McDowell shares 54-hole lead in French Open

By Associated PressJuly 6, 2013, 4:43 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Richard Sterne of South Africa share a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the French Open.

McDowell shot a 1-under 70 while Sterne had a 71 on the tough Albatross course of Le Golf National, leaving both at 5-under 208.

''I couldn't have asked for a better position to be going into the last round,'' McDowell said. ''The putter just has not quite got revved up to top gear yet, but hopefully that's waiting for tomorrow.''

McDowell is rediscovering his form after missing the cut in his last three tournaments.

''I bogeyed 17 probably off the best tee shot I hit all day, maybe just wrong club selection off the back there,'' McDowell said. ''I tried to nudge the putter out of the fringe and it was a bit sticky and came out hot on me.''

Bernd Wiesberger of Austria (68), David Howell of England (69) and Richard Green of Australia (70) were at 209. Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark and Simon Dyson of England were at 210.

Francesco Molinari of Italy had the day's best round, a 67 that left him four shots back. Second-round leader Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay fell to 214 after a 78.

Thomas Bjorn of Denmark held a two-shot lead after a birdie on No. 8 – where he nearly had a hole-in-one but the ball lipped out – before dropping four shots in the last four holes.

Martin Kaymer of Germany, Ian Poulter of England and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain are part of a five-way tie at 213. Kaymer, the 2010 U.S. PGA champion, shot a 69 and is hoping for a top-10 finish despite feeling ''very sick.''

''The first day I was OK, but yesterday I felt terrible. And today I just feel very weak,'' Kaymer said. ''I don't hit the ball as far as usual.''

Matt Kuchar of the United States fell from contention with a 73 that left him 10 strokes off the pace.

''Below average golf for me,'' Kuchar said. ''I haven't been as sharp as I had hoped to be, but I still enjoyed my stay here.''

Ranked fifth in the world, Kuchar is making his French Open debut. He brought his family with him to France and will take a short vacation next week in the south of the country.

He said his goal Sunday is to ''just have a good round, try to get on some better form. Then, hopefully carry some momentum into the British Open.''

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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.