Green Leads Norman Struggles at Australian Open
With heavy rain and gusting winds affecting most of the morning players, Green, starting from the 10th hole, had five straight pars before birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 and a bogey on the 18th. He had four birdies on his final nine.
Only six of the 143 starters finished under par Thursday, with more than 40 golfers shooting 80 or higher.
Off the tee was nothing impressive, but the rest of my game was OK today, Green said. My pace was pretty good, and I managed to hit a lot of greens.
Richard Green, who plays regularly on the European Tour, was tied for second with fellow Australian Jarrod Lyle at 69. Australians Peter Lonard, Andrew Martin and Ryan Haller were another two shots back. PGA Tour Championship winner Adam Scott had a 74 and defending champion Robert Allenby shot 77.
Although the rain held off for most of the afternoon players, the wind picked up, drying, hardening and speeding up the greens.
Morning starter Richard Green, no relation to Nathan, said the conditions were the most difficult hes seen all year.
At the Irish Open in May, the wind was coming sideways and we had lots of rain, he said. Today, it was the same thing but it was cold, very cold. Very surprising for this time of year.
U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy was at even-par 72, and counted himself lucky.
It was probably one of the toughest rounds Ive played all year, he said. I kind of hung in there. In the squalls, against the wind, I was hitting my 3-iron 160 or 170 yards. I usually hit it about 230.
It would be really easy today to put up a big number and be gone. It can only improve from here.
Greg Norman, who has won the Australian Open five times, had a horrendous day, shooting a 79 while playing in the same threesome as Nathan Green. Normans son, Greg Jr., caddied for his dad.
Sometimes I hit some good shots and sometimes I dont, the 51-year-old Norman said. If you dont play a lot of golf in these conditions, youre going to pay the price. Hopefully I can come back tomorrow and shoot in the 60s.
Other scores included 75s for two-time Australian Open champion Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby and American Kevin Stadler. American Bob Estes had a 77 and Australian Craig Parry 82.
Lyle, who earned his U.S. PGA Tour card for next year after his 18th-place finish on the Nationwide Tour, said he was playing without pressure for the first time in months.
The last three months on the Nationwide Tour I felt like I had a heap of pressure, Lyle said. Obviously you want to finish inside that top 20 and I was always around that 17 to 19, 20 mark.
Its just nice to come back to Australian soil, stand up on the tee and know that whatever happens this week Im still going to the PGA Tour next year.
Lyle was diagnosed with leukemia in 1999 and spent nine months in hospital. He made a complete recovery and turned professional in 2004.
Australian Open Scores
Nathan Green, Australia 32-35--67
Richard Green, Australia 35-34--69
Jarrod Lyle, Australia 35-34--69
Andrew Martin, Australia 34-37--71
Ryan Haller, Australia 38-33--71
Peter Lonard, Australia 35-36--71
Geoff Ogilvy, Australia 37-35--72
Luke Hickmott, Australia 36-36--72
Glen Dick, Australia 35-37--72
Steven Bowditch, Australia 35-37--72
Mitchell Tasker, Australia 37-36--73
Terry Price, Australia 36-37--73
Mathew Goggin, Australia 34-39--73
Peter O'Malley, Australia 35-38--73
Gavin Coles, Australia 37-36--73
Alex Simpson, Australia 38-35--73
Nick O'Hern, Australia 38-35--73
Cameron Percy, Australia 36-37--73
Neil Sarkies, Australia 35-38--73
Brett Rumford, Australia 38-36--74
Ewan Porter, Australia 36-38--74
a-Rory McIlroy, Ireland 37-37--74
Adam Scott, Australia 36-38--74
Will MacKenzie, United States 35-39--74
Paul Sheehan, Australia 40-34--74
Larry Austin, Australia 37-37--74
Ashley Hall, Australia 39-36--75
Aaron Baddeley, Australia 36-39--75
Aaron Black, Australia 37-38--75
Adam Bland, Australia 38-37--75
Stuart Appleby, Australia 39-36--75
Kevin Stadler, United States 41-34--75
Kurt Barnes, Australia 33-42--75
Jason Norris, Australia 37-38--75
Kevin Chun, New Zealand 39-36--75
a-Richie Gallichan, Australia 38-38--76
John Senden, Australia 37-39--76
Ricky Schmidt, Australia 39-37--76
Stuart Bouvier, Australia 40-36--76
a-Tim Stewart, Australia 37-39--76
Mitchell Brown, Australia 37-39--76
Anthony Painter, Australia 38-38--76
Tony Christie, New Zealand 37-39--76
Matthew Ecob, Australia 38-38--76
Marcus Fraser, Australia 37-39--76
Ben Bunny, Australia 39-37--76
Paul Gow, Australia 39-37--76
Bob Estes, United States 38-39--77
a-Matthew Giles, Australia 38-39--77
Pat Giles, Australia 36-41--77
a-Adam Stephens, Australia 42-35--77
Robert Allenby, Australia 39-38--77
Rod Pampling, Australia 38-39--77
Scott Draper, Australia 41-36--77
Bradley Iles, New Zealand 39-38--77
Martin Pettigrew, New Zealand 39-38--77
a-Stephen Dartnall, Australia 38-39--77
a-Andrew Dodt, Australia 37-40--77
Marcus Cain, Australia 42-35--77
Heath Reed, Australia 38-39--77
a-Bronson Lacassie, Australia 38-39--77
a-Adam Revai, Australia 38-39--77
Peter Wilson, Australia 39-38--77
Stephen Leaney, Australia 38-40--78
Wayne Grady, Australia 41-37--78
Dean Alaban, Australia 38-40--78
Shaun Piper, Australia 38-40--78
Ben Burge, Australia 42-36--78
Mark Brown, New Zealand 37-41--78
Nick Flanagan, Australia 39-39--78
Craig Scott, Australia 40-38--78
Anthony Summers, Australia 37-41--78
Jarrod Moseley, Australia 40-38--78
Michael Brennan, Australia 40-38--78
Michael Curtain, Australia 38-40--78
Matthew Ballard, Australia 41-38--79
Craig Carmichael, Australia 38-41--79
Greg Norman, Australia 41-38--79
a-Cheng Pan, Taiwan 37-42--79
Andrew Tschudin, Australia 41-38--79
a-Danny An, Australia 41-38--79
a-Michael Raseta, Australia 40-39--79
a-Rohan Blizard, Australia 39-40--79
David Walker, Australia 37-42--79
Adrian Percey, Australia 39-40--79
Joe Templar, England 39-40--79
Shane Baxter, Australia 41-38--79
a-Josh Younger, Australia 38-41--79
Tetsuya Watari, Japan 41-38--79
Peter Senior, Australia 40-39--79
Adam Wilcox, Australia 39-40--79
Michael Harwood, Australia 39-41--80
a-Rick Kulacz, Australia 38-42--80
Paul Marantz, Australia 38-42--80
Robin Hodgetts, Australia 41-39--80
Robert Curtis, Australia 41-39--80
Matthew Elliott, Australia 41-39--80
a-Kyu Sim, Australia 40-40--80
Aaron Townsend, Australia 39-41--80
a-Rudi Bezuidenhout, Australia 40-40--80
Peter Nolan, Australia 40-40--80
Martin Doyle, Australia 39-42--81
Ryan Haywood, Australia 41-40--81
Euan Walters, Australia 41-40--81
a-Boyd Watts, Australia 41-40--81
Tony McFadyean, Australia 40-41--81
Steven Myers, Australia 38-44--82
Craig Parry, Australia 42-40--82
a-Jamie Arnold, Australia 40-42--82
Andrew Johnson, Australia 43-39--82
a-Daniel Nisbet, Australia 43-39--82
Brett Partridge, Australia 42-40--82
Adam Crawford, Australia 39-43--82
Scott Fisher, Australia 42-40--82
Anthony Wall, England 39-43--82
a-Matt Jager, Australia 44-38--82
Anthony Brown, Australia 39-43--82
Ben Parker, England 43-39--82
Nigel Stivala, Australia 38-44--82
a-Matt Thomas, Australia 41-41--82
Darren Beck, Australia 41-41--82
a-Peter Cooke, Australia 39-44--83
Jason King, Australia 42-41--83
Leigh McKechnie, Australia 41-42--83
Rowan Beste, Australia 44-39--83
Dylan Taylor, Australia 40-43--83
Troy Kennedy, Australia 43-40--83
a-Daniel Popovic, Australia 39-44--83
a-Brett Rankin, Australia 42-41--83
a-Matthew Gleeson, Australia 39-44--83
Brady Sherwood, Australia 42-42--84
Andrew Pitt, Australia 40-44--84
Eric Egloff, United States 40-44--84
Anthony Still, Australia 40-44--84
Richard Kent, Australia 41-44--85
Scott Adland, Australia 42-43--85
Matthew Guyatt, Australia 39-46--85
a-Danny Lee, New Zealand 43-42--85
Jens Nilsson, Sweden 42-44--86
a-Brent McCullough, Australia 43-44--87
Tristan Lambert, Australia 45-42--87
Brad Andrews, Australia 46-41--87
Neil Speirs, Australia 46-42--88
Lucas Parsons, Australia WD
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
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."
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.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
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.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
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.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
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.
“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.