Kerr takes over lead at Bell Micro Classic

By Associated PressSeptember 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
Bell Micro LPGA ClassicMOBILE, Ala. ' Cristie Kerr moved into position for her second straight LPGA Tour victory, shooting a 6-under 66 in windy conditions Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Angela Stanford in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic.
Kerr, the 2006 U.S. Womens Open champion coming off a playoff victory Aug. 24 in the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., had a 9-under 135 total on The Crossing course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trails Magnolia Grove complex.
I felt very calm over the last couple of weeks and especially in the wind the last two days, Kerr said. I grew up in the wind in Miami and I was very comfortable out there. I just tried to figure out what it was doing and just kind of play to that instead of fighting the wind.
Stanford had a bogey-free 67 in the wind that gusted to 35 mph.
At first, I was a little nervous because we started on No. 10, and the wind was just swirling, Stanford said. It was blowing a lot harder than it did yesterday for us, obviously. We played in the morning yesterday.
So, I knew that I really had to stay in the moment and play one shot at a time, and just really pay attention to where we hit it into the greens.
Michelle Ellis was 6 under after a 70.
Its brutal out there, Ellis said. Its hard work. Its hot. Its swirling. This morning, (the wind) didnt really stay the same way. Youd go into the wind and youd think the next ones going to be across, and it just didnt do that. We had some gusts out there that were pretty strong.
Reilley Rankin was 5 under after a 69, and Laura Diaz (68), Mollie Fankhauser (68), Katherine Hull (69), Irene Cho (72) and first-round leaders Shanshan Feng (73) and Anna Rawson (73) were 4 under.
I had a couple of balls that actually were going at the pin and then came backwards, Rawson said. So, me and my caddie, we just couldnt work it out, so we made a lot of mistakes with putts. Luckily the short game was OK, so I saved myself a few times, but yeah, it was pretty bad.
Paula Creamer, an eight-stroke winner last year at The Crossings in the Tournament of Champions, followed her opening 78 with a 69 to make the cut at 3 over.
Kerr birdied three of the four par 5s.
I felt like even though theres the extremely tough conditions, Ive really managed to control my ball well in the wind, Kerr said. I had a lot of birdie opportunities and Ive been putting well.
All in all Ive been playing great. Im really enjoying myself. My caddie and I, John Killeen, are really having a lot of fun out there, not putting too much pressure on myself and just trying to execute well.
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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.