Monty leads U.S. Sr. Open by 1; Langer 2 off pace

By Associated PressJuly 12, 2014, 1:20 am

EDMOND, Okla. - Colin Montgomerie thought it would be tough to keep his advantage from the first round at the U.S. Senior Open, and it was.

The Scotsman shot an even-par 71 on Friday and leads Scott Dunlap by one stroke after the second day of the tournament.

Montgomerie opened with a 65 on Thursday, and then held off the field in mid-90s heat and high humidity. He is at 6 under after two rounds.

''It's not easy to repeat a good round as yesterday's was, but this was as good, to be honest,'' he said. ''Seventy-one out there was a good effort. Breezy conditions, windier than it was yesterday, warmer and with the pack coming at you - it's never easy.''

Dunlap had a 69 in the first round and a 68 in the second to get to 5 under. He was at 2 under after starting on the back nine, and then went back to the front nine and birdied Nos. 2, 5 and 7 on his way to a 32.

''I have been particularly good with the putter this week,'' Dunlap said. ''Been tidy. I have made a couple, made all my short ones. You know, those will be big in any tournament, for sure, but especially a major.''

Dunlap has one bogey in 36 holes on a course regarded as one of the most difficult in the United States.

''Take my hat off to that,'' said Bernhard Langer, who is tied for third. ''That's good playing. It's all I can say. It's very difficult not to make bogeys here. You can bogey every single hole. There's no easy hole out here, and that's very good ball striking or incredible scrambling, whatever he does.''

Langer, who leads the Champions Tour with three wins this season, moved into a tie for the lead with a 3-under 32 on the front nine, and then grabbed the advantage with a birdie on 14. He had bogeys on 15 and 16, both on close misses, and then bogeyed 18 to finish at 4 under, tied with Gene Sauers.

''The score was pretty decent, but the round was very up and down,'' Langer said. ''Short game was good, really good. Made some good putts and good saves. Long game wasn't quite up to par. Missed a lot of fairways today, and then you're behind the 8-ball and trying to struggle and scramble.''

Sauers shot 69 each of the first two days, but he was much happier with his Friday score given the heat, wind and firmer fairways. He scored an eagle on No. 7.

''I was pretty bad yesterday,'' he said. ''I got a lot of sleep. Went to Chick-Fil-A and went right to bed. Feel better today. Today went well.''

Marco Dawson shot a 66 on the opening day, good for second place, but had a 76 on Friday and fell to even.

''It was just awful,'' he said. ''You land the ball in the fairway, goes in the rough. Yesterday I hit balls that landed in the rough that ended up in the fairway. So today I was hitting it more where I was looking, but they didn't end up in the right spot. I'm not sure exactly how to play now.''

Lance Ten Broeck took advantage of an early tee time and fired a 69 to go to 3 under. Jeff Sluman also had a 69, including an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole, and is at 2 under. Vijay Singh was at 5 under before shooting a 39 on the back nine to fall to 2 under.

Scott Verplank struggled on his home course and shot a 75 for the second straight day to miss the cut. He said he hasn't played this course so poorly in 25 years.

''My golf game is not very good, and I'm going to have to figure out a way to play if I want to keep playing, because whatever I'm doing isn't working,'' he said.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.