A. Jutanugarn 1 off Texas lead; Lexi falls 9 back

By Associated PressApril 29, 2017, 12:13 am

IRVING, Texas – The stubborn winds of North Texas might frustrate some golfers. Not Haru Nomura.

Nomura shot a 6-under 65 on Friday for a two-round total of 133 and a one-shot lead in the North Texas LPGA Shootout.

''My mind was very calm today,'' Nomura said. ''I like windy and tough conditions.''

Ariya Jutanugarn is second following a 67 with Suzann Pettersen another shot behind. Moriya Jutanugarn, Ariya's older sister, is fourth at 136 along with two-time tournament winner Inbee Park and Marina Alex.

Lexi Thompson, playing in her first tournament since a rules violation cost her a likely victory in the season's first major three weeks ago, shot a 72 after birdieing three of the first five holes. She's nine shots behind at 142.

First-round leader M.J. Hur also shot a 72 and trails by four strokes. Hur, who lives in McKinney, about 40 miles from the Las Colinas Country Club course, led after 18 holes last year and tied for second place.


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Nomura's best finish of the season is a tie for third at the opening Women's Australian Open. She has two career wins in seven seasons on the tour.

She was 10-under for the tournament on Friday going into the par-5 18th but put her second shot left of the fairway under some trees. Punching out left her with a par putt that curled to the right of the hole.

Ariya Jutanugarn has yet to win this season after claiming five titles in 2016 and being named player of the year.

''Just keep doing like what I did today and keep like playing my own game and just go have fun,'' she said.

Moriya Jutanugarn, who is 16 months older than Ariya, aced the 135-yard 13th. Her best career result is a fourth-place finish at the 2013 Women's Australian Open.

The sisters are staying together, and Moriya said she's looking forward to competing against Ariya.

''I try to beat her; she tries to beat me,'' Moriya said. ''It makes golf more fun.''

Dori Carter's 8-under 63 broke the tournament record by one shot. Carter, winless in seven seasons on tour, eagled the par-5 3rd hole with a sand wedge from about 70 yards. That highlighted a run of six straight sub-par holes.

''You see the ball, and all of a sudden you don't see the ball,'' Carter said. ''And I hear the crowd. My parents are the crowd.''

Thompson's 3-over back nine included a double bogey on the par-3 17th. Her tee shot landed 5 feet in front of the pin but rolled off the back of the green and into back water.

''It just wasn't my day, I guess,'' she said.

Park won at Las Colinas in 2013, when she was the player of the year, and again in 2015. After missing five cuts in 10 starts last season, she said she's treating her 11th year on tour like it's her first.

''I was getting a little too bored of the game and losing a little bit of concentration,'' Park said. ''I try to appreciate whatever is happening. It makes me a lot more happy.''

Defending champion Jenny Shin followed Thursday's 71 with a 72, trailing by 10.

Eighty players made the cut, which was 3 over. There will be a second cut after Saturday's third round to the top 50 and ties.

With rain forecast for Saturday afternoon and evening in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the third round will be played in threesomes beginning earlier than scheduled and sent off split tees.

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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.