Spain sizzles US six back at World Cup

By Associated PressNovember 28, 2008, 5:00 pm
Omega Mission Hills World CupSHENZHEN, China ' Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal lifted Spain into a four-shot lead at the World Cup, shooting a surprising 9-under 63 on Friday in the difficult foursomes format.
Spain has shot a 17-under 127 through 36 holes. Australia (68) and Germany (69) were in second place behind Spain, which opened on Thursday with a 64 playing the easier fourball (best-ball) format.
Sweden (67), was five back, and the United States (69) and Ireland (68) were six off the pace.
The sensational round should give the Spanish a strong chance to win the event, which usually goes to the team that plays best in foursomes, where scores are typically higher. Saturday returns to fourball with foursomes on Sunday.
Thats a great round for foursomes, but tomorrow will be another day, said 25-year-old Larrazabal, the 2008 European Tour rookie of the year.
The Spanish picked up seven strokes on the front nine with five birdies and an eagle. They were 8-under after 10 holes and 9-under after 11. Jimenez had the hot hand early, making a 15-foot birdie on No. 2, and a 17-footer for eagle on No. 3.
I mean, great start, Larrazabal said.
Spain dropped its first shot on 15, falling back to 8 under for the day.
However, the Spanish recovered on 16, moving back to 9 under when Larrazabal dropped a 40-foot birdie putt. On 18, Larrazabal missed an 8-foot putt for birdie which would have brought Spain to 10 under.
The record in foursomes in the World Cup is 10-under 61 by Argentina in 2005.
Jimenez and Larrazabal seemed relaxed throughout the round, with Jimenez at times smoking his trademark cigar.
Foursomes, you know ' its the kind of thing that is very sensitive, Jimenez said. You need to be nice and not competitive with you partner. That is what happened today. He hit it very nice from the tee, I put it in close and he holed the putt and vice versa.
Spain has won the event four times, twice in 1976 and 77 with Seve Ballesteros. Spain last won in 1984 with Jose Maria Canizares and Jose Rivero.
Its been a great year for Spain. Its football team won the European championship and in tennis Spain just won the Davis Cup ' without the worlds No. 1 player Rafael Nadal.
In the World Cup, Spain is playing without No. 2-ranked Sergio Garcia, who elected not to play.
The German team of Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka ' leaders at 10 under after the first round ' managed a 69 with three birdies on the back nine.
We were just trying to survive today and not to lose too much ground, Cejka said.
It was the same for Australians Richard Green and Brendan Jones.
It was a tough game today, Green said. Foursomes is not the easiest to play.
That made Spains round even more impressive.
The Spanish team today was just amazing, Jones said. It is hard to keep your swing in check because you are only swinging every second shot. So sometimes you putt, putt, putt, putt.
Americans Ben Curtis and Brandt Snedeker got themselves back in the tournament with birdies on the last four holes.
It was a great way to finish, otherwise it could have been an ugly day and it wasnt, Snedeker said. We have a chance going into the weekend.
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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.