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Golf notebook: Pettersson abandons long putter

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--Carl Pettersson of Sweden, one of the most outspoken critics of the ban on anchored putters mandated by the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews that will begin in 2016, has switched to a conventional putter, for now.

The 35-year-old Pettersson, who has used a long putter anchored to his chest since he played at North Carolina State in 1998, used a standard-length putter in the final round of the John Deere Classic and used it again last week in the 142nd Open Champion at Muirfield.

"I hadn't putted very good with the long one this year, so I just figured I'd give it a try on Sunday (at the John Deere)," Pettersson said. "I wasn't planning on changing, but I just hadn't putted all that well this year. I figured I'd give it a shot now, especially with the decision and stuff. I was pleasantly surprised how well I putted on Sunday."

Pettersson had 29 putts in the final round of the John Deere, making 18 of 20 inside 10 feet. He said he began tinkering with the short putter, a Rife Aruba model, at the Travelers Championship in June, but he still has the long putter with him, just in case.

At Muirfield, he averaged 30.42 putts per round on the tricky greens. He finished in a tie for 54th.

In May, the USGA and the R&A announced the adoption of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf that prohibits anchoring the club in making a stroke. The new rule will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

--In other long-putter news, Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old Chinese prodigy who became the youngest player in Masters history, has abandoned anchoring his belly putter.

Guan, who qualified for and made the cut in the Masters using a belly putter that he anchored in his abdomen, still is using his belly putter, but he holds it about an inch from his body.

"I just have a try with it, and I feel good with the change," Guan told John Strege of Golf Digest. "It's not a big deal. It's fine. I just think anchoring doesn't help; it's part of the game. But it's OK they stop using it. I'm OK with it."

Guan is using a prototype Scotty Cameron putter by Titleist Futura X, the model Adam Scott used to win the Masters, which the teenager received on a recent visit to Cameron's putter studio in San Marcos, Calif.

On his way to a tie for 58th in the Masters, Guan broke the record for youngest player to make the cut in a major, set by Matteo Manassero of Italy, who was 16 when he made it to the weekend in the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry in Scotland.

Guan, who earned his spot in the Masters by winning the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur, has played in five events on the PGA Tour this season, also finishing 71st in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans before missing the cut in the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the Memorial Tournament and the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

--Ariya Jutanugarn, the 17-year-old from Thailand who has made a big first impression on the LPGA Tour this season despite not being a member, returned home to Bangkok and underwent surgery on her right shoulder.

Jutanugarn was injured when she fell while horsing around with her older sister, Moriya, whom she was chasing down an incline while trying to douse her with a bottle of water early in the week of the Wegmans LPGA Championship at the beginning of June.

"I hope I will be fit enough to join the LPGA qualifying school (late this year)," said Jutanugarn, who is expected to be out of action for at least several weeks.

Following the injury, she was unable to play that week in the LPGA Championship and has missed three other tournaments, including the U.S. Women's Open.

Despite beginning the season with no status on the LPGA Tour, Jutanugarn has played exceptionally well after either getting into tournament fields through Monday qualifying or sponsor's exemptions.

Jutanugarn has finished no worse than a tie for fourth in five LPGA Tour starts this year and has risen to 17th in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings.

After winning the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in March on the Ladies European Tour, of which she is a member, Jutanugarn turned to the LPGA Tour.

She tied for second in the Honda LPGA Thailand, finished fourth in the Women's HSBC Champions in China, was third in the Lotte LPGA Championship in South Korea, tied for third in the Kingsmill Championship and tied for fourth in the Mobile Bay LPGA Championship.

Jutanugarn earned $447,722, which would place her 13th on the LPGA Tour money list if she were a member. She is fifth on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit with 74,520 euros.

Earlier, Jutanugarn said she hoped to return for the Ricoh Women's British Open on Aug. 1-4 on the Old Course at St. Andrews, but now she is thinking only of earning her LPGA Tour card for next season at Q-school.

--Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will play in a head-to-head match in China for the second consecutive year, scheduled for Oct. 28, according to a report by Agence France Presse.

Last year, McIlroy shot 4-under-par 68 to beat Woods by one stroke in the "Duel at Jinsha Lake," at Jinsha Lake International Golf Club in Zhengzhou, but the venue for this year's event has yet to be announced.

"Rory and I have played against and with each other a lot over the past few years, and he beat me in China last time, so I'm looking forward to playing again," Woods said in a press release.

"We're good friends, but both of us love to win, so I'm expecting more great golf."

Added McIlroy: "Everyone knows he's hugely competitive each time he steps on the golf course, so I know he'll want to beat me, just as I'll be very keen to beat him again."

McIlroy was No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings when the match was played last year, but Woods has since retaken the top spot by winning four tournaments this season, while the Irishman is winless.

--Lucy Li, the 10-year-old from Redwood Shores, Calif., who became the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links last month, now has become the youngest qualifier in the history of the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship.

Li shot 5-over 75 at Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland, Calif., in sectional qualifying for the Women's Open, which will be played Aug. 5-11 at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.

Last year, Latanna Stone was 10 years, 11 months and two days old when she became the youngest player in U.S. Women's Amateur history at the Country Club of Cleveland in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Li will be 10 years, 10 months and four days old on the first day of this year's event.

In the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship last month at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course in Norman, Okla., Li also became the youngest player to advance through stroke play. She lost to Ember Schuldt of Sterling, Ill., in the first round of match play, 3 and 2.
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