S.Y. Kim, I.K. Kim share lead; Creamer four back

By Associated PressApril 17, 2015, 4:15 am

KAPOLEI, Hawaii - Sei Young Kim rode the wind and some major inspiration into a share of the lead Thursday in the second round of the Lotte Championship.

Kim shot her second straight 5-under 67 at breezy Ko Olina to catch first-round leader I.K. Kim at 10 under.

Sei Young Kim, the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic winner in February in her second start as an LPGA member, began the round two strokes back. She bogeyed the opening hole, then rallied with four birdies before the turn and added three straight on her second nine.

Part of the 22-year-old's motivation this week is what happened two weeks ago at the first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration in California. Kim took a three-shot advantage into the final round, but shot a 75 on Sunday and finished fourth.

"My win will certainly help me," she said, referring to her victory in the Bahamas, "but I think what will motivate me better was the fact that I didn't win. That's really motivating me this week and that is going to get me to play better."

Inbee Park, who ended the last two years ranked No. 1 in the world, was three strokes back after a 70.

Six of the top seven players are from South Korea. The exception is Paula Creamer. The American has won twice in Hawaii, including the 2008 Fields Open at Ko Olina.

"I love playing on these types of golf courses," Creamer said. "Just the wind, the conditions. Your misses are exaggerated so much when you play in this kind of weather. Being a good ball-striker is incredibly important and that's something that I've always felt was one of my strengths. For me, I like this. The windier it gets the better."

A bogey on the final hole gave Creamer a 69 and a share of fourth at 6 under with Chella Choi (68) and Jenny Shin (70).

I.K. Kim is going after her fourth LPGA title, but first since 2010. She had just a pair of top-10 finishes last year, but a week off after the ANA Inspiration, and the warm wind and familiar food of Hawaii, have helped her this week - along with an improved putting stroke.

"After ANA, I spent a lot of time on the putting green," I.K. Kim said. "I felt like I was hitting the ball really well, having a lot of opportunities, but putting was letting me down a little bit.

"I also went to Las Vegas, so putting and a little bit of fun and then here ... I think that was kind of a good balance."

Defending champion Michelle Wie was tied for eighth at 5 under with Japan's Ai Miyazato and Haru Nomura. Wie, playing at home, shot a 69 that included an eagle from 117 yards out on the par-4 15th hole, followed by what she called a "nerdy" dance.

"I kind of saw it roll over the hill and I was like, `Oh, OK, it's disappearing,'" Wie recalled. "Then everyone went crazy. It was pretty fun."

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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.