Pettersen Eagles 72nd for Victory

By Associated PressOctober 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
  PATTAYA CITY, Thailand -- Suzann Pettersen made up for all those lost strokes with three big shots on the Pattaya Old Course's 479-yard, par-5 finishing hole.
After blowing the last of a seven-stroke lead with her second straight bogey, the Norwegian star hit a 'grip-down' 3-wood from 225 yards to 15 feet to set up an eagle putt that beat Laura Davies by a stroke Sunday in the Honda LPGA Thailand.
'I think that was the best putt of my life,' Pettersen said. 'I was just like, 'Drop! Drop! Drop! Please drop!' It was really nice. It would've been really disappointing if I let it go away.'
Pettersen's 1-under 71 left her at 21-under 267, not the number she had in mind a day earlier after reaching 20 under with a bogey-free 63, but good enough for her second straight LPGA Tour victory and third in four weeks.
'It's been three wins in October, so I can't complain,' said Pettersen, ranked fourth in the world two years after a ruptured disk threatened her career. 'I'll enjoy a week off, now, and try to sum it up and get ready for the last few.'
Davies, paired with Pettersen, birdied the final two holes for a 65. The 44-year-old English player was trying to win her first LPGA Tour title since 2001. She won a European tour event in Austria last month for her 68th worldwide victory.
'At the moment, I'm really disappointed, but overall, I'm really, really pleased,' Davies said. 'I played well this week. I putted well. I've driven it magnificently. Overall, I go away from here having great memories, but I'm very disappointed because I wanted to win.'
The dramatic finish on the hot day at Siam Country Club extended Pettersen's string of consecutive rounds at the top of the leaderboard to six. She has had a least a share of the lead in nine of her last 12 tour rounds.
'It was so warm out there today and the sweat just keeps running down your face,' Pettersen said. 'It's a different challenge. You have to stay hydrated, drink enough and eat enough. This victory is a sweet one.'
Paula Creamer shot her third straight 66 to finish third at 18 under, and Australian Rachel Hetherington (65) followed at 16 under. Stacy Prammanasudh (66) was 14 under, with Annika Sorenstam (72) another stroke back in sixth.
Creamer parred the 18th after hitting into a bunker.
'It was an unfortunate last hole,' Creamer said. 'What are you going to do? Probably not hit it into that bunker. But, I'm not going to stand there and lay up.'
Canadian Alena Sharp, two strokes behind Pettersen after each of the first two days, ended up seventh at 11 under after weekend rounds of 72 and 70.
Former Duke star Virada Nirapathpongporn topped the five Thai players in the field, shooting a 71 to tie for 22nd at 4 under. Ariya Jutanugarn, at 11 the youngest qualifier in LPGA Tour history, shot a 74 to tie for 51st.
Davies pulled even with Pettersen with a birdie-bogey swing on 17, putting Pettersen in serious danger of a final-round meltdown rivaling the late three-stroke lead she lost in the Kraft Nabisco. Pettersen missed a 6-foot putt on the par-3 16th and a 3-footer for a three-putt bogey on the par-4 17th.
The lead was down to two after Pettersen bogeyed the par-4 ninth to make the turn at 1-over 37. Davies was 4 under on the front nine, opening with an eagle and a birdie to slice Pettersen's advantage to four. Davies gained another stroke when her Solheim Cup teammate bogeyed the par-4 fifth, her first bogey since the 12th hole Friday.
Davies pulled within one with a birdie on the par-5 10th. Pettersen birdied 11 to get back to 20 under, but Davies countered on 14 to again move within one. Pettersen then birdied the par-5 15th to take a two-stroke lead that she promptly lost on 17.
Pettersen began her dominating run with a playoff victory over top-ranked Lorena Ochoa in the Longs Drugs Challenge, finished fifth in the Samsung after starting sharing the third-round lead with winner Ochoa, then won last week in South Korea in an event cut to 36 holes because of unplayable conditions.
In May, she rebounded from the Kraft Nabisco loss to win the Michelob Ultra Open for her first LPGA Tour title. She then took the McDonald's LPGA Championship in June for her first major and won a European tour event in Norway in August.
The 26-year-old player has won five of her last 15 LPGA Tour events after failing to win in her first 80 starts dating to 2001. She earned $195,000 on Sunday to push her season total to $1,753,309, second behind Ochoa's record $3,337,993.
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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.