Kirk emerges from pack to win Colonial

By Associated PressMay 24, 2015, 11:36 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas - Chris Kirk was prepared to need a putt for a playoff at Colonial.

No extra holes were necessary Sunday for Kirk to get his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Kirk made up for an errant tee shot at No. 18 with a par-saving and winning 7-foot putt after playing partner Brandt Snedeker's birdie try slid by the hole.

''My first three wins on Tour have all been little tap-ins on the last hole,'' Kirk said. ''So to step up and make a putt that I knew was to win is something I'll never forget.''

With his closing 4-under 66, Kirk got to 12-under 268, one ahead of Snedeker, local Masters champion Jordan Spieth and Jason Bohn.

Bohn had a 63 that included six consecutive birdies on the front nine. Spieth shot 65, with a near-birdie that became a bogey at the par-3 16th hole.

When Kirk got in trouble at No. 18, Bohn and Spieth went to the nearby No. 1 tee and were hitting balls in preparation for a potential playoff. Spieth was already back near the green when Kirk got ready to putt.


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Kirk hooked his tee shot at No. 18 into the left rough, then hit his approach from 155 yards over the green. A nice chip set up the winning putt after Snedeker's miss from 12 feet after a similar tee shot to finish a 67.

''Close friends with Brandt, and play a lot of golf with him, and he doesn't miss very many of those putts,'' Kirk said. ''Once he didn't make it, then I was able to change my mindset.''

Spieth was only a few minutes removed from a 20-foot birdie putt at the closing hole, where more than an hour earlier Bohn had a 28-footer that lipped the cup and left him lifting the putter over his head in frustration.

''I thought it was in, that's why I started running. I think it just straightened out,'' Bohn said.

''The second round set me back,'' Spieth said, referring to the 73 he had Friday after opening with a lead-tying 64.

Spieth has finished as the runner-up in all three PGA Tour events played in Texas this season.

As a junior at Georgia in 2006, Kirk was the runner-up for the Hogan Award given by Colonial to the nation's top college player. He decided then to return for his senior year for a chance to win the award - and did.

He now has a plaid jacket and a $1.17 million check, which will be plenty to cover the new home he is buying in Georgia, after winning on the PGA Tour at a saturated Hogan's Alley. The sun finally came out late in the final round after heavy rain overnight and throughout tournament week.

After having the best round Saturday with a 65, Kirk started the final day with an eagle. His only bogey came after hitting his drive at No. 7 into the rough.

Kevin Na, the outright leader after the second and third rounds, shot 72 and finished in an eight-way tie for 10th at 9 under. He was part of a leading four-way tie that included Spieth after the first round.

A 54-hole leader hasn't won Colonial since Phil Mickelson in 2008.

Spieth was making a bid to win the first of consecutive tournaments at home in the North Texas area for the 21-year-old Masters champion from Dallas.

Like all week, Spieth got a rousing ovation when he got to the 18th green. That got even wilder when he finished by draining the long birdie, which was almost good enough for a playoff.

''I wanted to give them something to cheer about,'' Spieth said. ''It was nice to have that one just to give myself an outside chance.''

The PGA Tour's next stop is the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, where Spieth twice made the cut as a teenage amateur.

Spieth had a 50-foot putt tracking to the cup at the 16th hole Sunday, but the ball went on the right edge and then curled 7 feet to the left. Spieth missed the comeback putt, dropping out to 10 under and out of the lead.

Instead of the putt, Spieth blamed his club selection off the tee, when he tried to punch a 7-iron to the green instead of hitting an 8-iron below the hole.

Bohn started with par at No. 1, hitting into the greenside bunker at the par 5 that is the easiest hole at Colonial. But he responded with birdie streak of six in a row, including Nos. 3-5 known as the Horrible Horseshoe because of the layout of difficulty of that trio of holes. His front-side 6-under 29 included a 36-foot birdie putt at No. 4, the 247-yard par 3.

''You can take a lot away from a round like this,'' Bohn said. ''I knew I had to put my foot on the pedal. I knew nobody was going to back up.''

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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.