Quad Costs Ochoa Lead at ADT

By Associated PressNovember 15, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Lorena Ochoa was in the lead and hitting her stride Thursday at the ADT Championship until a shocking finish to her round. She hit two balls into the water on the 17th hole for a quadruple bogey that sent her tumbling down the leaderboard.
 
'I was worried I was going to run out of balls,' she said with a laugh.
 
That would have been her only serious concern.
 
All that mattered on the first day of golf's most peculiar tournament was not shooting themselves out of the 32-player event.
 
Christina Kim and Mi Hyun Kim will go in the books as co-leaders after both turned in bogey-free rounds of 5-under 67 on a breezy day at Trump International, one shot ahead of Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer.
 
Ochoa wound up with a 70 and was in seventh place, five shots ahead of the projected cut.
 
The cut will be made to 16 players after Friday and the slate will be wiped clean, so it didn't matter which Kim shot what as long as they finish in the top 16 going into the weekend. After Saturday, the cut will be made to eight players and their scores again erased, leading to an 18-hole shootout Sunday for $1 million, the richest prize in women's golf.
 
Christina Kim, outspoken as ever, spoke for all eight players who managed to break par in the opening round.
 
'To be honest with you, my strategy from the beginning of the week was just try and beat 16 people for the first two days, and try and beat eight people on the third day, and then whatever happens on Sunday happens on Sunday,' she said. 'Right now, I'm sitting in a pretty good position. If nothing more, it's giving me the chance to get a whiff of it ($1 million) because I'm not ... in 32nd position.'
 
Pressure?
 
That belongs to Annika Sorenstam, needing a victory this week to avoid her first winless season since she was a rookie in 1994. She played decently enough, but three balls in the water, all leading only to a bogey, sent her to a 74 and put her in a tie for 14th.
 
The LPGA promotes on its brochure that 'Every Shot Counts,' but that's not really true because the scores will be wiped out after the second and third rounds. But it sure made sense to Reilley Rankin.
 
She was atop the leaderboard at 3 under playing the 12th hole when calamity struck. First it was a tee shot into the woods, then an escape across the fairway, a shot into the bunker, a skulled shot across the green and so deep into the woods she never found it. When she finally got on the green and took two putts, she had a 10.
 
The shaken Rankin followed with consecutive bogeys and wound up a 76, putting her in a tie for 20th.
 
'I got a little flustered after the hole, but I did my best,' Rankin said. 'If I can go out and do the same thing as today and not go into the Twilight Zone, I'll be fine.'
 
U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr hit enough good shots and limited her mistakes to a 69, which left her tied for fifth with Catriona Matthew. It wasn't a perfect round, but Kerr couldn't argue with her position.
 
'You want to shoot low today to leave yourself a cushion,' Kerr said. 'You just want to maintain a stress-free mentality for Friday.'
 
That's why Ochoa didn't seem terribly bothered by her quadruple bogey.
 
She ran off three straight birdies early in the round to get her name on the leaderboard, and made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine to take the outright lead. One of them came on the par-5 15th, when she pulled an 85-yard wedge just over the green and chipped in for birdie.
 
'It made me look good on TV,' said Ochoa, who celebrated her 26th birthday Thursday.
 
The par-3 17th gave her a little too much TV time. First came a 7-wood that didn't ride the right-to-left wind and hopped into the water. She chose 8-iron from the drop area, and it did the same thing. Her third try reached the green, and she two-putted for a 7.
 
'I'm really going to put that behind me,' she said. 'Of course, you want to be at the top because the better you play, the more comfortable you get with this course and the conditions. I'm trying to shoot low. But I'm happy where I am.'
 
Not so happy was Laura Davies, who shot a 79, and Karrie Webb, who shot 42 on the back for a 76.
 
Inkster, who had to endure a playoff to qualify for the weekend last year, kept bogeys off her card in a solid round of 68. It wasn't brilliant, but it was exactly what she needed.
 
'I played very conservative on a lot of the holes because you just don't want to shoot yourself in the foot on the first day,' she said.
 
Sorenstam nearly did just that. Consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes returned her to even par, but she stumbled down the stretch by hitting into the water on the par-5 15th for a bogey, and on the 17th for a bogey, and she dropped a shot on the last hole.
 
The goal Friday is to get a tee time on Saturday.
 
'I'm just going to play well and avoid the water,' Sorenstam said. 'Take three less and I'm 1-under par. It's just very, very close.'
 
If she makes the cut, she essentially will be in a 16-way tie for the lead going into the weekend.
 
If not, she goes home.
 
As much as people ridiculed the PGA Tour for calling the final four weeks of the FedEx Cup the 'playoffs,' there is no mistaking the feeling of playoff atmosphere at Trump.
 
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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 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.

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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.