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Sarah Jane Smith Leads U.S. Women’s Open at 10 under

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Thunderstorms may have been an annoyance at the U.S. Women’s Open, but it didn’t stop Sarah Jane Smith, who extended her lead to four strokes after a second straight 5-under 67 on Friday.

Storms brought in a 2-hour, 49-minute delay, but Smith got in her round just in time.

Smith, who is at 10-under 134, enters the weekend leading a major championship, the first time she has done so, and has 36 holes down. Half of the field didn’t finish the round.

“I haven’t been in the position before, but I hope to show up like it’s another day,” Smith said (h/t ESPN). “I’m happy with the way I’m playing. I feel comfortable on the greens, which has been something that has been a little bit off lately. So, it’s nice to be able to feel like I’m seeing the greens really well and seeing some putts go in. Hopefully, that keeps going.”

Smith opened the day in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with Jutanugarn and Korean Jeongeun6 Lee.

“She’s playing so good,” Duane Smith, Sarah’s husband and caddie, said. “Maybe years ago when she won the last event on the Futures Tour to get a card at the end of 2008. She had to win to get her card and she did and she opened up that nine holes, I think, 7-under on the front nine and then led the whole way. She played great that whole week, but this is something totally different.”

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European Tour Suspends Thorbjorn Olesen

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Thorbjorn Olesen

The European Tour has officially suspended Thorbjorn Olesen pending the investigation into his recent arrest on charges of being drunk on an aircraft a and assaulting a female passenger while she slept.

Olesen was arrested at Heathrow Airport on July 29th upon his return from the World Golf Championships event in Tennessee, and he is set to appear in court on August 21st to face charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft and common assault, according to Metropolitan Police in London.

The European Tour issued a statement saying that Olesen has been suspended pending the outcome of his case, adding that they would not make any further comments on the matter while the legal process moves forward.

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USGA Announced Amateur Champs Can Turn Pro, Play in US Open

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USGA

The USGA announced on Monday their decision that, starting with this year’s tournaments, the reigning U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur champions will be able to utilize their exemptions in the following year’s U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open even if they decide to turn pro, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

Prior to the new rule, the amateur champions received exemptions in the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open only if they maintained their amateur status.

“We believe this change gives our champions an important option as they choose whether and when to embark on their professional careers,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA managing director, Champions. “Given the significant purses awarded at the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, we realize how important it is for players to make the most appropriate decision for his or her career, and the positive impact it could have at the outset of their professional careers.”

“Given the opportunities afforded the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur champions, we want to make sure they are able to take advantage of as many as possible,” Bodenhamer said. “We feel strongly that our reigning champions have earned their places in the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, regardless of their amateur status.”

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Tiger Woods Commits to Playing First Two FedEx Cup Playoff Events

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Tiger Woods has officially committed to playing in the first two events of the FedEx Cup Playoffs taking place next month, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

Woods, 43, skipped the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational that took place in Memphis last week, and has played only four times since winning the Masters for the fifth time back in April of this year.

Woods officially announced that he is committed to playing at The Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey next week, and at the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, which takes place the week after.

It will mark only the second time this season that Woods has played in tournaments in consecutive weeks. 

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