Webb has DQ scare, but leads in Singapore

By Associated PressFebruary 27, 2014, 1:26 pm

SINGAPORE – Karrie Webb slipped up several weeks ago at the Australian Ladies Masters when she signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified. For a moment at the HSBC Women's Champions on Thursday, she thought she had made a similar mistake.

After shooting a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead in the opening round, Webb feared she may have forgotten to sign her scorecard. She rushed back into the scoring tent only to find her scorecard was just fine.

''I've just had trouble getting out of the scorer tent since then,'' she said about her mistake in Australia. ''I walked out (today) and couldn't remember if I signed my card, which it would have been too late anyway.''

Caroline Hedwall and Paula Creamer were tied for second after shooting 5-under 67, a stroke ahead of 2012 champion Angela Stanford and Teresa Lu in joint fourth.

Disqualification aside, Webb is having a strong start to the season. A week after the ill-fated Australian Ladies Masters, she won her fifth Women's Australian Open title, and 40th overall.

The 39-year-old Australian has won seven majors in her long career, but none since the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2006. Her results have been consistent, if not dominant, in recent years – she had six top-10 finishes on the LPGA last year and one win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.



''I've had a good career and I feel like I want to finish in the fashion that I started,'' she said. ''I just continue to work hard, and my working hard now is probably a little different to my working hard 20 years ago, but it's still working hard.''

Webb birdied four of her first six holes on Thursday, then sank a difficult 15-foot putt to save par on the par-4 11th hole. Her only mistake on the green was a close miss on the 12th hole when her birdie putt from 2 feet lipped out of the hole.

Creamer has also had a fast start to the year, finishing tied for third at her first two tournaments – the Bahamas LPGA Classic and the Women's Australian Open. She's played well on this course in Singapore, too, finishing in third place here last year.

The American hasn't had a win on the LPGA, though, since her breakthrough victory at the Women's U.S. Open in 2010.

''My main goal is just to be very consistent this year and a win happens by itself, you don't have to force any of that,'' she said.

World No. 1 Inbee Park, who finished runner-up to Anna Nordqvist last week at the LPGA Thailand tournament, had a 2-under 70 and was in a tie for seventh with four others.

Park, the winner of three majors last year, could lose her top ranking to Suzann Pettersen this week if the Norwegian wins the event and Park doesn't finish higher than a tie for third. Pettersen had a 1-under 71 on Thursday for equal 12th place.

''It wasn't a bad putting day, but I hit the ball great today,'' Park said. ''And I didn't get myself in big trouble so that's good.''

Sixteen-year-old Lydia Ko struggled with her putting, making just two birdies and finishing at 1-over 73, tied for 27th place with Nordqvist, Michelle Wie, former No. 1 Yani Tseng and several others.

Ko is not the youngest in the field this week. Fifteen-year-old Singaporean Amanda Tan won a qualifying tournament in January to become the youngest-ever player at the HSBC Champions. She was in last place after a 7-over 79.

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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.