Langer wins fourth Champions title of season in playoff

By Associated PressAugust 29, 2016, 2:14 am

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – By the time Bernhard Langer made the turn in the final round of the Boeing Classic, he was five shots out if the lead. At one point Sunday he was tied for 14th after not finishing lower than 13th in any tournament this year.

A few hours later, Langer had outlasted Kevin Sutherland and Woody Austin in a playoff and was celebrating his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory this season and 29th overall on the 50-and-over tour.

''I blew tournaments when I had a lead and I've come from seven behind, so you just never know,'' Langer said.

Langer made a 3-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff with Austin and Sutherland to win the Boeing Classic for the second time. A day after his 59th birthday, Langer birdied the par-5 18th in regulation for a 5-under 67 to match Austin and Sutherland at 13-under 203 at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Austin also had a 67, and Sutherland shot 64, the low round of the week.

It took a special stretch for Langer to recover from a shaky front nine where he needed a few lengthy par putts to stay on the edge of contention. Langer went out in 1-over 37, but played the back nine in 6-under 30, also making birdies on Nos. 10-13 and 15.



''When he gets hot with that broom,'' Austin said in reference to Langer's putter, ''you can't beat that broom.''

Langer tied Lee Trevino for second on the career victory, still well behind leader Hale Irwin at 45. Langer also won the Boeing Classic in 2010.

Langer took advantage of Austin and Sutherland both finding bunkers on the 18th in the playoff. Sutherland ended up in a bunker off the tee, while Austin's second to the par 5 found a greenside bunker. Langer's second shot landed 10 yards short of the green and he nearly chipped in for eagle before making the birdie putt to win.

''You need to be precise and have the nerve and play the golf course the way it needs to be played,'' Langer said. ''There's still a little bit of life left in me.''

Gene Sauers, the second-round leader and U.S. Senior Open winner two weeks ago, shot a 72 to finish a shot out of the playoff. Sauers started his day with two straight birdies to reach 14 under. But he struggled on the back nine, bogeying three of the first five holes and allowed the chase group to catch up. Sauers was still in contention until making bogey at the 17th after his tee shot came up short. Sauers made birdie at the 18th to finish alone in fourth.

While Langer rolled through the back nine, Austin was hot on the front nine going out in 32. His first mistake of the round came at the 15th when he went for the green in two on the par 5 unaware he was in a tie for the lead because electronic scoreboards on the back nine were not working. Austin found a bunker and ended up making bogey.

''I would have laid up to the right for sure, absolutely, no question,'' said Austin, who birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to get into the playoff.

Sutherland started the day seven shots behind Sauers and made eight birdies with no bogeys in his round. Sutherland was attempting to win his first stroke-play tournament on either the regular or senior tour.

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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.