Hansen Soars to French Open Lead

By Associated PressJune 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
European TourPARIS -- Denmark's Soren Hansen fired a 5-under 66 Saturday to take a one-shot lead through three rounds of the Open de France.
 
Looking for his second career European Tour win -- and first since the 2002 Irish Open -- Hansen was at 7-under 206.
 
Englishman Simon Khan, the second-round leader, had a 70 and was alone in second place at 6-under 207.
 
Hansen's 66 was the round of the day at Le Golf National.
 
'Soren is a quality player and that 66 today was a great score,' said Khan. 'Hopefully we can go out in the final group tomorrow and have a good game and fight it out for the title.'
 
Playing ahead of them on Sunday will be eight-time Order of Merit champion Colin Montgomerie, who shot a 71 in the third round to end the day within three shots of the lead.
 
The Scotsman was joined at 4-under 209 by Germany's Martin Kaymer (69).
 
Montgomerie, the 2000 champion, hasn't won since the Hong Kong Open in December 2005 -- a span of 18 months. Just four of his 30 career victories have come in the last five years.
 
'Tomorrow I have to prove I haven't forgotten how to win,' he said.
 
Khan began the day with a one-shot lead on Montgomerie and Paul McGinley, but ended a shot back of Hansen after managing just three birdies and two bogeys in his round.
 
'I am not unhappy with that,' said Khan. 'I hit a couple of crooked shots coming in but made a great birdie at the 17th when I chipped in. I was pleased with the way I finished.'
 
Hansen made his only bogey Saturday at No. 2, and later closed his round with a birdie at the 18th that earned him the lead. But the highlight of his round was a 3-wood to the edge of the cup from 275 yards out at the par-five third.
 
He tapped in for an eagle.
 
'I don't think I've hit a better shot in my life,' Hansen said.
 
Jeev Milkha Singh shot a 67 Saturday and moved from a tie for 28th place into a share of fifth alongside Thomas Bjorn (71) and David Lynn (69) at 3-under 210.
 
Steven Jeppesen (68), Zane Scotland (72) and Graeme Storm (71) were another shot further back at 211.
 
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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.