Langer leads final event; Schwab Cup race tightens

By Associated PressNovember 6, 2015, 12:02 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Bernhard Langer left Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Maggert and everyone else behind Thursday in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Langer shot a 7-under 63 on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course to take a two-stroke lead.

''I felt tremendous peace today, I really did,'' the 58-year-old German star said. ''That's when I play my best, when I'm not bothered by anything, I'm just walking along enjoying the scenery and having a blast playing golf and doing it well.''

Langer began the week third in the Charles Schwab Cup race, 66 points behind Montgomerie and 27 behind Maggert. With players receiving a point for every $500 earned in the $2.5 million tournament, Langer was $33,000 behind Montgomerie and $13,500 behind Maggert.

Montgomerie had a 70, leaving him tied for 17th in the 30-man field. Maggert three-putted the par-5 18th for a bogey and a 72 that dropped him into a tie for 24th.

Langer is trying to win the season title for the second straight year and record third time overall. The champion will receive a $1 million annuity, the runner-up a $500,000 annuity, and the third-place finisher a $300,000 annuity.



''I'm going to keep an eye on it, but the key is I've got to play my own golf,'' Langer said. ''I've got to play my game and that was my mindset going into the tournament. I've got to play the best I can and if I do really well, then I might end up in front of them, and if somebody else is better than me, so be it. It's not life and death.''

Scottsdale resident Michael Allen and Billy Andrade were tied for second at 65. Andrade had a hole-in-one on the 190-yard second hole, using a 6-iron.

''It was a great way to start,'' Andrade said. ''Haven't started a tournament like that with a hole-in-one before, so, of course, you automatically bogey the next hole.''

Fred Couples, the 2013 tournament winner at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, was at 66 along with Kenny Perry and Olin Browne.

Langer played the front nine in 5-under 30, birdieing Nos. 2 and 5-8, and added birdies on Nos. 12 and 13. He hit 5-irons to a foot on the second and 6 inches on the fifth.

''Got off to a really nice start, hit most of my targets, hit fairways, hit greens and hit it pretty close,'' Langer said. ''Then started to putt nicely, too.''

The two-time Masters champion had only 24 putts. He made a 12-foot par save on the par-4 16th after hitting into the left greenside bunker, and got up and down from the right bunker on the par-3 17th.

The tournament is Langer's last before the Jan. 1 ban on the anchored putting stroke that he has used with a long putter for 17 years.

''I've thought about it a little bit,'' Langer said. ''I've gathered a few putters, different styles, different lengths, different grips. My first thought is I'll probably go back to what I did before I went to the long putter, which was what [Matt] Kuchar does, holding the putter against the left forearm that way, and Soren Kjeldsen in Europe does the same thing. I putted that way for seven years and I won a number of tournaments including the Masters, and if you can putt on the Masters greens and win with a grip like that, I would think I could do it in other tournaments, but we'll see. There's other options.''

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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.