Bohn Out Front at Wachovia Championship

By Associated PressMay 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Wachovia ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As Phil Mickelsons round imploded with a series of wayward shots, the Wachovia Championship flew in a different direction.
Jason Bohn fired a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a two-shot lead at 9 under after the second round, while Mickelsons double bogey on Quail Hollow Clubs easiest hole began a horrible closing stretch that left him seven shots back.
Anthony Kims 67 put him at 7 under and alone in second place, while 2006 champion Jim Furyk, Dudley Hart and George McNeill were three strokes back after 67s.
Mickelson, the biggest draw in this event with defending champion Tiger Woods home nursing his surgically repaired left knee, finished with two double bogeys in his final four holes on the way to a 74.
While Mickelson was hitting his ball into the creek on No. 18 for another double bogey, the loose Bohn was joking with reporters.
Bohn, whose sixth-place finish at the Verizon Heritage two weeks ago secured his playing privileges after his injury-filled 2007, followed his 68 Thursday with six birdies and a bogey.
Im just excited to play. I dont have a lot of pressure now that my medical status is taken care of, Bohn said. I can just go out and free swing it.
Mickelsons free swinging got him into trouble, a day after a 68 left him a shot behind first-round leader David Toms.
With an afternoon tee time Friday, Mickelson birdied the 10th hole to get to 6 under. He missed a birdie putt at No. 14, then strolled to the par-5 15th looking to pick up at least a shot with the leaders at 8 under.
The 15th had a scoring average of about 4 1/2 , and is the last good chance to gain ground before the difficult closing three holes.
But Mickelson pulled his tee shot into the left rough. His second shot was even worse, going nearly straight left. While the ball just cleared the water, it nestled in a horrible lie of pine straw at the base of a tree.
Mickelson hacked at his sunken ball, and it dribbled 30 feet. His fourth shot landed in front of the greenside bunker. A chip shot and two putts later, Mickelson had a 7 and had fallen five shots behind after Bohn had birdied the same hole in the group ahead of him.
Mickelson parred 16 and 17 before his waterlogged finish left him with plenty of work to do to win this tournament for the first time.
There was a low round out there and I let it slide, Mickelson said. The last four or five holes, I made a few mistakes that cost me.
Toms, who has been fighting a sore back for two years, couldnt build off his best round this year. The 41-year-old Toms slogged through a 3-over 75 that left him tied with Mickelson for 25th place.
With Toms and Mickelson struggling, Bohn shot ahead of them on the strength of some changes hes made with veteran coach Mike Shannon.
The biggest change for me is that my putter was lengthened an inch, said Bohn, who was held to 17 tournaments last year due to a rib injury. My coach has been wanting to do this for almost two years now. I just didnt feel comfortable.
Finally I wisened up and listened to him.
Bohn will be paired on the final group Saturday with the 22-year-old Kim, who also has taken a different approach. But for Kim, its mental.
A year after he had four top-10s as the PGA TOURs youngest rookie and a third-place finish early this year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, the confident Kim fell on hard times. He missed three cuts before rebounding to finish tied for second at the Verizon Heritage last month.
I just realized that I wasnt putting in the time, and to play against the best players in the world, you have to do that, said Kim, who recently switched to veteran caddy Eric Larsen. I think if I practice hard, anything is possible. I guess I was just talking a little bit more than I was practicing. So this year Ive changed that and Im going to keep riding that wave.
The old-style, tree-lined setup included more wind and faster greens than Thursday, and the scoring was up'minus Jay Williamsons hole-in-one at No. 6.
McNeill had one of the wildest rounds, with six birdies, an eagle and three straight bogeys. Furyk and Dudley, meanwhile, took advantage of their early wakeup calls.
It was really nice to get a morning tee time, said Furyk, who is 1-1 in playoffs at this tournament. I played probably six holes where it was pretty benign out there, where there was really no breeze, a little moisture on the greens. But the wind picked up at that point.
Bohn overcame the obstacles during his afternoon round with his longer putter. He needed only 26 putts, a day after he had 27.
When youre putting well, you dont really care if you hit it to 30 feet, you really dont, Bohn said. Youre like, I can make this. Then typically you dont it 30 feet, you start hitting it 12 to 15 feet, and then you start running them in.
Bohn did that at par-3 13th, when his 7-iron landed 4 feet away. He knocked in the putt for birdie, offsetting his only bogey a hole earlier, to take control of the leader board.
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.