Created: 09/12/2014 2:21 PM WNYT.com
By: The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel have little in common except a clean card of 4-under 66 Thursday at the Tour Championship and their chances at the biggest payoff in golf.
Kirk and Horschel, the top two seeds going into the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake, played in the final group and traded birdies — neither of them made a bogey — over four hours in steamy weather to share the lead.
They need only to win the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus.
Kirk is a 29-year-old who went to Georgia and plays golf without a pulse. Even when he chipped in from 80 feet on the 17th hole, he simply smiled and bowed his head before slapping hands with his caddie.
Horschel is a 27-year-old who went to Florida, brash enough to wear octopus prints on his pants in the final round at a U.S. Open, to flip his cap around backward and to pump his fist for routine pars.
Masters champion Bubba Watson made seven birdies to offset a few mistakes, and shot a 67 — tying him with Patrick Reed, Jim Furyk and Jason Day. Rory McIlroy made enough birdies and key par saves for a 69 that kept him very much in the hunt.
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) — South Korean teen Hyo-Joo Kim made history with the lowest round in a major tournament, a faultless 10-under 61 to open the Evian Championship.
According to the U.S. LPGA Tour, two women scored 62: Minea Blomqvist of Finland in the third round of the 2004 British Open, and Lorena Ochoa in the first round of the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship. In a men's major, 63 is the lowest, and it has been achieved multiple times.
Kim takes a four-shot lead over veteran Karrie Webb into the second round.
Meanwhile, Michelle Wie's bid for a second major ended early as she retired after just 13 holes, clearly still feeling the effects of a recent finger injury.
Korean Mi-Jung Hur was five behind Kim in third after a round of 66, while defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Brittany Lincicome of the U.S. were six behind.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Derek Fathauer shot a bogey-free 8-under 63 to take the first-round lead in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, the third of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Fathauer, 12th on the Web.com Tour's regular-season money list to secure a 2014-15 PGA Tour card, birdied Nos. 15-17 and closed with a par on Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The top 25 players on the Web.com money list are competing against each other for PGA Tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals and the final leader getting a spot in The Players Championship.
Andrew Loupe opened with a 64, and Blayne Barber shot 65.
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Scott Harvey won the U.S. Mid-Amateur to earn a spot in the Masters, beating Brad Nurski 6 and 5 in the 36-hole final.
The 36-year-old Harvey, a real estate property manager from Greensboro, North Carolina, had a 4-up lead after the morning round on Saucon Valley's Old Course.
Nurski, a 35-year-old railroad conductor and switchman from St. Joseph, Missouri, was trying to become the first left-hander to win the event.
The match marked only the second time that co-medalists have met in the final in the 34-year history of the event for players 25 and older.
US WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Margaret Shirley won the 2014 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship, beating defending champion Julia Potter 5 and 3 in the title match.
Shirley defeated four-time champion Meghan Stasi 5 and 4 in her semifinal, winning holes 10 through 12 with pars to take a five-hole lead. Shirley had 13 pars and one bogey in 14 holes played in the match at Harbour Trees Golf Club.
Potter and Tara Joy-Connelly were even after four holes. The defending champion won Nos. 5, 7 and 8 to take a three-hole lead and never trailed by more than two before halving No. 17 to clinch the victory.
ZANDVOORT, Netherlands (AP) — Defending champion Joost Luiten fired a 5-under-par 65 to take a shared clubhouse lead at the KLM Open after a first round interrupted when Fabrizio Zanotti was hit on the forehead by a wayward tee shot.
Zanotti was driven off the course in an ambulance for checks at a nearby hospital after being hit while playing the 16th. He later tweeted he was discharged from the hospital and would be taking "a couple of weeks off."
Luiten went on a strong run after the suspension, shooting three birdies and an eagle over his last seven holes.
Jamie McLeary of Scotland was also at 5 under before his round was suspended by darkness with two holes to finish.
(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)