Bowditch shoots 37 over par, still makes $48,000

By Associated PressMarch 6, 2016, 8:28 pm

DORAL, Fla. – Steven Bowditch tapped in for par to end his week at the Cadillac Championship, then walked off the 18th green with a smile as those in the grandstand applauded his effort.

There were four people clapping.

''Hey, it's just golf,'' Bowditch said with a shrug.

Bad golf, but golf nonetheless. Bowditch shot 84 on Sunday in his final round at Doral, his fourth straight round in the 80s. He was 37 over for the week, his 72-hole score of 325 the highest ever recorded in a World Golf Championships event. His score was so bad that a young volunteer who was tasked with following Bowditch around with a portable scoreboard was told not to post any numbers, and no one questioned that logic.

''I think there was four dozen golf balls at the start of the week in my locker,'' Bowditch said. ''And I'm down to my last one.''

The Australian's sense of humor was intact, at least.

Bowditch isn't some hack who made the Cadillac field as a fluke. He's a two-time winner in the U.S., a winner of more than $6.6 million in PGA Tour events, a past President's Cup player and came into the week ranked No. 78 in the world.

His week at Doral started with a birdie. Unfortunately for him, there were 71 more holes that turned into a lengthy series of disasters. There was the triple-bogey that capped his opening-round 81, then a combination of a triple-bogey, quadruple-bogey and sextuple-bogey - that's a 10 on a par-4 - in his second round on Friday.

For his 36 holes on the weekend, he made more triple-bogeys (three) than birdies (two).

''It's the Blue Monster for a reason,'' Bowditch said. ''I wasn't driving it the greatest here, and it's all over if you can't drive it.''

Quitting, he said, was not a consideration. He could have found a way to withdraw and still picked up a check, but he figured his game needed the work anyway so he kept going.

''I shot 37 over par and still made a paycheck,'' Bowditch said. ''All's not that bad.''

Not a bad paycheck, either. He'll earn $48,000, despite being the first player to shoot four rounds of 80 or more in a PGA Tour event, officials said, since Mike Dunaway posted four consecutive 81s in the 1983 Panasonic Las Vegas Pro-Celebrity Classic - a five-round event. The previous high score in a WGC stroke-play event was 323, by Huang Ming-jie at Shanghai in 2013.

Painful as it was for Bowditch, at least Sunday's round went quickly.

Playing alone for the second straight day, Bowditch finished his round in 2 hours, 12 minutes. He signed his card, opened a Diet Coke and was thinking about teeing it up in a couple days in Tampa by the time most of the leaders were even warming up for their final rounds at Doral.

''It's the game of golf,'' Bowditch said. ''You don't want to play that way, but it is what it is. No one wants to play that bad, but it's just golf. That's it. I'm out here in one of the biggest events of the year, playing bad - but I earned my right to be here.''

Getty Images

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.” 

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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. 

Getty Images

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.