Weekley On the Verge of a Repeat

By Associated PressApril 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD, S.C. -- Defending champion Boo Weekley continued his remarkable run at Harbour Town Golf Links, using a stretch of five straight birdies to move in front Saturday in the Verizon Heritage.
 
Weekley shot a 6-under 65 to reach 15 under and move three strokes ahead of Anthony Kim (67) and five in front of Aaron Baddeley (67), Jason Bohn (67) and Cliff Kresge (68). Second-round leader Lucas Glover shot a 73 to drop seven shots back.
 
Weekley chipped in on the 71st and 72nd holes a year ago to beat Ernie Els for his first PGA TOUR victory. The good-natured, self-proclaimed country boy from the Florida Panhandle hasnt slowed down in his return.
 
No ones had a better start than Weekley at Pete Dyes menacing masterpiece of tight fairways, smallish greens and railroad ties.
 
Weekleys got a sting of seven straight rounds in the 60s. That tied Greg Norman for second all-time at Harbour Town behind Nick Prices nine in a row.
 
Those major champions had made several Harbour Town starts before their streaks began. Weekley hadnt teed it up here until last year.
 
Weekley started the day a stroke behind Glover. Weekley fell two back after finding the sand on the par-5 second hole and settling for par while Glover made birdie.
 
Then Weekleys run began with'what else?'a chip in on the par-3 fourth.
 
A two-putt birdie on the par-5 fifth followed. Weekley stuck his approach on the next hole to 7 feet for a third straight birdie and a tie with Glover.
 
Weekley moved in front on the seventh with a 10-foot birdie putt.
 
When Weekley rolled home a 20-footer on the eighth, he was two shots in front.
 
Weekley pumped his fist and pointed as the fans chanted Boooo! Boooo!
 
The streak ended on the ninth when Weekley saved par out of the sand.
 
He stretched his lead to three shots with a birdie on the 12th hole.
 
Weekleys lone boo-boo came four holes later, his approach to No. 16 skidding off the green and near the 17th tee to lead to bogey. He made it back on the closing, lighthouse hole, rolling in a 6-footer for a three-shot edge.
 
Kim, a second-year pro seeking his first PGA TOUR win, was the only one who kept pace with Weekley. Starting two shots off the lead, Kim made eagle on the second and stayed close with two birdies on the front.
 
The 22-year-old nearly saw it fall apart, dunking his tee shot on the 10th hole into the water. But he chipped in to save par.
 
Kim also saved par from off the green on the 18th to remain two shots behind.
 
Does anyone have chance of halting Weekleys run?
 
Its going to depend on him, really, said Baddeley, the 2006 Verizon Heritage winner.
 
Weekley swore a year ago as he sat with the champions plaid jacket he wouldnt change because of success. He was true to his word.
 
Weekley charmed the galleries again with his folksy, good ol golfer outlook.
 
He teed it up with his mother, Patsy, in Wednesdays pro-am, then got angry, he says, when she outdrove him on the first hole.
 
He took time during the second round to smooth a bunker on the 16th hole. I aint too good to rake a bunker, Weekley said simply.
 
When asked where his garish checked winners coat was, he smiled and said it was packed up in his mamas car after he wore it to march around the lagoon, Weekleys description of the tournaments opening ceremonies.
 
He chewed tobacco during his round. As he approached the 18th tee, Weekley told a little girl who wanted a golf ball, Let me hit it and Ill bring one back.
 
Weekley delivered on his promise, as he has the past two years at Harbour Town.
 
Divots
Jim Furyk, at No. 9 in the world the highest ranked golfer left here, shot a 68 and was five shots behind at 9-under. Five-time Verizon Heritage winner Davis Love III shot a 69, his 43rd career sub-70 round. He first played here in 1986. Of the 37 golfers who played the Masters last week and then came here, 26 made the cut.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Verizon Heritage
  • Leaderboard
     
  • 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.