Dufner will try to turn around down year at Nelson

By Associated PressMay 15, 2013, 10:00 pm

IRVING, Texas – Jason Dufner outwardly showed little emotion last year when he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship in the midst of his incredible stretch of golf.

The same goes for Dufner when things aren't going as well, such as this season.

''I don't show it, but obviously it's going on inside. I played a lot of rounds this year with frustration and anger on my mind,'' Dufner said on Wednesday. ''I've got a good way of hiding the good and the bad. But there has been more anger and frustration this year than there was last year, for sure.''

His victory at the Nelson, after which there was no overwhelming outburst of excitement, capped a four-week span in which Dufner got his first two PGA Tour victories and also got married. He followed that up with a runner-up finish at Colonial, a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open and made 21 consecutive cuts to end the season.

''I don't reflect on it very much at all,'' he said. ''Nothing is staying the same in golf. You're either getting better, or you're getting worse. At this moment in time, I'm a little bit worse than I was last year.''

Heading into Thursday's opening round of the Nelson, Dufner hasn't had a top-10 finish this season and has already missed two cuts – twice as many as last year. He is coming off his worst round of the season, a closing 80 at The Players Championship with three double bogeys, while never hitting a ball in the water.

The last person to win consecutive Nelsons was Tom Watson, who won three in a row from 1978-80. The only other back-to-back winners are Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead.

A week after The Players, the Nelson field includes only six of the top 25 players in the world ranking, led by No. 7 Louis Oosthuizen – who missed the cut last year in his only previous Nelson appearance.

''I would rather come in a bit more in form than coming in the top-ranked player (in the field),'' said Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, who tied for 19th last week but hasn't made consecutive cuts in his seven Tour events this year.

Playing on Nelson sponsor exemptions are Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China in his second Tour event since making the cut at the Masters, and 19-year-old Jordan Spieth.

Spieth is playing in the Nelson for the third time, this time as a pro who has made six of nine cuts and already won nearly $700,000 this season. As an amateur at the Nelson, he tied for 16th as a 16-year-old in 2010, then played on the same day as his high school graduation two years ago, when he tied for 32nd.

''This tournament is dear to my heart, and it gave me a big bump when I was able to get the exemption and take advantage, when I was 16 and 17,'' said Spieth, who played one season at the University of Texas before turning pro. ''Now back in a little different position now, not in school anymore, but I couldn’t be more excited to be back here. This is my favorite event of the year.''

While Dufner might not reflect on that impressive stretch last season, the TPC Four Seasons conjures up good memories, and those couple of months did give him a good perspective on his potential level of play.

His return to North Texas also could revive the viral sensation of ''Dufnering.''

When Dufner made an appearance two months ago to promote the Nelson, there was a picture tweeted of the sleepy-eyed golfer sitting on the floor and slouched against a wall in a school classroom with kids.

Fellow golfers and others mimicked the shot with their own poses posted on Twitter. The hashtag “Dufnering” emerged, and there are still people posting their own version.

''I was just sitting, and somebody decided to take a picture and put it on the Internet. ... The guys on Tour had a go at it with me, and then it went viral,'' he said. ''I didn't take it too seriously. Like most things in my life, I don't take things too seriously. But it's been a good response, and I think people have had a kick out of it.''

Dufner said it's ''extremely weird'' to him to see people having their dogs and cats ''Dufnering'' but said the response has been good. He has seen many of the posts, and there is one that stands out.

''One guy did it up in, I think it was a C-130, where they transport tanks for the military. They had the back hatch down and he was sitting on the edge, and they were up 20, 30,000 feet in the air,'' he said. ''That was a unique spot to do it.''

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

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

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.