Singh stars in regular season finale

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
Wydham ChampionshipGREENSBORO, N.C. ' When Davis Love III last played at central North Carolinas late-season PGA Tour event, he was putting his inside knowledge to good use and winning at the course he helped revamp.
 
Love wont have that luxury this time. Not after the Wyndham Championship moved across town to a vintage course created by Donald Ross.
 
So many times in my career, weve left a classic, traditional golf course and gone to a new, modern-style course, Love said Wednesday. So its nice to be doing the opposite for once.
 
Plenty has changed here in the two years since Loves victory: The tournament received a new name, a new spot on the schedule and, this year, a new home at the par-70, 7,118-yard course at Sedgefield Country Club.
 
But for all of those tweaks, a familiar problem has reappeared. Several recognizable names withdrew in the days leading up to the tournament, the last one before the start of the FedExCup playoffs ' despite its status as the Tours only annual event to be played on an original Ross course.
 
Any time you get to play a Donald Ross course, its a treat, Love said. So, hopefully, word will spread to the players that this is a great golf course, a fun place to play, and it will help the tournament out. Thats No. 1, helping the tournament out.
 
Not long ago, this event faced an uncertain future because officials werent sure if there was room on the PGA Tour's reorganized calendar for it.
 
Those concerns were soothed when last years event was moved up two months to the week before the start of the playoffs, and organizers hoped the tournaments position would attract players scrambling to make the top 144 and advance to the Barclays the following week.
 
That did happen, but for the second consecutive year, several notable names backed out in the days leading up to the tournament.
 
This years newsworthy withdrawals included U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate, who skipped the Wyndham to spend time with his family. Angel Cabrera, last years U.S. Open champion, and J.B. Holmes, who took a one-shot lead into his final 36 holes at last weeks PGA Championship, did not give reasons for their withdrawals.
 
Only three of the top 30 players on the playoff points list are playing here this week.
 
Im in a position where I need to play well, said David Toms, who entered at No. 120 on the points list and added that he assured tournament director Mark Brazil that I would be here because I thought it was a good year to support the event when they were changing venues, and they needed that support.
 
The biggest name in the field is Vijay Singh. The fifth-ranked player in the world would jump from No. 7 to No. 3 on the FedExCup list with the 4,500 points that accompany a victory on Ross famous turtleback greens at Sedgefield.
 
Its a fun golf course to play, Singh said. Its not very long so you dont really need to hit drivers every hole. Its a tight enough golf course where you can enjoy it as well. It requires attention, and theres a lot of tricky holes out there. Its got a lot of variety.
 
The tournament ' formerly known as the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro and, before that, the Greater Greensboro Open ' moved 15 miles west to one of its original courses from Forest Oaks Country Club, its home for the three decades from 1977-2007. Love helped reconfigure that course in 2003 and three years later claimed his 19th career victory there.
 
Kidney stones prevented Love from defending his title last year, and eventual rookie of the year Brandt Snedeker shot a 63 during his final round to claim his first Tour victory.
 
It was very instrumental in my development as a player, Snedeker said. It helped me get over that hump of playing with the top tier players on tour and really feeling like I belong out here. Its hard for a rookie to find unless you do it.
 

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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.