Ogilvy opens up six-shot lead at Mercedes

By Associated PressJanuary 10, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 Mercedes Benz ChampionshipKAPALUA, Hawaii ' Geoff Ogilvy ran off three straight birdies on the back nine and shot an 8-under 65 on Saturday to make the rest of the winners-only field at the Mercedes-Benz Championship feel as though they were playing for second.
 
The wind switched directions, making Kapalua play entirely different. What didnt change was the guy atop the leaderboard.
 
Leading by one shot to start the third round, Ogilvy played bogey-free for the second time in three rounds and wound up with a six-shot lead over Justin Leonard and D.J. Trahan as he tries to win the PGA Tours season-opening event.
 
Leonard made eight birdies over his final 14 holes on his way to a 65, the kind of round that he figured would give him a chance to win. But he never had a good look at the leaderboard until he walked onto the 18th green and saw that Ogilvy was at 19 under.
 
It was a little deflating, to say the least, Leonard said.
 
Trahan was one shot behind Ogilvy and simply couldnt keep up and shot a 70.
 
About the only thing Ogilvy did wrong was fail to convert three reasonable birdie chances on the closing holes, including the 18th, the only par 5 he failed to birdie in the third round.
 
He was at 19-under 200, the second-largest 54-hole lead at Kapalua behind David Duval in 1999.
 
Its never over until the last hole, Ogilvy said. Ive never had a lead like this going into Sunday, so it will be a new experience for me.
 
It might be a new course, too.
 
While the Kona wind brought significant change in club selection, the forecast includes a big thunderstorm approaching the islands, leading the tour to move the starting times up some three hours.
 
Even so, this is Ogilvys to lose.
 
Camilo Villegas had to scramble for a double bogey on the opening hole, rattled off eight birdies in a 10-hole stretch and somehow scraped together a 66. That still left him seven shots behind, along with Davis Love III, Kenny Perry and Anthony Kim, who each had 68.
 
No one was more frustrated than Ernie Els.
 
He had a pair of three-putts on the front nine, missed a birdie putt inside 4 feet and finished with 34 putts for a 73. The Big Easy started the day two shots out of the lead, and goes into the final round as an also-ran, 10 shots behind.
 
Els, Adam Scott (73) and Ryuji Imada (74) were the only players in the 33-man field who failed to break par.
 
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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.