Rookie Sucher leads Barracuda Championship

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2015, 3:11 am

RENO, Nev. – Zack Sucher took the first-round lead in the Barracuda Championship, scoring 18 points Thursday in the PGA Tour's only modified Stableford event.

Sucher had nine birdies in his bogey-free round at Montreux Golf and Country Club for a three-point lead over Patrick Rodgers. Under the modified Stableford format, players receive 8 points for double eagle, 5 for eagle, 2 for birdie, 0 for par, minus-1 for bogey and minus-3 for double bogey or worse.

''I think it's the format I needed with the year that I've had,'' Sucher said. ''Like, 'All right, let's go out and like don't try to post a number, just make a bunch of birdies.'''

Sucher has made only four cuts in 16 starts in his first season on the PGA Tour. The 28-year-old former Alabama-Birmingham player won the Web.com Tour's Midwest Classic last year.

''I had last week off, which was nice,'' Sucher said. ''Worked on a few things with my coach, and they all panned out good today. ... I kept it in play and, obviously, I putted really well, which was the key.''

Rodgers had eight birdies and a bogey.

''I scored it really well today,'' Rodgers said. ''Took advantage of the easy holes and made a lot of birdies when I had chances to. I felt comfortable on the greens. The greens are nice and smooth this morning. And I was obviously really happy with it.''

The 23-year-old from Stanford has earned enough money through sponsor exemptions to become a special temporary member of the PGA Tour. With just over $800,000, most of that from a runner-up finish in the Wells Fargo Championship in May, he is virtually assured of a PGA Tour card for next season.



Rodgers won the Web.com Tour's Colombia Championship in February.

''Obviously, starting on the Web and getting a win under my belt gave me a lot of confidence and freed me up to take advantage of some opportunities out on tour,'' Rodgers said. ''To take advantage of that there in Charlotte and lock up special temporary status was huge and has really freed me up this summer. Although I haven't played my best as of late, I feel really comfortable with where I am and I'm excited about next year being out here full time.''

Ricky Barnes was third with 14 points. After bogeys on the par-4 14th and 17th, he closed with a birdie on par-5 18th.

''You hate kind of giving two points back on the last four holes when you really haven't missed a shot, haven't been in much trouble,'' Barnes said. ''So to get that last one, after hitting a good drive and a good second shot, we just misjudged about a club on the second shot, it was a good finish.''

David Toms and J.J. Henry were tied for fourth with 13 points, and Robert Garrigus, Billy Hurley III, Andres Romero, Jonas Blixt and Tom Hoge followed at 12.

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy closed with a double bogey for a minus-1 total. Last year, he finished with a tournament-record 49 points for a five-point victory.

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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.