Notes Sergios All Wet Miracle Shot

By Associated PressJune 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- It was a hot, humid day, the temperatures climbing into the 90s. What better way to refresh yourself during a round of golf than a brief splash in the water?
 
Sergio Garcia got a cooling shower, but not by his choice. He pulled his drive into the trees on the par-5 15th hole during Friday's second round at the Memorial Tournament, the ball clunking off a trunk and ricocheting into a small stream.
 
Garcia, who shot a 3-under 69 in the first round, was even on the day at the time.
 
His ball was still tumbling in the current of the creek, so he got a ruling from an official before taking off his shoes and socks, rolling up his pantlegs and stepping into the water. He didn't want to pick up a penalty because the ball was still moving.
 
When it came to rest in a small hole in the silt, he took a mighty slash at it with a wedge, hitting it back toward the tee while splashing water all over his orange-and-blue ensemble. The ball ended up in deep rough next to the fairway.
 
From there he punched a shot to the end of the fairway and hit a wedge to the green, two putting for a bogey.
 
'I just got wet, but it dried up because it's so warm,' Garcia said with a grin after finishing off a 73. 'In the breeze, it was feeling kind of cool.'
 
MIRACLE SHOT
Nick O'Hern was expecting the worst, yet got the best.
 
His second shot to the par-4 18th hole in the second round Friday ended up against the lip of the yawning 'Azinger' bunker left of the green. He deliberated for several minutes, sizing up shots to try to just advance the ball.
 
'The worst-case (scenario) was double-bogey and I thought if I go to the front of the green I could still quite easily make double. So what's the point of that?' said O'Hern, who had shared the lead with an opening-round 65. 'We might as well have a go at it and hope we get lucky.'
 
O'Hern took a dozen practice swings before finally taking a ferocious cut. The ball came out hard and fast, but was slowed by the steep slope beyond the pin. It rolled all the way to the second cut, then turned and started rolling back downhill toward the hole. It slowly curled into the cup, touching off a loud roar from the gallery.
 
'When it was about 5 feet short, it just kept rolling and rolling and I thought, 'This can't reach the hole, it can't come all the way back.' But it did,' O'Hern said. 'My caddie went nuts. He was giving me a bear hug. He just said it's the greatest shot he's ever seen.
 
'I think I'll go and buy a lottery ticket now.'
 
CAVALIERS FAN
Ben Curtis grew up a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, but even he couldn't stick around to watch the end of their 109-107 double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons in the NBA's Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night.
 
'I turned it off going into overtime,' said Curtis, who had a 9:41 a.m. tee time Friday morning. 'I figured if I watched two overtimes ... I probably would have been juiced up and wouldn't have slept until 2. So I just turned it off and figured I read the newspaper in the morning.'
 
Curtis, who grew up 10 minutes away from Muirfield Village Golf Club, has the Reebok contract to wear NFL logo shirts and hats. He wore the orange and brown of the Cleveland Browns in the second round.
 
He said he'd be willing to trade for some Cavaliers clothing.
 
'Yeah, that'd be good,' he said. 'They're the hot team right now, so why not?'
 
EXEMPT AND EXCITED
Kyle Reifers, a Dublin native, received an exemption to play in the Memorial. He missed the cut with rounds of 76 and 75, but he couldn't have been more appreciative of the chance to play in front of his friends and family, just a couple of miles from home, on the course and in the tournament that Jack Nicklaus built.
 
'It was great. The experience was second to none,' he said. 'Just being here, playing at Jack's tournament, is a great honor for me.'
 
Reifers said he would most likely relax around his mother's home and wouldn't attend the final two days of the tournament. Besides, he's scheduled to play in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier on Monday at Scioto Country Club and Ohio State Scarlet.
 
Among the other other pros set to play in the qualifer are: John Cook, Paul Azinger, Jason Gore, Tim Herron, J.B. Holmes, Charles Howell, Jerry Kelly, Tom Lehman, Peter Lonard, Billy Mayfair, Rocco Mediate, Sean O'Hair, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O'Meara, Jesper Parnevik, Bob Tway, Scott Verplank and Camilo Villegas.
 
DIVOTS
Ian Poulter was DQ'd for signing an incorrect scorecard. ... The hardest hole in the second round was the par-4 10th with the field averaging 4.3 shots; the easiest was the par-5 fifth with an average of 4.6. ... Will MacKenzie, at 4-under 140 through 36 holes, has eagled the fifth hole both rounds. ... Chris DiMarco had two eagles but no birdies in a 75 and missed the cut.
 
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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.