Moore wins back-to-back CIMB Classic titles

By Associated PressNovember 2, 2014, 9:39 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Ryan Moore knows how to finish a tournament, and how to start a season.

For the second straight year, Moore won the CIMB Classic on Sunday, and for the third year running he won on the PGA Tour's fall schedule to get a flying start to the season, having also won the Shriners' Hospitals for Children Open in October 2012.

Moore shot a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke win, beating fellow American Gary Woodland for the second straight year. He finished on 17-under 271 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to become the first player to defend a title on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitation in 2013.

Sergio Garcia (69) and Kevin Na (70) shared a three-way tie for second with Woodland (67).

Moore had eight birdies against three bogeys in the final round, and earned his fourth PGA Tour title with superb approach shots at the 14th and 17th holes for birdies, and some nerveless putting on the back nine.

''It was incredible to finish the way I did coming down those last few holes,'' Moore said. ''I like to tell myself all the time that 'I am a closer. Let's just do what we can, hit good shots and let's close this thing' and I was able to do that.''

What he wasn't able to do yet is work out why he wins tournaments early in a new season and not after.


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''I've been thinking about that for a while trying to figure out why,'' Moore said. ''Maybe it's because the end is near. I see that I'm going to have six or seven weeks off pretty soon and it's like 'it's the home stretch, just play some good golf and finish off the year'.

''I've got to figure that out and try to approach every tournament that way.''

Woodland, who lost to Moore in a playoff at this tournament 12 months earlier, threatened to reverse that result by firing six birdies without a bogey over the first 15 holes to move within a shot of Moore.

He had a birdie putt at 16 for a share of the lead that lipped out, and at 18 he had the chance for another birdie that would have upped the pressure on Moore, but missed it, and the close-range par putt.

''The par fives cost me all week,'' Woodland said. ''I played beautifully outside the par fives.''

Na birdied three of the first four holes to take a two-stroke lead and still led by a stroke after 12 before his round began to unravel.

A bogey on the 13th dropped him back into a share of the lead; at 14, a downhill eagle opportunity slid past the hole at pace and turned into a three-putt for par; and at 15 he missed a birdie putt, leaving him two shots behind.

With Moore taking a bogey at 16, Na looked like getting back a share of the lead with a birdie putt from two feet. Distracted by some cameras, he had to back off the putt, and missed it. After tapping in for par he waved his finger to the gallery in frustration.

Things went from bad to worse at 17 when he put his tee shot into the top of a palm tree. With the ball irretrievable, he took a penalty and returned to the tee, finishing with a double-bogey six that ended his challenge.

''It's my fault hitting a bad putt and it's hard to recover from that late in the day,'' Na said. ''I never got it together before I hit the next shot and you saw what happened.

''It's disappointing when you know you had the lead and it's yours, but Ryan did step it up in the end.''

Another palm tree proved Garcia's undoing on the par-5 10th, also having to take a penalty and return to the tee and the double-bogey seven dropped him from two shots off the lead to four.

''After nine, I thought I had a chance because I finally got some things going after two or three lip-outs early in the round for birdie,'' Garcia said. ''But unfortunately that double bogey kind of stopped me.''

South Korea's Bae Sang-moon (69) was tied for fifth with 21-year-old Australian Cameron Smith (68), who vaulted up from 13th to fourth on the Order of Merit in the Asian Tour, which co-sanctioned this event.

Last season's FedEx Cup winner, Billy Horschel, finished at 4-under in joint 37th.

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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. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."