Notes Harrington last major champion standing

By Associated PressAugust 8, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Tiger Woods can only watch the PGA Championship on TV, if he so chooses, as he recovers from season-ending knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open.
That left British Open champion Padraig Harrington and Masters winner Trevor Immelman as the only players in the PGA Championship field with a chance to win multiple majors this year.
Now, its just Harrington.
Harrington shot a 74 Friday at Oakland Hills to make the second-round cut at 5 over. Immelman wasnt as fortunate, struggling for the second straight day and finishing at 13 over.
A year ago, Harrington found out how exhausting it is to win the British Open. He just hasnt figured out a way to play through it because hes just as worn out after repeating.
Ive just run out of steam, the Irishman said. What can I say? I havent got the focus this week. Obviously, Im still just having a hangover after winning the Open.
I think I need to spend 24 hours in bed.
Immelman can sleep as long as hed like this weekend after missing the cut for the fourth time in eight PGA TOUR events since winning at Augusta in April.
I played poorly and Im bitterly disappointed about it, the South African said. Ive been fighting with my swing. Ive got the double-miss going, missing left and right. I really need to figure out what Im going to do with my long game.
But it doesnt hurt knowing you won a major.
Jim Furyk made one of the two birdies on the 498-yard, par-4 18th Friday and his was huge.
It got him to 8-over 148'good enough to make the cut on the number'after he had four bogeys and two doubles during a 7-over second round.
Robert Allenby birdied three of his last four holes for a 72 that left on the cut line.
South African Charl Schwartzel made a remarkable run to make the cut by a stroke with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on his back nine.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger also made it, the first active captain to make the cut since Tom Kite in 1997, but two players on the bubble burst their chances of being among the eight automatic qualifiers for the team.
Woody Austin and Hunter Mahan, who started the week ninth and 10th in U.S. Ryder Cup points, both failed to make the cut.
U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate will start the third round at 8 over, surviving a round putting on what he called a brown and nasty, surface.
Its not a complaint, but theyre on the verge of dying, Mediate said. Its hard and its OK.
Its supposed to be hard.
First-round leaders Robert Karlsson and Jeev Milkha Singh both were unable to put together another strong round, but 77 and 74 respectively was good enough to keep them in the field.
Five of the top 15 players in the world, not counting Tiger Woods, didnt make the cut: Vijay Singh (12 over) Adam Scott (10 over), Stewart Cink (11 over), Lee Westwood (15 over) and K.J. Choi (11 over).
Two-time major winner John Daly played relatively well, but his 74-75 was one too many shots.
Woody Austin thinks his Ryder Cup chances are over.
Austin shot a second straight 79 Friday and at 18 over, missed the cut by 10 shots in his last chance to lock up one of the automatic spots on the U.S. team.
I embarrassed myself out there, Austin said. Its like I forgot how to play golf. I looked like a 20 handicap.
Austin entered the week ninth in Ryder Cup points, which would have been good enough in past years. This year, though, U.S. captain Paul Azinger will have four captains picks to go along with eight automatic slots.
My whole intention for the year was to make the team, Austin said. I didnt do that, so my year is over.
Azinger, though, wasnt ready to write off Austin, who is well-known for usually being hard on himself, or Hunter Mahan, who was 10th on the list and also missed the cut.
The Ryder Cup is not this week, said Azinger, who will announce his picks Sept. 2 in New York.
Knowing how tough Austin is on himself, Azinger joked that he was going to call his wife.
Im going to call Shannon and tell her to put away the sharp objects, Azinger joked.
Even though Austin is still a candidate to be one of Azingers selections, hes not so sure.
Every expert that Ive heard in the last month has said that Paul is going to go with young guys, the 44-year-old Austin said. Ive played one bad tournament in the last three months, and thats all anyone is going to remember.
While Austin, Mahan and 14th-ranked Zach Johnson ended their hope to earn an automatic spot on the team that will face Europe next month in Kentucky, seventh-ranked Boo Weekley and eighth-ranked Steve Stricker held their positions by making the cut.
Four players between No. 11 and 16 in the standings'D.J. Trahan, Rocco Mediate Sean OHair and second-round leader J.B. Holmes'improved their chances by making it to the weekend.
Mike Weir might have found the solution to Oakland Hills famed greens'a lofted putter. Weir used an 18-degree hybrid club after breaking his putter.
I tossed my club at the bag on the par-3 13th, and it must have just caught the plastic part because it dented the shaft, said Weir, who is 8 over after his second-round 75. Im a dummy.
The 2003 Masters champion was pleasantly surprised, though, at his success with the unconventional putter that helped him make the cut.
I didnt three-putt a single green with the hybrid, and that was after five three-putts with the regular one, he said. I might bend my putter to an 18-degree loft tonight. Maybe thats the way to putt these greens.
Anthony Kim was the only player with a birdie at the par-3 17th. After hitting his last tee shot, Jerry Kelly walked over to the ropes and gave the driver to a kid, who was so startled by the gesture that he dropped the club. Sean OHair remained in contention at 2-over by making spectacular saves on his last two holes, one from the gaping bunker just right of the eighth green and then hitting an 18-foot putt for par on No. 9. When Andres Romero went to bed Thursday night, he shared the lead at 2 under because darkness ended his round through 16 holes. Romero bogeyed his final first-round hole Friday morning, then came close to missing the cut. He had a quadruple-bogey 8 after finding water twice at No. 16 and a double-bogey 6 at 18 to drop to 78 for the day and 7 over.
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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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.