Singh 54-Hole Leader in Canada

By Associated PressJuly 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Canadian OpenMARKHAM, Ontario -- Vijay Singh dropped his driver in disgust at the top of his backswing, thinking he'd hit into the lake down the left side of the 11th fairway.
 
But instead of dropping in the water, the ball skipped safely along the bank and he walked off the par-5 hole with an easy two-putt birdie.
 
The big Fijian wasn't as fortunate with some errant shots to the right, making two late bogeys en route to a 3-under 68 and a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Canadian Open. He had a 12-under 201 total on Angus Glen's North Course.
 
'I'm kind of disappointed with the way I finished,' Singh said. 'I thought I played better than a 68. I made a lot of mistakes that I normally wouldn't, but that's the way golf is. You know, you get good breaks out there as well. I got up and down a few times ... and got away with a bad tee shot on 11.'
 
Singh, the 2004 winner at Glen Abbey in a playoff with Canadian star Mike Weir, won the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational early this year to push his PGA Tour victory total to 31. The three-time major champion has a tour-record 19 wins since turning 40 in February 2003.
 
'I've got to go out there tomorrow and play my game and make a lot of birdies and not make too many mistakes,' Singh said. 'I can't play conservative golf. There's so many birdie opportunities out there that I've got to attack the course, but smartly.'
 
Steve Allan and John Mallinger, the second-round leaders at 10 under, were second after a pair of 70s in windy and hot conditions Saturday.
 
First-round leader Hunter Mahan (67) was 10 under, and Jim Furyk, the winner last year in Hamilton, had a 69 to join Pat Perez (66) at 9 under.
 
Allan took a share of the lead to the par-4 18th, but closed with a bogey after his second shot bounced over the green.
 
'Overall, I played well, but didn't hole enough putts,' Allan said. 'You know, I made a couple nice little par putts, but that's about it. That's my deal for tomorrow. Hopefully, I can keep hitting the ball well and hole some more putts.'
 
The 33-year-old Australian is seeking his first PGA TOUR victory after winning the 1998 German Open and 2002 Australian Open.
 
'If I could pull off a win on the PGA TOUR, what better way to do it than with one of the best players,' Allan said. 'Nobody would expect me to beat Vijay, but I know I've got the game to play well.'
 
After nearly hitting into the lake on the par-5 11th, the 44-year-old Singh two-putted from the fringe to reach 13 under.
 
Singh bogeyed the par-4 13th after hammering a drive 330 yards through the fairway and into knee-deep fescue, then rebounded with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th. He also bogeyed the par-4 16th after his approach shot settled in a difficult lie in the first cut of fescue, 25 yards right of the pin.
 
He was in danger of dropping another stroke on the par-3 17th after hitting into the deep right-front bunker, but blasted out to 4 feet and saved par. He two-putted for par on 18 after driving into the right rough.
 
'Hopefully, I can limit those mistakes tomorrow and finish the job,' Singh said.
 
Mahan, the Travelers Championship winner last month in Connecticut, matched the tournament record with a 62 on Thursday, but dropped back with a 74 on Friday.
 
'I felt a lot better today,' Mahan said.
 
Weir shot a 67 in the second group of the day to get to 5 under. The 2003 Masters champion opened with rounds of 71 and 70 to make the cut by a stroke.
 
'You want to be a little more aggressive, that's for sure,' Weir said. 'But the only way that you can do that is if you're hitting it well and that was the difference today. I was hitting well.'
 
Stephen Ames also was 5 under after a 69. The outspoken Canadian again criticized the course setup, saying the greens were too soft for a national championship.
 
'They are just exceptionally slow, very soft,' said Ames, a naturalized citizen from Trinidad and Tobago. 'I think they're trying to protect the golf course from something. But for a national open, I don't think it's the right spot.'
 
Weir also talked about the quirky greens.
 
'The greens are very difficult, there's no question,' Weir said. 'There's not many pin placements out here, so many little rolls and bumps for a public-play golf course. No. 6 was unbelievable, and 12 and 14 were incredible pins today.'
 
Singh offered his opinion, too.
 
'I've never seen pins on those slopey parts. Normally it's pretty flat,' Singh said. 'But this week they have managed to find some really difficult ones. ... They need to do that, otherwise scoring would be really, really low.'
 
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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.