Couples leads Senior Players by 4 through 36

By Associated PressJune 29, 2013, 2:18 pm

PITTSBURGH – Fred Couples shot an 8-under 62 to take a four-shot lead over John Huston at the midway point of the Senior Players Championship.

Couples finished the rain-delayed second round at Fox Chapel Golf Club early Saturday morning with a 36-hole score to 12 under. It's the second straight year the Hall of Famer has taken the lead at the midway point of one of the Champions Tour's biggest events.

The 62 tied a Champions Tour record for lowest round in a major, last matched by Olin Browne during the 2012 Senior Players.

Couples was 7 under through 11 holes on Friday before rain interrupted play. He two-putted for par from 60 feet on the par-3 third when play resumed at 8 a.m. Saturday. Five more pars followed before he finished up with a birdie on the par-4 ninth to reach 12-under.

Huston shot 3-under 67 and is at 8 under as he pursues his first major title. Huston was two shots back when play was suspended, including an eagle from the fairway on No. 15. He slipped four back after bogeying the 17th.

Jeff Hart and Duffy Waldorf are four shots behind Couples at 7 under. Kenny Perry shot a 7-under 63 to get to 6 under for the tournament. Perry eagled the short par-4 seventh and birdied the ninth to move into a tie for fifth with Mark O'Meara.

Newly minted Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie, making his Champions Tour debut, is at 1 under after shooting an even-par 70. Montgomerie was at 4 under at one point before posting a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 15th.

Couples won the Senior Players in 2011 and was in control last year after a second-round 63 but he shot 1-over on the weekend to finish four shots behind winner Joe Daley.

Officials moved up tee times for the third round hoping to dodge another round of storms expected in the area late Saturday afternoon. The 6,696-yard course a few miles up the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh has been inundated with rain all week.

Weather cut the pro-am to nine holes on Wednesday and play was delayed five hours on Thursday. Only 15 of the 81 players in the field managed to finish the second round on Friday before a torrential downpour caused officials to halt play.

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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.