SATURDAY ON THE LINKS Recaps of the day’s pro golf tournaments


McIlroy shoots 62, leads Koepka by stroke in St. Jude


Rory McIlroy shot an 8-under 62 on Saturday at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to take a one-stroke lead over Brooks Koepka at the World Golf Championships event.

McIlroy, who missed the cut by a stroke last week in the British Open on his home turf in Northern Ireland, rebounded very nicely. He had a nine-birdie, one-bogey round to move from a tie for 17th to the top of the leaderboard at TPC Southwind. The man who shattered the screen of a woman’s cellphone with his opening tee shot at Royal Portrush finished the round Saturday with three straight birdies.

McIlroy capped his birdie spurt by rolling in a 27-footer on the par-4 18th after putting his tee shot into a fairway bunker. He had a 12-under 198 total.

Two groups behind McIlroy, Koepka (64) had his chances. The world’s top-ranked player finished with three straight pars. Now Koepka and McIlroy, who played the first two rounds together, will play together today in a final round for the first time in their careers.

Second-round leader Matthew Fitzpatrick (69) was third, two strokes back. Marc Leishman (63), Alex Noren (66) and Jon Rahm (68) were three shots behind.

“It is exciting,” McIlroy said. “He’s the No. 1 player in the world, four majors in the last three years. He’s the man right now. I got to play with him the last couple days and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing what he can do.”


Hyo Joo Kim fires 3-round 65 to lead France’s Evian major


Cresting a wave of South Koreans atop the Evian Championship leaderboard Saturday, Hyo Joo Kim fired a third-round 65 to move one shot clear on 15-under 198.

Kim’s latest impressive round of majors golf did not quite match her very first — a record 61 here as a teenager five years ago when she took the title in her elite debut.

Top-ranked Sung Hyun Park closed the gap in second by making a birdie on the par-5 18th for a 5-under 66.

Four shots back in a tie for third place were seven-time major winner Inbee Park (69) and Jin Young Ko (66), who won the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, in April.

Play started early in cooler conditions and finished just as a stormy downpour arrived.

Today’s forecast calls for persistent rain and a temperature drop of about 16 Celsius (30 degrees F) from the opening round heatwave on Thursday.


Paul Broadhurst birdies final 2 of 3 at Senior British Open


Englishman Paul Broadhurst birdied two of the last three holes Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Senior British Open, which will be Tom Watson’s final appearance at the tournament.

Broadhurst had four birdies and a bogey in his third-round 3-under 67 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes for a 5-under 205 total. American Woody Austin (68) is second.

Three-time champion Watson shot 2-over 72 and is tied for 55th. Watson announced that from next year he will not take part in the U.S. Senior Open or the Senior British Open.

“I can’t compete against these guys anymore,” Watson told the Golf Channel.

In June, Watson finished his 17th U.S. Senior Open at 2-under 278 by closing with a 68. It was the third time in that edition the 69-year-old Watson had shot his age or better.

Overnight leader Wes Short Jr. finished with a 3-over 73 Saturday and is tied for third with another American Ken Duke (70), one stroke behind Austin.

Germany’s Bernhard Langer (70) was a further stroke back.


China’s Lei Ye bests Bourdage, wins Junior Championship


Lei Ye of China won the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on Saturday, beating Jillian Bourdage of Tamarac, Fla., 1 up in the 36-hole final at SentryWorld.

The 18-year-old Ye, an incoming freshman at Stanford, won the par-4 35th hole with a 6-foot birdie putt and matched Bourdage with a par on the par-4 36th to end the match. Ye won with a 3-foot putt after Bourdage missed a 5-foot birdie try.

“This tournament is the ultimate achievement of junior golf, so yeah, it’s been a perfect ending,” Ye said. “That last putt, though it was 3 feet, I was definitely nervous. It’s a big putt. I just told myself, ‘You’ve practiced this thousands and thousands of times, you could do it in your sleep.”’

The 17-year-old Bourdage is set to attend Ohio State next year.

“I think I just under-read it,” Bourdage said about her birdie try on the final hole, “but I felt really good when I walked over the ball and my aim looked great from where I was standing. I just gave it my best shot, but that’s golf sometimes. They don’t all drop.”

The second Chinese player to win a USGA title, Ye earned a spot next year in the U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston and an invitation to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Both finalists qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur next month at Old Waverly in Mississippi. Alice Jo is the only other Chinese winner in USGA history, taking the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links.

“China is definitely a growing player in the game, and I think winning this is definitely a huge achievement for us,” Ye said. “I know that it will inspire other juniors back home to work harder to play better. So I think being able to help grow the game back home, that’s really cool.”

Associated Press