Bowditch (62) leads Byron Nelson; Spieth 7 back

By Associated PressMay 29, 2015, 12:46 am

IRVING, Texas - Steven Bowditch considers the AT&T Byron Nelson his home tournament - just maybe not to the extent Jordan Spieth does.

The Australian matched his low round on the PGA Tour with an 8-under 62 on Thursday to take a two-shot lead over another Texan, Jimmy Walker. Spieth was seven shots back in his first round as Masters champion in the event that gave the Dallas player his start as a 16-year-old amateur in 2010.

Bowditch, who moved to the Dallas area 10 years ago, has made the cut just once at the Nelson - in his debut in 2011, when he tied for 60th after a third-round 80. He didn't make it to the weekend each of the past three years at TPC Four Seasons.

The 31-year-old missed the cut last week at Colonial in Fort Worth, which is a little farther from his home in the suburb of Flower Mound and he says doesn't have quite the "hometown" draw as the Nelson for Bowditch's family and friends.

"It's starting to feel that way, to be honest. Starting to get a lot more ticket requests," said Bowditch, whose only PGA Tour win was the 2014 Texas Open in San Antonio. "You always want to play well, but I guess it is a little more special when you have everyone around that only get to see you play golf once a year."


AT&T Byron Nelson Championship: Articles, videos and photos


The Nelson had the hometown feel for Spieth the moment he stepped to the 10th tee as a high school junior five years ago, when he tied for 16th as the sixth-youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. He returned as a rising star after his win at Augusta, frequently tipping his cap to large galleries that even cheered as he walked onto greens.

"It feels different when I tee off now versus when I was out there then," said Spieth, who has finished second at all three Texas events this year, including Colonial. "Obviously, off the course I prepare hard for this and would like to play well and get in contention. But when I'm inside the ropes, it's just another week. Back then, it was the biggest tournament I've ever played in."

James Hahn and Dallas resident Ryan Palmer shared third at 65, and 2011 Nelson champion Keegan Bradley was in the group 66. Danny Lee aced the par-3 17th with a 5-iron from 190 yards and was tied for ninth at 67.

Defending champion Brendon Todd, playing a group ahead of Spieth, had just one birdie and shot 72.

Despite an opening birdie, the 21-year-old Spieth couldn't get the warm greetings to escalate on a mostly sunny but soggy course that has absorbed about a foot of rain in less than three weeks. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways.

Spieth didn't give himself many good chances for birdie, and let a couple get away in the last three holes by missing short putts while playing with Justin Thomas, his friend and opponent in the 2012 NCAA team final when Spieth led Texas over Alabama. Thomas opened with an even-par 70.

A grim-faced Spieth tossed his putter toward his bag after not even catching the lip from 8 feet on 16, but was generally upbeat after the round.

"I just didn't give myself enough looks inside of 15 feet today," said Spieth, who won the Valspar Championship about a month before the Masters. "That's the only reason I'm at 1 (under) and not better. I felt comfortable driving the ball and striking it."

Bowditch made three putts of 24 feet or longer while shooting a 30 on the front nine and had the last of eight birdies in a bogey-free round with a 6-foot putt after a long bunker shot at the par-5 16th. His previous best round at the Nelson was a second-round 65 that helped him make his only cut four years ago.

"Probably my best putting in the way of longer putts made," said Bowditch, whose other 62 was in the final round of the 2011 Viking Classic in Mississippi. "I typically don't make a lot of longer putts."

Walker, who picked up his second win of the year in March not far from home at the Texas Open, birdied four of his last five holes. All of the putts were inside 10 feet.

"I'm a Texas guy and lived here a long time, so yeah, winning in Texas is cool," said Walker, a five-time winner who is second to Spieth in FedEx Cup points. "It was a nice finish. Good iron shots."

Hahn, also starting on No. 10, was 6 under with six holes to play but had a pair of bogeys before a finishing birdie.

 

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.