Kim builds a 4-shot lead at East Lake

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA ' Anthony Kim wore a red shirt, fired at flags and made birdies on almost half of his holes.
 
So much for that Ryder Cup hangover. The way Kim played Thursday in the opening round of the Tour Championship, it was almost as if the Ryder Cup never ended.
 
Four days after Kim humbled Sergio Garcia, he beat 29 players just as badly at East Lake with a 6-under 64 that gave Kim a four-shot lead over Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Ryder Cup teammate Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.
 
It took me a couple of days to get over that celebration, Kim said of a 16 1/2 -11 1/2 victory over Europe. Obviously, its nice when you walk up to a green and youve got a couple of people (saying), Nice job at the Ryder Cup. Way to bring the cup back home, little things like that. I feel like when Im happy, having a good time, Im going to make some birdies.
 
So it was a good vibe out there.
 
Vijay Singh wasnt feeling it. He only has to complete all four rounds at East Lake to capture the FedEx Cup, and that might have been the best part of his opening round at East Lake'he finished. But he started poorly, 5 over through 11 holes, before settling for a 73.
 
Kenny Perry, the Kentucky hero from the Ryder Cup, also found little reason to smile. He opened with a 76, and while that wont take away from his memories of red, white and blue, what irritated him was a pink slip.
 
It was his summons for drug testing, the second of the year for the 48-year-old Perry.
 
Good thing the 23-year-old Kim had four days to try to get the Ryder Cup out of his system. He was the life of the party Sunday night, especially after his 5-and-4 victory over Garcia in which Kim made birdie or better on six of his 14 holes.
 
Just trying to enjoy the moment, he said. This Ryder Cup hangover doesnt feel as bad as a college hangover.
 
As well as he played at the Ryder Cup on a Valhalla course with soft greens and minimal rough, Kim was equally spectacular on an East Lake course that was tough as ever.
 
Golf balls disappeared in Bermuda rough that was only 2 inches deep. The real challenge was getting the ball close to the cup on greens that were rebuilt in the spring. It usually takes a few years for new greens to settle, making them particularly firm. Add to that gusts up to 15 mph on a warm, dry afternoon and its no wonder only five players broke par.
 
K.J. Choi was the other with a 1-under 69.
 
The real marvel was Kim posting eight birdies in his round of 64 in his Tour Championship debut. He attributes most of that to a simple fix in his putting before he teed off.
 
It was the most basic thing you can think ' keep you eye on the ball, Kim said. Now that Ive got that under control, Im going to try to make some more putts.
 
He didnt have to make them from very far.
 
Kim hit sand wedge to 2 feet on the third hole and to 3 feet on the fourth. The longest putt he made came from just behind the 11th green when he knocked in a 25-footer to start building a gap between him and the rest of the field that made it to the final event in the PGA Tour Playoffs.
 
I didnt really know what score was out there, Kim said. I had heard the greens were really receptive last year, so I didnt know what to expect. And obviously, it took me a couple of days to get over that celebration that we had on Sunday night, so I wasnt expecting too much. Just taking what the course gave me.
 
What was so tough about that American party?
 
I did a lot of reading that night, Kim said, smiling. My eyes were tired.
 
The drama is gone from the FedEx Cup ' Singh made sure of that with two victories ' but perhaps there is one race that could come down to the wire.
 
Mickelson has a chance to win the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average, and at 69.52 he leads Garcia (69.53) by one-hundredth of a point. Mickelson at least needs to finish ahead of the Spaniard to capture his first major award on the PGA Tour.
 
Kim, however, is one-tenth of a point behind at 69.62. Scoring averages cannot be computed until the end of the week, because scores are adjusted based on the average field score for the tournament.
 
It would be cool, Mickelson said when asked about the Vardon Trophy. I dont really understand the mathematics of the scoring average, because its not really your score.
 
But he understood a 68 and was pleased with it.
 
Mickelson made the turn at 4 under thanks to some putting that has been missing most of the year. One errant shot struck a small girl in the knee, and before Mickelson could check on her, his caddie brought some levity to the moment.
 
Have you seen our Crowne Plaza commercials? he said, referring to one scene when Mickelson meets with various fans he has hit in the gallery over the years.
 
Kim hit mainly fairways and greens, and he took only 26 putts for to match his lowest scores of the year and post his fifth consecutive round in the 60s on the PGA Tour. He played with Mike Weir (70), who watched some of the Ryder Cup on Sunday. He was asked if he saw any of Kims match against Garcia.
 
I saw the start, Weir said. He got off to a great start.
 
Four days later, Kim hasnt slowed a bit.
 
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    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."


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    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.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    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.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    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. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    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.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “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.