Byron Nelson: Jason Day misses four-foot putt as Billy Horschel wins in play-off

Billy Horschel

Byron Nelson final leaderboard
-12 B Horschel (US), J Day (Aus); -11 J Hahn (US); -10 J Kokrak (US); -8 D Lee (Aus), B Cauley, S O’Hair (both US), A Byeong-hun (Kor)
Selected others: -4 S Garcia (Spa); -2 I Poulter (Eng); +2 S Power (Ire); +4 G Owen (Eng)
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Billy Horschel claimed his fourth PGA Tour title by beating Jason Day in a play-off at the Byron Nelson event in Texas.

The American, 30, carded a one-under 69 to tie on 12 under after 72 holes with Australian world number three Day.

Both made par on the 17th before leaving birdie chances short on the 18th to set up the play-off.

But Horschel won his first tournament since 2014 after Day, 29, missed a four-foot putt for par on the 18th.

Horschel, who came into the tournament having missed four consecutive cuts, began the day a shot behind overnight leader John Hahn.

But American Hahn hit three consecutive bogeys on the back nine and eventually had to settle for third place on 11 under.

A birdie by Horschel on 16 helped set the stage for a play-off as both he and Day parred the final two holes.

Horschel then parred the first play-off hole as Day missed a short putt to extend the play-off, handing Horschel victory.

Day, whose mother is battling lung cancer, suffered a back injury last year and has only managed one top-10 finish on the tour this season.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia, who won the Masters last month, carded a final-round 74 to fade from contention.

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Rocco Forte Open: Alvaro Quiros beats Zander Lombard at second play-off hole

Alvaro Quiros recovered from a disappointing finish to win a play-off

Rocco Forte Open final leaderboard
-14 A Quiros (Spa), Z Lombard (SA) (Quiros won at second play-off hole); -13 Li Haotong (Chi), -12 P Angles (Spa); -11 M Fraser (Aus), J Scrivener (Aus); -10 D Horsey (Eng)
Selected others: -8 M Hoey (NI); -7 S Soderberg (Swe); -6 G Hurley (Ire)
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Spaniard Alvaro Quiros defeated Zander Lombard at the second play-off hole to win the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily and regain his European Tour card.

Quiros led by seven shots after six holes of his final round but a poor finish saw him end in a tie with the South African on 14 under par.

Quiros, 34, had lost his Tour card and dropped to 703 in the world rankings after a dramatic slump in form.

Michael Hoey carded a closing 72 to finish in joint 11th on eight under.

An albatross two at the par-five 12th helped China’s Li Haotong to third place on 13 under.

The last of Quiros’ six previous European Tour successes came in 2011 when he secured the DP World Tour Championship.

The former world number 23 lay 20 under after six holes but four bogeys and a double bogey, including four dropped shots between the 15th and the 17th, saw him drop back into the pack at Verdura Golf Club.

The 16th proved particularly problematic as Quiros fired his tee shot into a bush and had to take a penalty drop before signing for a six.

A par on the second extra hole, the 18th, proved enough after Lombard three-putted from 40 feet.

The Spanish player’s victory earns him a place in the line-up for next week’s PGA Championship at Wentworth.

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Byron Nelson: Sergio Garcia four shots behind leader James Hahn

James Hahn

Byron Nelson third round leaderboard
-12 J Hahn (US); -11 B Horschel (US); -10 J Day (Aus), J Kokrak (US); -9 C Tringale (US); -8 S Garcia (Spa), J Dufner (US), B Cauley (US)
Selected others: -5 D Johnson (US); -1 I Poulter (Eng); level S Power (Ire), G Owen (Eng), E Els (SA)
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Defending champion Sergio Garcia went round the back nine holes in 29 to move within four shots of leader James Hahn at the Byron Nelson event in Texas.

Spain’s Garcia, who won the Masters last month, carded a six-under-par 64 to go eight under par, tied for sixth.

Jason Day struck the day’s best round with a 63 to reach 10 under, but world number one Dustin Johnson drifted to seven shots off the lead after a 71.

Overnight leader Jason Kokrak blew a five-shot lead after he fired a 72.

The American, who had carded a career-best 62 on Friday, went round in 10 more shots on day three in a round in which he triple-bogeyed the par three fifth.

Fellow American Hahn, 35, who is in line to add to his two PGA Tour titles, struck six birdies in his six-under-par 64 to lead on 12 under, one ahead of compatriot Billy Horschel.

England’s Ian Poulter moved to one under with a 68, and is tied for 42nd place.

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Hoey drops back as Quiros leads by five in Sicily

Michael Hoey

Rocco Forte Open second-round leaderboard
-16 Quiros (Spa); -11 Lombard (SA); -10 Angles (Spa), Paratore (Ita); -9 Slattery (Eng), Carlsson (Swe), Lima (Por), Jacquelin (Fra), Horsey (Eng), Hoey (NI).
Selected others: -8 Hurley (Ire); -7 Soderberg (Swe)
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Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey posted a disappointing four-over-par 75 in the third round of the Rocco Forte Open to drop down to a tie for fifth position.

Hoey carded three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey to lie nine under, seven behind leader Alvaro Quiros.

Spaniard Quiros fired a 70 as he aims for a seventh European Tour victory.

Zander Lombard is second on 11 under, followed by Pep Angles – who shot the lowest round of the day with a 68 – and Renato Paratore, both on 10 under.

Hoey, along with English duo Lee Slattery and David Horsey, are among six players who will start nine under in Sunday’s final round at Verdura in Sicily.

The players struggled in windy conditions, resulting in much higher scores than on the previous two days of the tournament.

Hoey recorded two birdies and two bogeys on his outward nine, but then dropped shots at the 10th, 16th and 17th and took a double bogey at the 13th and made his sole birdie coming home at the 12th.

Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg went into round three level with Hoey in second place but a 77 saw him fall back to seven under.

Former Masters champion Mike Weir is level thanks to a third-round 76 after making his first halfway cut since November 2014.

Weir, who has slumped to 1,907th in the rankings, has struggled for form since undergoing elbow surgery in 2011 and announced in July 2015 that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from golf for family reasons.

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Rocco Forte Open: Hoey two behind halfway leader Quiros

Michael Hoey

Rocco Forte Open second-round leaderboard
-15 Quiros (Spa); -13 Hoey (NI), Soderberg (Swe); -12 Lombard (SA), Horsey (Eng); -11 Foster (Eng), Li (Chi), Jacquelin (Fra)
Selected others:-9 Hurley (Ire), Wattel (Fra)
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Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey lies two shots behind leader Alvaro Quiros of Spain at the halfway point of the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily.

Hoey, who led after the first round alongside Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg after a brilliant 61, carded a three-under 68 in Friday’s second round.

Quiros birdied his last four holes for a 63 to go two strokes clear on 14 under par for the tournament.

Soderberg matched Hoey’s 68 and the pair are tied on 13 under.

Hoey, who lost his full European Tour card last year, recorded six birdies and three bogeys in his second round.

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Michael Hoey tied for lead at Rocco Forte Open first round

Michael Hoey

Michael Hoey is tied for the lead at the Rocco Forte Open in Verdura after posting a stunning first round of 10-under-par 61 in Sicily on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman, 38, carded 10 birdies, eight in his first 11 holes, to join Swede Sebastian Soderberg at the top of the leaderboard.

The pair lie one shot ahead of Zander Lombard of South Africa.

Hoey missed an eagle putt at the ninth and a birdie attempt at the 10th as he attempted to post a first sub-60 round.

Despite passing up those opportunities, his round of 61 was still the lowest of his career.

“I left it in the jaws, both putts, but I was nervous,” admitted Hoey, who has won five times on the European Tour but lost his card last year.

“It was hard to hit them past the hole but it’s nice to be nervous because I haven’t been nervous on a golf course for quite a while and it’s exciting to have such a good score.

“My best ever score by two shots, no bogeys, it doesn’t get much better.

“We’ve had two kids (since 2013) and it’s been tiring. I had to have sinus surgery done a couple of years ago. I haven’t been as healthy as I wanted to be, so hopefully now I can get going.”

Playing in just his 15th European Tour event after gaining his card via the qualifying school last year, Soderberg was also eight under par after 11 holes and admitted breaking the magical 60 barrier was very much on his mind.

“That’s all I thought about walking down the par-five 12th, it kind of helped keep me going,” Soderberg said.

“I didn’t feel like it stopped me, I definitely had a couple of putts the last seven holes that could have gone in, but overall it was a great round.”

Alvaro Quiros, Sebastian Heisele and Jbe Kruger all lie joint third on eight under.

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Fit again Montgomerie targets Senior Open

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Colin Montgomerie says success in the Senior Open Championship is his “number one target” after a long-term injury.

Montgomerie tore ligaments in his ankle in February, but is fit to compete at Royal Porthcawl from 27-30 July.

The Scot finished second behind Bernhard Langer at Porthcawl in the 2014 Senior Open and was also second in the 1995 Open at St Andrews.

“I would love to go one better,” he said. “It is right on my radar, the most important event on my calendar.”

Since turning 50 in June 2013, Montgomerie has claimed three Senior majors but the Senior Open remains infuriatingly elusive.

As well as his second place finish in Wales three years ago, he had an opportunity to win at Sunningdale in 2015 but had to settle for third behind American Marco Dawson.

“I went there with a very open mind,” said Montgomerie, referring to the 2014 Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl. “I was taken aback at how undulating it was for a links course and how good it was. I was very, very impressed.

“It is a very solid golf course and one you have to be extremely careful of. You can get the odd lucky bounce, but you can’t be lucky for four days.

“I enjoyed playing it. It was a course full of character and I put it in the same category as Turnberry and Royal Birkdale. Let’s also hope the weather plays its part again.”

Langer is joined by a host of major winners from the past 40 years in the field, including Tom Watson, Ian Woosnam, John Daly, Jose Maria Olazabal and Fred Couples.

Defending champion Paul Broadhurst, Welshman Phillip Price and Ireland’s Paul McGinley will also tee up alongside Montgomerie.

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Ian Poulter to play PGA Championship after European Tour invitation

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter has accepted an invitation to play at the BMW PGA Championship from 25-28 May at Wentworth.

Poulter, second at last week’s Players Championship, thought he had lost his PGA Tour card in April as he was ranked 197th after struggling with injury.

The 41-year-old got a reprieve after a discrepancy in the points structure used for players competing on major medical exemptions was highlighted.

“Thanks for the invite and help, European Tour,” said the Englishman.

“Excited to now be playing. Heard good things about the west course. See you in a week.”

The PGA Championship is the European Tour’s flagship event, while the PGA Tour is a season of tournaments played mainly in the United States.

World number two Rory McIlroy will decide early next week whether he will play at Wentworth.

A scan has revealed the back problem the 28-year-old Northern Irishman had at the Players Championship was a recurrence of a rib injury from earlier this year.

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Ian Poulter: Players Championship runner-up upbeat after 'toughest stretch'

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter is looking forward to planning a “very long schedule” after overcoming injury problems in “the toughest stretch” of his career.

Poulter, 41, was runner-up at the Players Championship on Sunday, his best finish since November 2014.

The Englishman, once fifth in the world rankings, missed four months last year with a foot injury and says even now he is only operating at “75%”.

“It’s been miserable, really hard – but we’re getting there,” he told the BBC.

Poulter’s injury problems caused him to drop out of the top 200 and ended a run of five consecutive Ryder Cup appearances, in which he won 14 points from 18 matches.

Having secured a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour, he missed the cut in his first two events back and feared he had lost his card last month after failing to gain the requisite earnings in the allotted time frame.

However, the PGA Tour decided its rules “unintentionally made it more difficult” for injured players and Poulter was allowed to continue for the rest of this season.

At the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass – often referred to as the unofficial fifth major of the year – Poulter was in contention for a first PGA Tour victory since 2012, but finished three shots behind winner Kim Si-woo, the event’s youngest champion.

“It has been miserable, there’s no other way to explain it,” Poulter told BBC Sport.

“When you’re taking a break for several months, when your world ranking plummets, when you miss Ryder Cups, when you find yourself in a position chasing down to try and keep your tour card.

“It’s obviously been the toughest stretch of my career. We’re still working through some things to try and be 100% there. I think I’m at 75%.

“I can now plan a very long schedule and work out exactly what I’m doing.

“I’m going to have a nice summer with the kids in the UK. I think I’ll be playing a lot in the UK this summer.”

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