Mahan Races to Canadian Open Lead

By Associated PressJuly 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Canadian OpenMARKHAM, Ontario -- Hunter Mahan had to rely on the crowd to tell him where his approach shot ended up on the ninth green Thursday in the Canadian Open.
 
The load roar made it easy to figure out that he holed the 81-yard shot for his third eagle of the round -- and second on a par-4 hole.
 
Mike Weir
Canadian Mike Weir opened with even-par 71 in Ontario. (WireImage)
'I was like, 'Wow! That's crazy,'' Mahan said. 'That doesn't happen.'
 
Playing in perfect scoring conditions on Angus Glen's North Course, Mahan also holed out from 189 yards on No. 18 -- the ninth hole of his morning round -- and made a more routine eagle with a 10-foot putt on the par-5 11th. He finished with a 9-under 62 to match the tournament record and take a two-stroke lead.
 
'Golf's a funny game,' Mahan said. 'Sometimes you have it and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you do everything you're supposed to do and it doesn't work out. You have to be patient and you've just got to keep working.'
 
Three other players have shot 62s in the Canadian Open, all at Glen Abbey. Leonard Thompson set the mark in 1981 and Andy Bean matched it in 1983, both when Glen Abbey played to a par of 71. Greg Norman did it in 1986, when par was 72.
 
'That is pretty special,' said Mahan, the only one to do it in the first round. 'Especially, a tournament like this that's been around forever.'
 
The 25-year-old former Oklahoma State star won the Travelers Championship last month in Connecticut for his first PGA TOUR title, then tied for eighth in the AT&T National and had a sixth-place tie Sunday in the British Open. In the Travelers, he also opened with a 62 and went on to beat Jay Williamson in a playoff.
 
'My mind is kind of catching up with my game,' Mahan said. 'I've been swinging great. I've been driving it really, really well and hitting my irons solid.'
 
Australia's Steve Allan was second after a 64, and Canadian David Hearn was another stroke back along with Tripp Isenhour. Mark Calcavecchia, the 2005 champion at Shaughnessy in Vancouver, shot a 67 in the breezy afternoon session. Jim Furyk, the winner last year at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, had a 69, also in the afternoon.
 
Mike Weir shot an even-par 71, putting him well back in his bid to become the first Canadian winner since Pat Fletcher in 1954. Vijay Singh, paired with Weir, opened with a 68. Singh beat Weir in a playoff in 2004 at Glen Abbey.
 
'Wasn't a great day, but made some nice putts and got the ball around OK,' Weir said. 'Just kind of strange. Just had a couple of lies just barely in that first cut that I felt like I could have controlled a little better.'
 
Mahan was 4 under after three holes. He made a 3 1/2 -foot birdie putt on the par-4 10th, holed the 10-footer for eagle on the par-5 11th and made a 14-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th. He reached 5 under with a birdie on the par-5 15th, dropped a stroke on the par-3 17th, then holed his 6-iron approach shot on 18 for his second eagle.
 
'It was just about as perfect a shot as I could hit during a round of play,' Mahan said. 'The pitch mark was right next to the hole.'
 
On his second nine, he bogeyed the par-4 second to fall back to 5 under, but made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth and a 7-footer on the par-4 sixth to reach 7 under. He capped his first three-eagle round with the 2 on the 372-yard ninth.
 
'I didn't see it,' Mahan said. 'Set kind of a flat sand wedge in there, took a little spin off and it spun right back in the hole.'
 
Allan, the 33-year-old Australian who won the 1998 German Open and 2002 Australian Open, had eight birdies and a bogey in his morning round. He tied for 13th last week in Milwaukee, his best finish in 13 starts this year.
 
'It was perfect this morning,' Allan said. 'There was hardly a breath of wind. The greens were soft and the pins were accessible. ... I think it's going to play pretty easy unless the greens firm up, because they're really soft out there today.'
 
Hearn, from Brantford, was the top Canadian last year, tying for 20th. He's making his first PGA TOUR start of the season after playing 16 Nationwide Tour events.
 
'I definitely feel like my game's at a level where I can do well at these events,' Hearn said. 'I'm going to do everything I can to do that.'
 
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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.