Thompson, Mi Hyang Lee tied at Evian Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2015, 6:35 pm

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France – Lexi Thompson picked up five shots in four holes in a 5-under 66 to claim a share of the lead with Mi Hyang Lee in the opening round of the Evian Championship on Thursday.

The American made a superb start to the final major of the season at the picturesque resort above Lake Geneva, then managed to stay bogey-free.

Thompson, who was given an early morning start on the back nine in perfect weather conditions, was the sole leader for most of the day until Lee made up for two bogeys with seven birdies to tie for first place.

Thompson's run started when she birdied the 12th hole. Paired with Sandra Gal and former Evian champion Paula Creamer, she hit a 7-iron to 20 feet and sank an eagle putt on the 13th, and birdied Nos. 14 and 15.

Her day was capped by a remarkable bunker shot on her final hole.

''Ended up trying to go for the green, came up short in a bunker that was about 40 yards away, and chipped it short and had about 15-footer for par,'' she said.

She and the up-and-coming South Korean Lee have a one-shot lead over a group of three players: Former U.S. Open champion Eun-Hee Ji, Gerina Piller of the U.S., and Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand.


Evian Championship: Articles, photos and videos


The 20-year-old Thomson has won a major before, the Kraft Nabisco last year, but she went through a one-year drought before winning the Meijer Classic in July. She has three top-10 finishes in her last five starts.

Looking to complete a career Grand Slam, top-ranked Inbee Park could not find the accuracy that characterized her recent majors, and had to be content with an opening round of 1-over par. Park, who claimed the Women's British Open last month to become the seventh female to win four different majors, won the Evian in 2012, a year before the U.S. LPGA Tour made it the fifth and final major on its calendar.

Paired with No. 2 Lydia Ko and No. 3 Stacy Lewis, Park bogeyed four holes to finish the day one shot ahead of Lewis, who carded a 2-over 73.

Ko was the best of the elite trio, shooting a 2-under 69. She's bidding to become the youngest major champion this weekend.

Ko said she was impressed by Thompson.

''I saw her score. I kind of realized it was going pretty low, especially at the start of the round and she was only a couple of groups in front of us,'' she said. ''I was on the par-3, 14th or something, and that was only her fifth hole of the day. And I saw her to my left, and it showed her scorecard. I saw some birdies, some eagles, so that's a pretty consistent scorecard there.''

Michelle Wie's opening round was not as flamboyant as her aviator shades, new high-top pink shoes, and multicolored hair, as the 2014 U.S. Open winner headed into the clubhouse posting 75.

Although Wie and Paula Creamer (74) endured a bad day, Thompson's and Piller's bright openings were good news for the U.S. team for the Solheim Cup next week in St. Leon-Rot, Germany.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.''

Getty Images

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. 

Getty Images

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.