New major winner Thompson ready for North Texas Shootout

By Associated PressApril 30, 2014, 8:15 pm

IRVING, Texas - Lexi Thompson got a congratulatory text from Nancy Lopez, a letter from Arnold Palmer and countless tweets.

There was also a trip to Germany for sponsor Puma that included doing a commercial with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, along with several media appearances.

A lot has happened for Thompson in the three weeks since the 19-year-old American became a major champion. Now it is time to get back on the course.

''Yeah, they've been pretty busy,'' Thompson said, adding that she still managed to practice and train. ''Worked on a few things. Just trying to keep my swing grooved like it was at Kraft Nabisco. And working on the same things, but I feel really good coming into this week.''

Thompson tees off Thursday at the second North Texas LPGA Shootout, where world No. 1 player Inbee Park is the defending champion.

In the two LPGA tournaments Thompson didn't play after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship the first weekend in April, Michelle Wie won at home in Hawaii and Lydia Ko won last week in San Francisco only days after turning 17 and moved up to No. 2 in the world.

''I'm not even the young one out here. Now Lydia is,'' the sixth-ranked Thompson said with a smile, though Ko isn't playing at Las Colinas Country Club this week. ''But it's great to see that the game is getting younger.''

Park, who has been No. 1 for 55 consecutive weeks, was bogey-free the final 35 holes while winning the inaugural North Texas event last year. This is already the third title defense this season for the 25-year-old South Korean who just bought a new home in Las Vegas, and plans to spend next week furnishing it.

''I'll be just, you know, be using my credit card a lot next week,'' Park said, laughing. ''So I better make some money this week.''

Park was the runner-up in Thailand in her first title defense this year, and finished 38th at the Kraft Nabisco, though she has bounced back from the season's first major with consecutive top-four finishes.

There is a full field of 144 players, 140 pros along with four amateurs - two college players and two high school players who earned spots in qualifying rounds. The field includes 18 of the world's top 25 players playing a unique format of cuts after both the second and third rounds.

Texas native Stacy Lewis, at No. 3, is the highest-ranked American. She struggled with her short game for a closing 71 in last week's inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. It was her sixth runner-up finish since winning the Women's British Open in August.

''The old saying, the more you do things, the easier it gets, I can tell you that finishing second doesn't get any easier,'' Lewis said. ''I didn't get a lot of sleep on Sunday and Monday. You sit there and you think about all the shots, what you could have done different, you could have done this or that. It's really hard to come off a week like last week where I had a chance to win.''

But Lewis has finished out of the top six only once in her eight tournaments this season and leads the Race to CME Globe, the LPGA's new season-long points competition.

''My game is in a great place. I've got to get my mind back centered on what I'm doing,'' Lewis said. ''I'm playing good golf. I'm excited that we get to kind of keep going and keep playing, but it definitely takes a couple days to come off of something like that, like what happened last week.''

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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.