Park fires 62, now 18 under through 36 in Taiwan

By Associated PressOctober 31, 2014, 10:18 am

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Inbee Park shot a 10-under 62 on Friday at Miramar to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship, her first event since regaining the No. 1 spot in the world Monday.

''Everything was working really good out there today,'' Park said. ''I probably didn't hit as close as yesterday, but I holed a lot of putts today. And this season, I've been struggling with my putter. This week has been totally different to what I've been putting.''

The South Korean star played the first eight holes in 6 under, holing out from 82 yards for eagle on the par-4 eighth and making five birdies and a bogey. She birdied four of the first six holes on the back nine and closed with three pars.

At 18-under 126, she matched the lowest 36-hole score in relation to par in LPGA history. The 10-under round matched the best to par on the tour this season.

''I'm doing really well on the greens this week and obviously two days without the wind here in Taiwan is really unusual,'' Park said. ''I thought I should take advantage of that for two days and I feel like I did that.''

She was thinking about shooting 59.

''Yeah, definitely thought it was possible going into 13, 14, because coming down the stretch, I thought it was a lot of birdie holes,'' Park said. ''Especially the last, it's a par 5. Yeah, I definitely had that in my mind. I had a score this year, 61, which was my best round and I really wanted to beat that one. But just came one short.''


Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship full-field scores


Park won the LPGA Championship in August for her second victory of the year and fifth major title. Last year, she swept the first three majors and won six times.

China's Shanshan Feng was second after a 65.

South Korea's Mirim Lee also shot a 62 to join third-ranked Lydia Ko, Azahara Munoz and Line Vedel at 10 under. Lee won the Reignwood LPGA Classic on Oct. 5 in China for her second victory of the year.

''My irons were very good, so I had a lot of chances,'' Lee said.

Ko had six straight birdies on Nos. 3-8 in a 65. The 17-year-old New Zealander won the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in December at Miramar.

''It's a course where you can shoot some low scores,'' Ko said. ''I haven't actually seen the course where there's hardly any wind. So it's kind of different. I kind of feel like, 'Man, am I playing the same course?'''

Munoz, from Spain, had a 66. Vedel, from Denmark, shot 68.

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis was 9 under after a 68.

Norway's Suzann Pettersen, the winner the last two years at Sunrise, was 7 under after a 71. Michelle Wie followed her opening 68 with a 70 to reach 6 under.

Danielle Kang made her second hole-in-one in eight days, acing the 158-yard 17th hole with a 7-iron. She won an Audi A6 T2.0.

''I was actually thinking about a hole-in-one, because I've been touching that car,'' Kang said. ''I really wanted the car. ... It hit the fringe, like the collar, and it just kicked straight in and just rolled, tracked all the way into the hole.''

Last week in the first round of the Blue Bay LPGA in China, the 22-year-old American had a hole-in-one with an 8-iron on the 155-yard 17th hole to win a Buick LaCrosse.

''Everyone was saying, ''Are you kidding me? Again? Another car?'' Kang said.

Kang has three aces in LPGA play this season to tie the record set by Tracy Kerdyk in 1991 and matched by Charlotta Sorenstam in 2002.

Kang's other hole-in-one came in the Lotte Championship in April in Hawaii. She also had one this year in a non-competitive round and has eight aces in her life.

Kang finished with a 4-under 68 to reach 4 under.

Taiwan's Yani Tseng, the winner of the inaugural event in 2011, was 1 under after a 71. She won the last of her 15 LPGA titles in March 2012.

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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 right 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."

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.