Perry On Cusp of Third Win

By Associated PressJuly 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 John Deere ClassicSILVIS, Ill. -- Kenny Perry finished with a flourish to move into a three-way tie for the lead through three rounds at the John Deere Classic on Saturday.
 
Perry, seeking his third victory in five starts, birdied the 18th hole to finish at 4-under 67 for the day and 15-under 198 for the tournament. That tied him with Eric Axley (67) and Brad Adamonis (66), who at 35 is the PGA TOURs oldest rookie.
 
Jay Williamson (62) and second-round leader Will MacKenzie (70) were one stroke back.
 
Perry was at 15-under after sinking a nine-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th before hitting trouble on the 15th, hitting rough off the tee and two-putting from nine feet for a bogey. But he made up for it on the 18th, when his approach nearly hit the pin before settling just under six feet to its left.
 
That drew oohs and aahs from the crowd and even a You the man! from one spectator. Perry then buried the putt to complete the birdie on the par-4 hole and pull even with Axley and Adamonis.
 
While those three grabbed the lead, the 41-year-old Williamson made the biggest move with a 9-under round.
 
Five strokes off the lead when the day began, he jumped into contention for his first PGA TOUR win with a strong start and an astounding 29 (7-under) on the back nine.
 
He started with three birdies and was at 7-under for the tournament through the first nine holes. But he made his big move on the par-5 10th hole, when his 112-yard approach dropped into the cup. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 13-under, and ended the round with a 26-foot birdie putt.
 
Williamson pumped his fist and left the course tied for first. Although the lead didnt last, he certainly is in a better mood than when he was after he arrived on Tuesday. He saw that he is 158th in the FedEx Cup standings and cringed.
 
It frustrated me, and it also was a kick in the pants, he said. Again, I havent done anything yet. The fact of the matter is Ive got to go out tomorrow and perform.
 
Which is exactly what Perrys been doing lately.
 
His best run in more than two decades on the Tour began with a playoff loss at the AT&T Classic in May and continued with victories at the Memorial and Buick Open last month. After a week off, hes in position for his 12th win.
 
Perry has raised eyebrows in recent weeks by deciding not to try to qualify for the U.S. Open and honoring a commitment to play in Milwaukee next week rather than the British Open. The Kentucky native is focusing on a different major accomplishment: Helping the U.S. win the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville.
 
Hes made a commitment to this Tour because he knows that this Tour has put him where he is, and I think other guys need to take a look at what hes doing because hes taken a lot of heat for that, Williamson said. Hes a guy that really values what the Tour means to him.
 
While Williamson made a big leap toward the top, 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson made a big move the other way.
 
He shot 4-over 75 for the day and was at 1-under for the tournament after bogeying four holes and double-bogeying the par-4 ninth.
 
Very disappointing, said Johnson, who grew up just over an hour away in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
 
He insisted his left wrist was fine after missing three weeks but was at a loss to explain another tough round at what he considers his home tournament.
 
I dont know what it was, said Johnson, who has never finished higher than 20th here.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - John Deere Classic
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.''

    Getty Images

    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. 

    Getty Images

    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.