Weir Ends Long Winless Drought

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 FrySCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mike Weir outdueled Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup three weeks ago at Royal Montreal, reaffirming his status as a Canadian icon.
 
That emotional victory paid dividends Sunday, when Weir shot a 2-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Australia's Mark Hensby in the Fry's Electronics Open.
 
'It maybe got me over the hump as far as confidence that when it really hits the fan, I can get it done,' Weir said.
 
Weir got it done on a warm, blustery day at Grayhawk Golf Club. Wind gusted up to 25 mph, turning the 7,125-yard Raptor Course into an adventure. Only 12 players broke par on Sunday, 22 fewer than Saturday, when calm conditions prevailed.
 
Weir finished at 14-under 266 for his eighth PGA TOUR victory, and first since the 2004 Nissan Open, a span of 87 starts.
 
'Definitely been tough not winning,' said Weir, who earned $900,000 to jump from 84th to 33rd on the money list at $1,986,053. 'You know, that's what we're all out here to do, and 3 1/2 years has been quite a long time.'
 
Weir secured his long-awaited victory with a 6-foot par putt after hitting his approach on the par-4 18th into a greenside bunker.
 
'It was gusting across there,' he said. 'It's pretty open on that green, and my pant legs were whipping pretty good there when I hit that putt. I just told myself to keep my head nice and steady and just try to hit it nice and solid.'
 
Fans serenaded a grinning Weir with a rendition of 'O Canada' after he spoke to reporters.
 
The 2003 Masters champion took the lead with a birdie on the par-4 15th, rolling a chip shot to a foot, then held off Hensby over the final three holes.
 
'I think the turning point probably in the tourney was 15,' Hensby said.
 
Hensby closed with a 69. He moved up to 99th on the money list, at $969,731, assuring himself of his tour card for next season.
 
Billy Mayfair, a Scottsdale resident and Arizona State product, shot a 68 to finish third at 10 under.
 
Carl Pettersson, who led after three rounds, and Sean O'Hair tied for fourth at 9 under. Pettersson shot a 74, and O'Hair had a 69.
 
O'Hair briefly shared the lead after birdieing the 16th. But he double-bogeyed the 17th and bogeyed No. 18 to drop out of contention.
 
Pettersson opened the day with a one-stroke lead over Hensby and Weir.
 
By the second hole, they were all tied for the lead. But Pettersson dropped another stroke on the par-3 fifth hole, and fell behind by bogeying the 10th, 11th and 12th.
 
Hensby and Weir dueled the rest of the way, with no more than a shot separating them over the entire round.
 
That's where Weir's confidence, inspired by his Presidents Cup victory over the world's No. 1 golfer, came to the forefront.
 
'All of those matches were pressure-packed during the Presidents Cup, and everything about my golf swing felt great,' he said. 'So I think maybe it did solidify it a little bit, but I've always believed in what I'm doing, that's for sure.'
 
Hensby missed a chance to pull even on the par-4 17th. Weir hit his second shot on a slope to the left of the green, but Hensby's second shot also sailed past the green. Both players chipped within a few feet to save par.
 
On 18, Hensby had a chance to force a playoff when Weir hit his second shot into a greenside bunker. But Hensby's chance died when his chip shot from an embankment missed by less than a foot and Weir chipped to about 6 feet, then rolled home the winner.
 
'I've been practicing a lot of little bunker shots and made a nice adjustment in the bunker and got the ball to come out nice and soft,' Weir said. 'You know, I could not have hit it much better than that.'
 
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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.