garcia Foundation is hosting the tournament and the Spaniard has won the event three times (2011, 2017 and 2018).

"I love this place, there is no doubt about that. It kind of has something with me that helps me," Garcia said.

"Today was a great round, I hit the ball very well. It's probably the best that I've felt in quite a while.

"It's just the first round and we have to keep building on that … there's still a lot of golf to be played."

The highlight of Perez's round was three birdies in a row from the ninth while Bezuidenhout caught the eye with a day that included eight birdies and three bogeys.

Bezuidenhout produced four birdies in a row from hole eight and had to play in the afternoon, when the going seemed tougher.

Joining Garcia and Bezuidenhout on five under was American Sihwan Kim, Swede Anton Karlsson and Malaysian Gavin Green.

Four players were a further shot adrift in a tie for seventh, including Welshman Bradley Dredge who eagled the par four ninth en route to a four-under 67.

Standout Jamaican junior golfer William Knibbs heads a 10-member team named by the Jamaica Golf Association to contest the 2019 Caribbean Golf Championships set for June 30-July 6 at the Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic.

Dustin Johnson gave one couple at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit a special souvenir.

While making the rounds on the course on Wednesday, the former world number one stopped to sign autographs when a man and his pregnant wife asked Johnson to pose for a photo.

"So I hear y'all are having a baby," Johnson told the couple in a video tweeted by the PGA Tour.

"Do you want to know if it's a boy or girl?"

At that moment, Johnson pulled a pink golf ball from his pocket.

When the couple asked how he found out, Johnson sneakily replied: "I've got people that find stuff out."

In April, a Duke athletic department employee and his wife recruited Zion Williamson to help them with their Blue Devils-themed reveal before he was drafted first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Hannah Green broke through for her first major title by winning the Women's PGA Championship.

Green carded a final-round 72 to complete a wire-to-wire one-stroke victory at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Sunday.

The 22-year-old mixed three birdies with three bogeys as she became the first Australian since Hall of Famer Karrie Webb in 2001 to win the LPGA Tour tournament.

A five-foot par on the final hole saw Green finish nine under overall, just ahead of defending champion Park Sung-hyun (68), who birdied the 18th before her unheralded rival made a clutch putt.

"I'm pretty much speechless," a tearful Green said. "I was really nervous the last five holes and just really – I made a clutch putt and that was what kind of got me through another one. To make the one on the last is really surreal."

"It's awesome," added Green. "I've always wanted to win in front of an Aussie crowd. I felt even that's what it was like today. Anything to just be winning in majors the first event. 

"I actually didn't feel too nervous the first few. Obviously I heard Sung made the last one, knew I needed to make par. Didn't want to play that hole again. I'm really happy I made it."

Englishwoman Mel Reid posted a six-under-par 66 to earn a share of third position alongside American Nelly Korda (71) at six under.

Meanwhile, American pair Danielle Kang (70) and Lizette Salas (72) rounded out the top five – four shots behind Green.

Chez Reavie ended an 11-year wait for a second PGA Tour win, securing the Travelers Championship title by four strokes on Sunday.

Reavie, who had not won on the PGA Tour since July 2008 prior to his start at the tournament, carded a one-under 69 in the final round to reach 17 under.

The American seemingly had a comfortable lead entering the final round and was sitting six strokes in front of the rest of the field.

But, Keegan Bradley managed to put the pressure on the Kansas native.

Bradley carded six birdies, four of which came on the back nine. At one point he pulled within one stroke of Reavie but a double bogey on the par-four 17th hole dropped Bradley back down the leaderboard.

Reavie responded with his lone birdie on the back nine at the 17th.

Bradley finished in a tie for second place at 13 under with Zack Sucher. 

Vaughn Taylor climbed into a top-five finish after he carded six birdies on the back nine alone to make up for an up-and-down start. Taylor finished in fourth place at 12 under for his best result of the year.

Paul Casey, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Tway rounded out the top five. The trio finished at 11 under.

There was a sizable tie for eighth place at 10 under that included Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day and Abraham Ancer.

Andrea Pavan claimed his second European Tour title after beating Matthew Fitzpatrick in a tight play-off at the BMW International Open.

Pavan had slipped to four shots behind overnight leader Jordan Smith heading into the final round on Sunday, but carded an impressive 66 to set the target at 15 under.

It looked as though Fitzpatrick would still have the edge when he entered the final stretch with a share of the lead, only to bogey the 17th.

Fitzpatrick managed to pull the shot back on the final hole to set up a play-off in rainy conditions, but Pavan held his nerve and claimed the title when his English opponent failed with an attempted chip from a bunker.

"It's amazing," said Pavan. "I thought I had a chance starting the day. I was playing very well coming into the week, I just hit a few bad drives.

"I was feeling the rush. It just felt great, it was really close."

Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, was frustrated with his performance on the greens.

"It's just been a tough season so far, really, not holing the putts," he said.

"I've been playing well, that showed coming here and getting into a play-off. It's a good week overall but disappointed not to top it off."

Smith's par saw him relinquish the lead he had taken off Martin Kaymer on Saturday, and the Englishman eventually finished on 13 under alongside defending champion Matt Wallace and Matthias Schwab, who carded 71 despite leading by two with seven holes to play.

Edoardo Molinari scored a fine five under to join a batch of seven players tied for third, while two-time major champion Kaymer finished five shots off the pace.

Australian Hannah Green closed the third round with a one-stroke lead at the Women's PGA Championship.

Green carded a two-under-par 70 on Saturday to remain the woman to beat at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

The 22-year-old teed off with a three-shot advantage, but Green's lead was cut to one after bogeying the last in Chaska, Minnesota.

Green – bidding to become the first Australian to win the major LPGA Tour tournament since Karrie Webb in 2001 – is nine under overall, ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68).

Lizette Salas (68) and Nelly Korda (69) are tied for third and four strokes off the pace.

Defending champion Park Sung-hyun, meanwhile, posted a 71 to be five shots behind Green heading into the final round.

Chez Reavie closed in on victory at the Travelers Championship after earning a commanding six-stroke lead in the third round.

Reavie carded a seven-under-par 63 to catapult himself to the top of the leaderboard and in control of the PGA Tour tournament at TPC River Highlands on Saturday.

After rounds of 65 and 66, Reavie surged towards his second Tour title and first since 2008 by birdieing seven holes on the back nine in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Reavie – who is 46 of 48 on putts inside 10 feet this week – had eight birdies in total, with his only blemish coming via a bogey on the par-five sixth hole.

Keegan Bradley and Zack Sucher are Reavie's nearest rivals at 10 under heading into Sunday's final round.

Bradley posted a third-round 69 to be level alongside fellow American Sucher, who recorded a one-over-par 71.

Former world number one Jason Day is a stroke further back – level with Roberto Diaz (67) – after shooting a 68.

Day's penultimate round was made up of five birdies and three bogeys as the Australian remains in contention.

Bryson DeChambeau (64) and Tommy Fleetwood (67) join a four-way tie for sixth at eight under and a sizable group follows to round out the top 10, including Patrick Cantlay (65) and Kevin Streelman (69).

Justin Thomas managed a 70 to be four under overall, while defending champion Bubba Watson finished the day with a three-over 73 to fall into a tie for 51st at two under.

Matt Fitzpatrick moved into contention at the BMW International Open with a superb 65 as overnight leader Martin Kaymer slipped away.

Two-time major champion Kaymer has not won a tournament since the 2014 U.S. Open but was top of the leaderboard heading into the third round in Munich.

The German struggled on Saturday, though, as four bogeys in a round of 75 left him five shots off the lead going into the final day at the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried.

Jordan Smith, the 2017 European Open winner, leads the way after he continued to improve with six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66. meaning he is a shot clear of Fitzpatrick and Austrian Matthias Schwab.

Fitzpatrick's superb long putt for birdie at the 18th completed a fine round that contained eight birdies and one bogey and the Englishman felt his attacking tactics paid off.

"I’ve played well so far this year," he said. "I want to win as many tournaments as I can this year.

"If I'm putting myself in position where I'm a few behind on Saturday, it gives me the green light to go at it. If I was leading, I'd probably hold back a little bit. Today allowed me to be a little more aggressive. I'm very pleased. I felt since I arrived there's a score out there. 

"There are four par fives and if you get good drives away on all of them they are all reachable - I'm obviously talking a perfect round. There's four there and if you make a few putts to save pars and three more birdies. It's a nice course for me and it’s scoreable."

Schwab is also in the hunt after recording his career best round on the European Tour, a 65.

"A few things came together today," he said. "I had a rusty start. Long game-wise I kept it together with a few good up and downs and a chip-in on two for birdie. I then just had it going a bit and made a few putts and that's how I shot 65 today.

"I wasn't trying to set any targets, I was really just focusing on myself, I was very much in the moment and just focusing on the next shot and it worked out okay. I've been playing okay the last few weeks. I'm just focused on myself and a good result will come eventually. Why not this week?"

Last year's winner Matt Wallace is two shots behind Smith as he seeks to defend his crown, while South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout is also on -11 with Lee Westwood among three players a shot further back.

Hannah Green opened up a three-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Women's PGA Championship on Friday.

The Australian carded a three-under 69 in the second round at Hazeltine National Golf Club to climb into seven under.

Green, who is ranked 114th in the world, made four birdies to go with a bogey during her second round.

She is set to be tested by a formidable chasing pack heading into the weekend, with Ariya Jutanugarn (70) outright second at four under, a shot ahead of Lydia Ko (70) and defending champion Park Sung-hyun (71).

Jutanugarn is a two-time major champion, while Ko is aiming for her first major success since 2016.

World number one Ko Jin-young fired a five-under 67 to get back to even par and a tie for 16th.

Zack Sucher is in position for his first PGA Tour win after taking solo possession of the lead at the Travelers Championship, while Jordan Spieth missed the cut.

Sucher, who turned professional in 2009, shot a five-under 65 in the second round on Friday and is now 11 under for the tournament with a two-stroke advantage over the rest of the field.

He managed to find a way out of the crowded leaderboard that had six golfers tied for the lead at the beginning of the day.

Sucher mixed an eagle with four birdies and a bogey to take control of the event.

Chez Reavie and Keegan Bradley are close behind in second place at nine under, with Bronson Burgoon and Ryan Moore also trailing in fourth at eight under.

Burgoon, another American chasing his first Tour win, had back-to-back birdies at the start of his round to get to just one stroke off the lead, but then fell back down the leaderboard after a double bogey before the turn and another bogey on his back nine.

Meanwhile, Spieth missed his third cut of the year despite carding a one-under 69, his opening 73 proving costly.

Moore had a low round of six-under 64 to jump up into contention but there was another golfer who went even lower.

Jason Day shot the best round of the day – a seven-under 63. He had four consecutive birdies on his first five holes, and was bogey-free on Friday – a nice improvement from Thursday when he carded a bogey and double bogey late in his round.

"I was very patient, especially after the start that I had," Day said.

"Shooting even par was a little bit disappointing yesterday. To get off to that start today, I just kind of settled into it, just kind of pick away at the golf course."

Day will enter the weekend in a seven-way tie for sixth place at seven under with the likes of Paul Casey, Robert Streb and Andrew Putnam.

The 2018 Travelers champion Bubba Watson will also play into the weekend. He is tied for 26th at five under.

Martin Kaymer said it felt "very, very nice" to be heading into the weekend as leader of the BMW International Open.

After a run of lean years, the two-time major winner is back in the hunt for a trophy and thrilled to be performing well in front of a home crowd.

He put himself in contention on Thursday with a fine 67 at the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried and bettered that in his second round, as a 66 gave Kaymer a two-shot lead on 11 under par.

Kaymer had two bogeys in his opening three holes but repaired the damage and found five birdies in eight holes from the 11th onwards to surge to the top of the leaderboard.

The German has not landed a title since the 2014 U.S. Open. He previously triumphed at the US PGA Championship in 2010, and had a spell at world number one, but Kaymer was ranked as low as 191st only last month.

However, the 34-year-old has two top-10 finishes in 2019, at the Memorial and the British Masters, and is back inside the top 100 with confidence flooding back into his game.

Speaking after Friday's round, Kaymer said he had "scrambled well" in the early holes but was otherwise struggling, however the closing holes were a different story.

"It's a very, very nice position to be in but it's always difficult leading golf tournaments," Kaymer said in a European Tour interview.

"Now I don't really play against anyone else, I just play against myself, try to reach my number and hopefully it's enough to still be in the lead on Saturday evening."

South African 25-year-old Christiaan Bezuidenhout, ranked 332nd in the world, sits second on nine under after a 65, the lowest round of the week so far.

Finland's Kim Koivu shot a 66 to move into a share of third on eight under with Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg, who signed for a 67.

England's Lee Westwood featured in a seven-player group on seven under after adding a 69 to his opening 68 - the first time since January he has begun a European Tour event with successive sub-70 rounds.

Australian Hannah Green earned a one-shot lead after the first round of the Women's PGA Championship.

No Australian golfer has won the major tournament since Karrie Webb in 2001 but Green carded a four-under-par 68 to set the early pace on Thursday.

Green had a bogey-free start at Hazeltine National Golf Club, where the 22-year-old holed four birdies in persistent rain and tough winds in Minnesota.

"I didn't own a pair of rain pants. That was difficult. I only brought one jacket and I was freezing cold. My caddy and I both really weren't prepared for the rain," Green said.

"Luckily my boyfriend [Jarryd Felton] was able to run home and get a jacket for me to put on, which definitely helped. I think we'll be investing in some rain pants!"

Mel Reid and Kim Hyo-joo are tied for second heading into Friday's second round.

Defending champion Park Sung-hyun is two shots further back, alongside Amy Yang, Kim In-Kyung, Annie Park, Lin Xiyu and Ariya Jutanugarn.

 

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