Kerr Defends Title at Wendys Championship

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Wendys ChampionshipDUBLIN, Ohio -- Being the defending champion is a big disadvantage for Cristie Kerr.
In five tries, Kerr never has defended a tournament, but she hopes to end that trend this week at the Wendy's Championship for Children.
'I've been playing some great golf of late,' Kerr said Wednesday. 'I've been playing with a lot of confidence. When it's like that for me, it's a lot of fun to play golf.'
Kerr, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour, has won twice this year -- victimizing Angela Stanford each time. She overcame a four-shot deficit to Stanford in the final round, shooting a 67, to win by two strokes at the Franklin American Championship in May. Then she overcame an eight-shot deficit to Stanford in the last round to win the Canadian Open two weeks ago.
A year ago at Tartan Fields Golf Club, Kerr held off challenges from Pat Hurst, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer to win by a shot. She hit a 10-foot putt to save par on the 17th green of the final round, then won with a par on the final hole when Hurst found trouble off the 18th tee and finished with a double-bogey.
'I love winning,' Kerr said. 'It's a very addicting feeling. And I'm in a very good place in my career right now.'
Six of the top 10 and 33 of the top 50 on the money list will take part in Thursday's opening round.
Karrie Webb, continuing her comeback, tops the money list by just over a thousand dollars more than No. 2 Lorena Ochoa.
Webb has won three times this year -- giving her 33 victories in her career -- after winning just twice in the previous three seasons.
'As old as everyone thinks 31 is, I still feel I have quite a few years left to play,' said Webb, who has won the Kraft Nabisco, Michelob Ultra and Evian Masters this year. 'What drives me is that I don't want to be one of the players out here just trying to make the field.'
Paula Creamer is also back at the tournament. She led by a shot going into last year's final round but a closing 71 left her tied for second with Sorenstam.
Creamer was the tour's rookie of the year in 2005 after winning twice and finishing second on the money list. She hasn't won yet this year but has nine top-10 finishes.
'That's the difference between this year and last year -- I just haven't made quite as many putts,' she said. 'Another thing is that I made more bogeys the last couple of months than I did last year. I'm making a lot of birdies but just giving them away with the bogeys. I've re-evaluated a little of my course management, and I think it's a learning experience. I'm hitting the ball well, so we'll see what happens.'
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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.