Goydos Comes Up Short at THE PLAYERS

By Associated PressMay 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Paul Goydos hit the first and the last ball into the murky lagoon surrounding the famed par-3 17th during The Players Championship.
One was much more costly than the other.
Goydos wedge shot from 128 yards came up a little short in the first playoff hole Sunday against Sergio Garcia, ending his chance at winning for the third time in 16 years on the PGA Tour.
The hole was designed to do exactly what it did. It got me instead of somebody else, said Goydos, a 43-year-old self-described journeyman.
Goydos, who started the day with a one-shot lead over Kenny Perry, also missed a 15-foot par putt on the last hole for the win. He closed with a 74.
And then he headed back to the most notorious hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
He had hoped to hit the same shot that carded him a par at the island green about a half-hour earlier. The sun was still casting long shadows, the wind still blowing left to right at a steady 30 mph and the pin still tucked behind a bunker on the right side.
Goydos wanted the same result, something in the middle of the green that would give him a chance at birdie.
No such luck.
He ended up with something more like his shot at 17 on Thursday, which ended up wet and was the first of 65 balls to find the water.
Goydos ball flight was a bit high this time around, causing it to hang in the stiff breeze and then fall a few feet short of the fringe.
This one kind of floated on me and the ball ended up sinking, he said.
Goydos still figured he had a shot, especially at such a treacherous hole that wreaked havoc on most of the field all weekend.
But Garcia knocked his tee shot to 4 feet, essentially sealing a victory. Goydos patted the 28-year-old Spaniard on the back, conceding defeat, then hit a third shot from the drop area knowing he needed to hole out for a tie. From there, Goydos just tried to get out of the way of Garcias victory celebration.
Goydos tipped his hat to the crowd and nodded to Garcia as he walked off the green, a gracious gesture in a difficult defeat.
I played good golf, and as people have found out, that doesnt mean win unfortunately, Goydos said. You cant control it. No defense. I couldnt tackle the little guy. Hes probably not little; thats probably not a fair thing. He could probably take me pretty easily.
But you cant kneecap him. You just have to accept the guy beat you and move on.
The consolation for Goydos was $1.026 million for second place, more than he earned for winning the Sony Open last year.
He also found more support than he ever could have imagined, a large gallery following every shot and strangers chanting him name after just about every shot.
In a sense, I got to feel what it was like to be Tiger Woods, he said. Thats from a crowd standpoint, not a talent standpoint.
Goydos had a few shots that looked like the worlds No. 1 player, though.
He overcame five bogeys with two unlikely birdies, a 50-footer on No. 4 and chipping in from 100 feet on No. 10. He regained the lead on the par-5 16th with a two-putt birdie from 60 feet on the fringe.
But he couldnt hold it on the tough closing hole. His drive on the 18th found the right rough, not too hard to do given the gusts sweeping across the fairway in that direction. He punched out to 50 yards short of the green, but chunked his wedge to 15 feet and missed the putt.
I may have made some mistakes, but the day I dont make mistakes is the day Im dead, Goydos said. But thats part of the game. To an extent, I got beat. To an extent, I, OK, gave it away a little bit.
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

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

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.