8am Round-Up: 95-foot eagle sets up Monday play-off in New Orleans

Kevin Kisner walks off the 18th green after making his eagle in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Picture: Getty Images
Kevin Kisner walks off the 18th green after making his eagle in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Picture: Getty Images
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Kevin Kisner and team-mate Scott Brown will face Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith in a play-off for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans title today following a remarkable finish on Sunday evening.

Long-time leaders Blixt and Smith had looked set to win the two-man competition - the first official team event on the PGA Tour in 36 years - after finding themselves in a seemingly invincible position on the par-five 18th.

However, Kisner stunned their opponents by chipping in for an eagle from 95 feet to leave Smith needing to hole his short birdie putt to avoid defeat.

With darkness closing in at TPC Louisiana following delays of more than six hours because of thunderstorms, the 23-year-old Australian coolly drained his putt to leave both teams on 27 under par for the tournament and set up a play-off.

Smith and his Swedish team-mate Blixt sat atop the leaderboard after both the second and third rounds, and boasted a four-shot lead coming into Sunday’s fourballs.

Their impressive final round of 64 included eight birdies, but it was not enough to hold off the challenge of American duo Kisner and Brown, who finished with a 12-under-par 60.

They picked up shots on 10 of the opening 11 holes in a blistering start before Kisner’s late heroics kept them in contention for the title.

“We knew we had to have it,” said Kisner of his eagle. “All I was trying to do was make sure I didn’t leave it short. I couldn’t see much. I knew it was breaking a little right, and when it hit the flag I said, ‘Don’t you come out of there.’”

Blixt said on www.pgatour.com: “You have to expect the unexpected. We have another shot at it tomorrow, and we just have to leave this behind and try to go out there and make birdie or eagle on 18 tomorrow and try and win this tournament.”

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Struggling women’s world No 1 Lydia Ko will extend her reign at the top of the rankings for at least another week.

Results fell her way in the final round of the latest LPGA tournament in Texas, leaving the Kiwi 20-year-old as No 1 for an 80th successive week.

But her tenure is looking tenuous, with Ko having opened the door when she pulled out midway through this week’s Texas Shootout in Irving with an eye infection.

World No 2 So Yeon Ryu or No 3 Ariya Jutanugarn would have taken the throne if successful on Sunday.

Both were in contention entering the final round but faded, finishing alongside each other in a share of ninth, five shots off the pace.

Ko hasn’t won a tournament for 10 months. It is unclear if her eye problem will prevent her from teeing off in this week’s Lorena Ochoa Match Play tournament in Mexico City.

The Texas tournament was won by Japan’s Haru Nomura, who beat American Christie Kerr in a marathon play-off.

The pair, who both finished on three-under, parred the par-five 18 holes five successive times before Nomura won the play-off with a birdie on the sixth attempt.

Charley Hull finished joint-ninth in an event that saw Catriona Matthew miss the 54-hole cut following rounds of 70-75-76.

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Jimmy Gunn tied for 49th in the Web.com Tour’s El Bosque Mexico Championship, which was won by American Matt Atkins.

As Atkins finished on 17-under to finish three shots clear of the field, Gunn shot rounds of 71-71-71-74 to end on one-under.

The Dornoch man is projected to sit 10th on this season’s money-list on the back of his latest effort on the PGA Tour’s feeder circuit.

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Ian Poulter has regained his PGA Tour card for the rest of the season, a week after losing it.

The Englishman thought he had lost his full playing status after failing to earn enough points in a designated number of tournaments this season after returning from a foot injury that curtailed his 2016 campaign.

But the Tour recalculated his points tally based on a different formula and concluded he had done enough to keep his card through the end of the season.

“It’s obviously a big bit of good news,” said Poulter. “For the Tour to unanimously decide that was the fair thing to do, puts me in a very different situation, being able to play the Players (Championship) and all the remaining events I would like to play.”

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Fifteen-year-old Victoria Tip-Aucha will create history tomorrow when she becomes the first woman to play on the MENA Tour.

She is taking on the men in the MahaSamutr Masters as the circuit visits Hua Hin in Thailand.

Tip-Aucha, who has already won five times on the Thailand girls golf circuit this year, was brought up in the United States but is of Thai heritage.

“This is a new challenge for me and I love challenges because they offer me an opportunity to grow in some way,” she said.

Only a few woemn, including Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompso, have played against men since Babe Zaharaias became the first to do so in a PGA Tour event in 1938.

“Victoria is a special talent, one who combines feminine grace with power and technique, making her a suitable candidate for a strong ambassador for the future of women’s golf,”

said MENA Tour chairman Mohamed Juma Buamaim.

“I wish her the very best and, like every one, we will be watching her progress during the tournament with keen interest. We just want her to play well and enjoy every moment.”

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Fourteen-year-old Anna McKay is the new Fife women’s champion after the Crail Golfing Society member beat Lorna McKinlay (Dunnikier Park) by one hole in the final over the Jubilee Course at St Andrews.

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Kingsknowe’s Louise Fraser made amends for losing in the last two finals by winning the Midlothian Women’s County Championship. She beat Wendy Nicholson (Baberton) 3&1 in the title decider at Turnhouse.

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Nick Robson (Meldrum House) and Paul Moultrie (Royal Troon) shared top spot in the Scottish Seniors Golfing Society Spring Meeting at Monifieth Links. The pair finished locked together on one-under 141 after 36 holes.