Notes Mishaps at the 18th Phil Hits Fan

By Associated PressMay 31, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio -- If someone sneaks onto Muirfield Village with a bulldozer and flattens the 18th hole, theres not much doubt who the top suspect will be.
After all, the 18th has absolutely flattened D.J. Trahan.
In his other 51 holes this week at the Memorial Tournament, hes 2-over. At No. 18, in just three tries, hes plus-9.
I think thats a pretty crappy hole, Trahan said while stalking away from the course after shooting a 6-over 78 in Saturdays third round. But nobody wants to hear that, right? Everybody wants to hear that its a great hole. But I dont think it is. I think its unfair and its ridiculous.
On Thursday, Trahan was between the two bunkers on the left side of the par-4 hole and chipped onto the green, the ball rolling all the way off and down the steep hill leading to the front of the green.
He was 1-under for the other 17 holes, but the triple bogey left him with a 73.
In the second round, he hit his approach over the green then chipped off the green between those same two bunkers. From there he chipped 16 feet below the hole and two-putted for a double bogey that left him with a 76.
The pin was on the front of the green Saturday, meaning any shot hit short or with much spin would likely end up in the valley 30 yards in front of the pin.
Trahans 260-yard drive was in the middle of the fairway but came to rest in a divot, leading to his approach shot hitting on the front and then rolling all the way to the bottom of the hill. He popped up his third shot and it somehow defied gravity by stopping midway up the steep hill leading to the green.
His adventures were just beginning.
His fourth shot went to the green, made a U-turn, then came back at him, rolling into the valley. His fifth followed almost the same route: to the green, then back down the hill to within 3 inches of where he hit it.
Finally, on his sixth shot, he got the ball to stay on the green. From there he two-putted for a quadruple-bogey 8.
Trahan stands at 11-over 227 through 54 holes. Had he birdied 18 all three rounds, he would be 1-under 217 and in contention.
It (the ball) is spinning off the front and theyve got the fairway mowed so tight down there its like trying to hit off pavement, he said. Obviously, youre a pro, you should be able to hit shots.
Then he added, I think its a terrible hole.
Players strive for a consistent swing, a consistent mental approach and consistent scoring.
No wonder Nick Watney doesnt know what to make of his week.
Watney was tied for sixth after shooting a 68 in the opening round. Then he ballooned to an 80. In Saturdays third round, he shot another 68.
Yesterday Im not even sure what happened. I cant explain it, Watney said. It was just one of those days that I was just really, really off. And I just came out today and tried to take it one shot at a time and it worked out.
Not once as an amateur, in college, or in the pros has the 27-year-old Californian ever had such a wide variance between rounds, let alone between three rounds.
I guess theres a first time for everything, he said with a smile.
A kid on the fifth hole was minding his own business, sitting with his family behind the green, when he had a chance encounter with Phil Mickelson.
It left a bruise.
I nailed him right in the knee, Mickelson said later after completing a 70 to stand at 217, nine shots behind leader Mathew Goggin. Honestly, I didnt even yell fore because I thought it was going to be perfect.
Mickelson hit a hybrid for his second shot on the par-5 hole, the wind blowing it off-line and right into the gallery.
It flew right into the poor kids knee, Mickelson said.
After patting him on the head and giving him his golf glove, Mickelson salvaged his par.
Kenny Perry will sit out the U.S. Open in two weeks at Torrey Pines.
Ive only played there three times in 22 years, so that kind of tells you what I think, Perry said after shooting a 74 in Saturdays third round of the Memorial Tournament. I cant play em all and that was one that I always chose to skip. It was easy for me to make that decision.
Regardless of the course, Perry also said he wouldnt subject his 47-year-old body to playing in a 36-hole qualifier to play in another Open.
I dont do those anymore, he said. Ill never do another one of those. Im too old for that.
When play was suspended for 2 hours and 25 minutes early in the third round on Saturday, it was just the latest in a series of weather-related problems for the Memorial Tournament.
Of the tournaments 131 rounds in its 33 years, 34 rounds have been suspended, delayed or canceled because of weather.
Tom Pernice Jr. began the third round of the Memorial Tournament in contention, tied for 27th place and nine shots back of co-leaders Mathew Goggin and Kenny Perry.
Rather than make a move at them, he went the other way.
Pernice turned in 7-over 43 on the front side and ended up with an 82.
It was not as difficult today, he said, comparing the course to the first two rounds when he shot 71 and 75. The fairways are softening up and the greens are softening up. A little more receptive. But if you make mistakes itll still come up and grab you.
On the front side he had two pars and a birdie against five bogeys and a triple bogey.
Mathew Goggin is leading through 54 holes for the first time in his seven years on the PGA Tour. A win would make Mike Weir the winningest Canadian ever on tour, breaking a tie with George Knudson, who also had eight wins. No Englishman has ever won the Memorial. Justin Rose goes into the final round tied for third, three shots behind Goggin. Goggin could be the first player to win the Memorial the first time he played in it since Roger Maltbie in 1976, the first year of the tournament.
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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.