Ochoa falls four back at Evian Masters

By Associated PressJuly 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Evian MastersEVIAN-LES-BAINS, France ' Helen Alfredsson shot a course-record 9-under 63 Friday to pull within a shot of leader Angela Park after the second round of the Evian Masters.
 
Park shot a 68 in her second consecutive bogey-free round, giving her a 10-under total of 134.
 
The 43-year-old Alfredsson made four birdies on the front nine and five on the back at the Evian Royal Resort to beat the old course mark of 64 held by six players.
 
Helen Alfredsson
Helen Alfredsson hugs her caddie after shooting 63. (Getty Images)
This is my favorite stop on the Tour, period, the 1994 and 98 Evian winner said. To have a course record is very special. I know the course so well and obviously love it here.
 
Five players are another shot back at 8 under ' 2003 champion Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, In-kyung Kim, Meena Lee, and Candie Kung.
 
Overnight leader Lorena Ochoa is at 6 under after shooting a 1-over 73 following her 65 on Thursday.
 
Alfredsson, tied for 41st place overnight following a 72 on Thursday, moved to 8 under at the par-5 15th, but then missed birdie putts on the next two holes.
 
At the par-5 18th, her chip from a bunker landed seven feet from the flag to set up the last birdie. After making the putt, she pumped her fist and shared hugs with playing partners Sherri Steinhauer and Mhairi McKay.
 
I had a wonderful group, Alfredsson said. We laughed a lot and talked a lot. You just play, you make a putt and move on.
 
The course record continues Alfredssons revival after a 2007 season ruined by a back injury.
 
She was second in the U.S. Womens Open last month, finishing four strokes behind Inbee Park at Interlachen, and has climbed from 116th to No. 42 in the world rankings.
 
I am healthy, she said. I dont think Ive been healthy for 15 years according to the doctors. Having gone through all the adversity you enjoy things in a different way at the end of your career.
 
Alfredsson will pair up with the 19-year-old Park in Saturdays third round.
 
Its a great honor to have a chance to play with Helen, said Park. I know she played really well at the Open. I know were going to have a lot of fun. Shes a great person.
 
Park edged into the lead on 18 with a recovery shot to within a foot of the flag from the same bunker that Alfredsson found earlier. Park said she had to overcome early nerves playing alongside the top-ranked Ochoa, who three-putted the first green and made four bogeys in her round.
 
It was a disaster, Ochoa said. I missed second shots, I missed drivers and I missed putts.
 
The 26-year-old Mexican star dismissed suggestions she might have felt the effects of playing football on a hot Thursday evening alongside former France star Zinedine Zidane in a charity match that is an annual feature at Evian.
 
I only played for 15 minutes, Ochoa said. I just went out there and tried to enjoy it, playing with the good players. It was a good time but Im OK physically.
 
Paula Creamer moved closer to contention at 5 under after a 69 that featured three birdies and no bogeys. The 2005 champion is now eyeing Alfredssons new record.
 
I love this golf course, I play really well here, I have a lot of confidence, Creamer said. You get your irons going strong, make some putts like Helen did, then you get that momentum.
 
Im happy for Helen because shes been playing really well these last several months.
 
Annika Sorenstam birdied the final two holes for a 69 to sit at 4 under, tied for 16th place with a group that includes defending champion Natalie Gulbis.
 
The 37-year-old Sorenstam, who won here in 2000 and 2002, is making her final playing visit to Europe before retiring at the end of the season.
 
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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.” 

    Getty Images

    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.