Reto leads by 3 in Alabama; Lewis 4 back

By Associated PressSeptember 19, 2014, 11:52 pm

PRATTVILLE, Ala. - South Africa's Paula Reto birdied her final hole Friday for a 6-under 66 and a three-stroke lead in the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.

Reto had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on her opening nine - the back nine on Capitol Hill's Senator layout. The 24-year-old former Purdue player finished with eight birdies and two bogeys to reach 13-under 131.

''I was just really patient with myself,'' said Reto, playing her first LPGA season after a year on the Symetra Tour. ''I hit a couple good irons, especially early in the round. I hit a couple close, 5 feet, so that was nice, got the momentum going pretty early. It was nice to birdie the last hole yesterday as well as today, that was really nice. Just trying to stay patient and not think too much, just simple things.''

She started playing golf when she was 16.

''I moved from South Africa with my family in '05,'' Reto said. ''We moved to Florida and I used to play field hockey and ran track. So I tried to start a team over here in Florida and the track and the field hockey wasn't as good, so my dad used to play golf and he said, 'So, why don't you just try golf.'

''So got in my freshman year of high school and tried golf. I loved it and ended up just dropping track and field hockey and just kept playing and loved the game.''

South Korea's Mi Jung Hur, tied for the first-round lead with top-ranked Stacy Lewis at 64, was second after a 70. Hur had four birdies and two bogeys.

''I had a cold last night, so it was really hard to focus today,'' Hur said. ''I finally wake up on the back nine and had a good nine holes.''

Lewis, the 2012 winner in the event that was dropped from the schedule last year after losing its title sponsor, was third at 9 under after a 71. She had five birdies and four bogeys.

''Just got in trouble a couple times off the tee and made some bogeys that I shouldn't have,'' Lewis said. ''Really just got in some bad places where I couldn't make par.

''The hole locations are a lot tougher today. Especially, you look at yesterday, some holes we had front pins and today they're back pins. That's an extra 30 yards on these greens.''

Sydnee Michaels, Alison Walshe and Moriya Jutanugarn were 7 under. Michaels shot 65, Walshe 68, and Jutanugarn 69.

Former University of Alabama star Stephanie Meadow was 2 under after a 74.

Lexi Thompson, the 2011 winner at age 16, missed the cut with rounds of 70 and 78.

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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.