Thompson 12 Will Play on Saturday

By Associated PressJune 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. WomenSOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- Alexis Thompson made it to the weekend at the U.S. Women's Open, but not exactly in the way she wanted to.
The 12-year-old Thompson -- the youngest player in history to qualify for the Open -- had a round cut short because of severe weather for the second straight day Friday at 12-over 134 through 31 holes.
Once second-round play resumes Saturday, the soon-to-be seventh grader probably will conclude her history-making summer vacation to Pine Needles by missing the cut.
'Knowing that I'm not making the cut, like you're going to be here Saturday and you made the cut, but it's (still) pretty cool, being here another day,' Thompson said.
Still, Thompson -- who before this week had never even attended, much less played in, an LPGA-level tournament -- realized a lifelong dream by qualifying for the Women's Open, meeting Annika Sorenstam and supplanting Morgan Pressel as the youngest golfer to play her way onto her sport's grandest stage.
'It's been great, and she's had a lot of fun, too,' said her father, Scott Thompson, who also is her caddie.
Her second round was suspended while she was in the 14th fairway, 200 yards from the pin. That's where things will pick up again at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
'We'll come out and battle our 4 1/2 holes and finish up, and see what happens from there,' Scott Thompson said.
She closed her first trip around the track by chipping in for birdie from 40 yards on the par-4 ninth -- her second birdie of the round -- to finish with a 5-over 76 that was one stroke better than Pressel's 77 when she was a 13-year-old debutante in 2001.
Things got much tougher later on for the preteen from Coral Springs, Fla. -- perhaps because she started feeling the effects of trouble sleeping the night before.
'I don't know why I couldn't sleep, but once I was woken up, I'm like, 'OK, let's go,'' she said. 'I'm sick and tired of being in this bed rolling over.'
The consistently straight, authoritative drives that highlighted her opening nine holes were nowhere to be found Friday. She had five bogeys on the front nine, bogeyed the 11th and 12th holes and made par on the 13th when play was delayed because of thunder and lightning while she stood in the 14th fairway.
'I think my kid might be worn out,' Scott Thompson said. 'We played a rough (23) holes today. It just was not good.'
In all, it was a significantly more challenging trip for Thompson around the difficult Donald Ross course than the day before, when the youngster with the braided ponytail, pink visor and omnipresent smile kept the ball in the fairway, overcame some early jitters and a 3 1/2 -hour weather delay, and was at 3-over 39 through nine holes when play stopped because of darkness.
'It was unbelievable -- I just wanted to be done, just par in or make a couple birdies,' Thompson said.
Then again, that was a theme for everyone -- only seven players were below par when play was halted, and none had begun their second round before the stoppage.
'By some of the scores, it looked like it played tougher today,' Scott Thompson said. 'I didn't really see it as playing tougher -- we just played worse.'
The youngest Thompson had as much time to perfect her pool and pingpong games at Pine Needles as she did her golf swing -- she spent the opening day's weather delay in the clubhouse playing table tennis and billiards with some new friends and, generally, being a 12-year-old.
A pair of delays on Day 2 combined to total 2 hours, 41 minutes, giving her more time to perfect those pastimes.
Of course, she insisted she preferred to play with putters and irons and not paddles and cues.
'It's over with now,' she said. 'But there's still tomorrow.'
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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.