Bradley shoots 66 to take four-shot lead in Malaysia

By Associated PressOctober 25, 2013, 7:58 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Keegan Bradley is playing so well at the CIMB Classic that not even the fact his beloved Boston Red Sox are in the World Series can distract him.

Teeing off on Friday in Malaysia while the Red Sox were playing the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series in Boston, Bradley sunk seven birdies – including five in a six-hole stretch on his back nine – to shoot a 6-under 66 and open up a four-stroke lead over Ryan Moore heading into the weekend.

He's at 13-under 131 for the tournament, an official event on the PGA Tour for the first time.

Bradley, who grew up near Boston in Woodstock, Vt., is such a big Red Sox fan, his bio on the Tour website lists his ''biggest thrill outside golf'' as Boston's World Series triumphs in 2004 and 2007.



But even though he's been getting updates on this year's series from his girlfriend, Jillian, on the course, he's kept his focus on his own game. So much so, in fact, he's playing some of his best golf – even though the Red Sox lost on Thursday to even the series at one game apiece.

''In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's going on (with the Red Sox),'' he said. ''I know my mom at home is flipping back and forth, watching. It's fun to know yesterday the Red Sox won, the (Boston) Bruins won and I shot 7 under.''

Bradley has carded only one bogey in 36 holes at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. And he nearly had an eagle and another birdie on the back nine on Friday, missing both putts by inches.

''It's hard to remember a time where I've been more dialed in than these last two days,'' he said.

Moore didn't follow up his stellar play in the opening round – when he made 10 birdies – with an equally strong second round. He had three bogeys to go with three birdies in an even-par 72 and sits at 9-under 135, a stroke ahead of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chris Stroud in a tie for third.

''Obviously it wasn't the round I had yesterday but amazingly enough it wasn't too dissimilar,'' Moore said. ''I hit a lot of really good putts today that just were just right on the edge, burning the edges, so overall I'm still very happy with my game and where I'm at.''

One player who's not at all happy is Phil Mickelson, who again struggled with wayward drives a day after saying his swing is as bad as it's been in a long time.

After a long wait caused by a backup at the 10th hole, Mickelson pulled his tee shot to the left, just out of bounds under a tree. He clenched his teeth and muttered to himself, but was in better spirits when he reached the ball, joking to the crowd, ''Everybody OK? Sorry about that.''

Then, on the back nine, Mickelson gave himself two tough chip shots from sand traps onto the greens that led to back-to-back bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes. He birdied his last two holes to salvage a 2-under 70, but that didn't give the five-time major winner much solace.

''I don't have the control of the swing that I'd like,'' said Mickelson, who is 10 strokes off the pace at 3 under. ''I'm not sure which side I'm going to miss it on and playing this golf course from the rough, which I did today is extremely difficult. The rough is tough. You're fighting for pars the whole day.''

Mickelson said before the tournament he'd be taking more time off this season and playing fewer events so he can focus more on trying to win the majors, particularly the U.S. Open, which would complete a career Grand Slam. But his biggest priority right now is fixing his swing.

''I've got a lot of issues and I think that I'll address it more in the offseason. This week and next week (at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai) are going to be difficult,'' he said.

The surprise of the Malaysian tournament so far has been Aphibarnrat, who briefly shared the lead on Friday before Bradley went on his back-nine birdie run.

The Thai is competing in just his fourth PGA Tour event but didn't look out of his element playing alongside Mickelson and defending champion Nick Watney. He knows this course well – he won the Malaysian Open at the same golf club in March to earn his European Tour card.

He has a chance to receive a two-year PGA Tour exemption and invitation to the Masters with a win on Sunday.

''I'm trying my best. I don't want to force myself,'' he said. ''If I can do well and have a lot of luck, make a lot of putts, maybe I'll have a chance to get the PGA Tour card.''

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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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).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


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 contacted 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.