Streelman, LeBrun, Hoffman share RBC Heritage lead

By Associated PressApril 19, 2013, 11:04 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Kevin Streelman looks ready to make contending at PGA Tour events a habit, while Brandt Snedeker was poised for an early exit at the RBC Heritage in the rain-delayed second round Friday.

Streelman, who won his first Tour title last month at the Tampa Bay Championship, shot a 1-under 70 before the wind picked up at Harbour Town Golf Links. He was tied at 6 under with Charley Hoffman and 34-year-old rookie Steve LeBrun.

Hoffman, like Streelman, followed an opening 66 with a 70. LeBrun shot his second straight 68.

Luke Donald and Bill Haas were a stroke back. Donald had a 68, and Haas shot 69.

The biggest surprise was Snedeker, at No. 5, the highest-ranked player in the field. Days after leading the Masters on Sunday before faltering, the 2011 Harbour Town winner opened with a 73 and had a 71 Friday to finish at 2 over – one over the projected cut line.


Highlights: Three-way tie through 36 in Harbour Town

Round 2 at a glance

RBC Heritage: Articles, videos and photos


Seventeen players were unable to finish. The rain was forecast to continue overnight before the front moves out to sea and brings cooler temperatures – but no rain.

Streelman had three birdies in his first four holes. He added a final birdie on the par-5 15th and parred out to move on top and put himself in contention on the tricky, narrow fairways and small greens of Harbour Town.

Streelman's life hasn't changed much since the victory in Tampa Bay, just his approach to the game.

''I do feel a bit freer to be in the position I am, say, in a week like this,'' he said. ''Because I'm not worried about a top 10 or a top 5 or keep your card. And I can just go out and try and win a golf tournament.''

The attitude worked for Streelman at the RBC Heritage, where his best showing in four previous appearances was a tie for 17th last year. Streelman's turnaround began before the Tampa Bay victory when he decided it was better to think long term instead of over-emphasizing the past week's tournament successes or failures.

''If I play well on the weekend, great. If I don't play well, great,'' he continued. ''I know I'm doing the right things from my practice and workout and for a lifestyle situation for the long term with my career.''

Hoffman, seeking his third PGA Tour career victory and first since 2010, closed with birdies on his final two holes, the eighth and the ninth, to catch Streelman.

''It feels good to get the blood flowing a little bit and have a chance on Sunday,'' he said. ''Obviously, would like to make a bunch of birdies and pull away, but it usually doesn't happen out here.''

After graduating from Florida Atlantic in 2000, LeBrun played golf's mini tours and Triple-A circuits until earning his PGA Tour card at qualifying school last fall. It has taken time, he said, to adjust to the harder courses and uptick in competition. LeBrun's missed the cuts in five of his eight events on Tour this year and hasn't finished higher than 24th at the Puerto Rico Open last month.

''It feels good,'' he said. ''It's one of those things I always knew I had the game to be out here and I plan on being in this position a lot of times,'' he said.

The RBC Heritage featured 14 of the world's top 29 in the field, including three in the top 10 in Snedeker, Donald (No. 6) and Matt Kuchar (No. 9) during a week that's generally a time for the game's best to decompress after the Masters. Several, like Masters champ Adam Scott and world Nos. 1 and 2 in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, are doing just that.

Windier conditions late in the round kept opening-round leaders from going lower. Brian Davis, who led with a first-round 65, was 5 over on his first nine holes Friday to fall back with a 75.

Masters contender Jason Day also couldn't capitalize after a strong 4-under start Thursday. Day, tied for third at the Masters, had three bogeys on his first 10 holes on the way to a 73.

U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson shot even par to stay three shots behind at 3 under. Marc Leishman, who tied for fourth at Augusta National, had his troubles, too – he sailed an approach shot on No. 9 that struck a woman in the grandstands – yet recovered for a 71 and remained two shots behind.

DIVOTS: James Driscoll had three birdies in a round of 70, meaning he'll donate $7,000 to the Boston One Fund for victims of Monday's marathon explosions. Driscoll had four birdies Thursday. He will continue his ''Birdies for Boston'' effort, pledging $1,000 for each birdie he makes, at the Zurich Open of New Orleans next week. ... John Daly followed a first-round 71 with an 81 Friday and will miss the cut at 10-over 152. ... British Open champion Ernie Els also is on the way out after consecutive 73s. ... Boeing's 747-8 aircraft made a low pass alongside Harbour Town Golf Links' closing, lighthouse hole midway through the second round. It's the second straight year the presenting sponsor had one of its airplanes fly over.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.