Garcia among qualifiers for U.S. Open

By Associated PressJune 7, 2011, 12:16 pm

COLMBUS, Ohio – Sergio Garcia’s long streak of appearances in majors looks set to continue after surviving a seven-man playoff in Monday’s qualifying for the U.S. Open while Vijay Singh’s even longer streak ended.

Garcia, who has fallen to No. 75 in the world, said only last month that he wouldn’t go through qualifying, but he changed his mind and had rounds of 68-67 at Tunica National in Memphis, Tennessee, claiming one of the four spots shared between the seven men in the playoff.

His appearance at Congressional this month for the U.S. Open will extend his streak in the majors to 47 straight. This was the first time since turning pro in 1999 that Garcia had to qualify.

Singh also changed his mind about qualifying, and elected not to take part. His run of 67 consecutive majors – dating to the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont – is over.

His only other chance of getting into the major was via a top finish in the St. Jude Classic this week, but the PGA Tour website said he was no longer in that field.

Those were the two biggest developments on a day of big hopes, with 11 sectional qualifiers in 10 states. No other major fills half its field with anyone willing to give it a try. Among those who got into the U.S. Open, which starts June 16, were:

Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, who made it through a playoff and is going to the U.S. Open for the first time. His grandfather won in 1960, and Palmer tied for fifth in 1964 when the Open first went to Congressional.

Steve Irwin, the son of three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, was among four qualifiers in California.

Fred Funk, who will be 55 on Tuesday of the U.S. Open.

Just as noteworthy were some of the players who failed to qualify. The list included a trio of U.S. Open champions – Steve Jones, Lee Janzen and Tom Kite – and a trio of British Open champions: Justin Leonard, David Duval and Ben Curtis.

“It’s entirely worth it,” Duval said. “You can’t win the golf tournament if you’re not in it. So I guess I’m not going to win it this year.”

College freshman Patrick Cantlay was among the 16 qualifiers in Columbus, which offered the most spots because it had the biggest field that was filled mostly with PGA Tour players. Cantlay, who wrapped up a sensational first season that earned him the Jack Nicklaus Award as the top college player, had rounds of 65-70.

Brandt Jobe, a runner-up by one shot at the Memorial on Sunday, joined Chez Reavie as co-medalists in Columbus.

Others who qualified in Columbus were Robert Garrigus, Marc Turnesa, John Senden, D.A. Points, Marc Leishman, Kevin Chappell, Adam Long, Justin Hicks, Nick O’Hern and Chris Wilson. Tim Petrovic, Scott Hend and Webb Simpson were part of a six-man playoff for three spots. Among those who got bumped out of the playoff were former Ryder Cup players J.J. Henry and Brett Wetterich.

Gary Woodland called officials to withdraw. He moved up to No. 41 in the world ranking after his sixth-place finish at the Memorial, and is sure to stay in the top 50 next week to get into the U.S. Open.

Others who failed to earn spots out of Columbus were Rocco Mediate, Sean O’Hair and Bob Hope winner Jhonattan Vegas.

Several other Tour players were in Memphis, where amateur Bill Cauley shared medalist honors with Sunghoon Kang, a tour rookie from South Korea.

Chad Campbell appeared to be safe until a bogey on the final hole dropped him into a seven-man playoff for four spots. He still won a spot, however, along with Brian Gay, Briny Baird and Garcia.

Among those who didn’t qualify in Memphis were former PGA champion Rich Beem, Stephen Ames, Chris DiMarco and Boo Weekley, who withdrew after his first 18 holes.

This was the second time in three years that Funk has qualified. Among the other nine players who qualified in Rockville, Maryland were Ty Tryon, three-time Tour winner Kirk Triplett and former U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson.

S.Y. Noh of South Korea, a rising star on the Asian Tour, earned one of two spots from Springfield, Ohio.

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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.