Welshman, world No. 1,528, leads Wales Open

By Associated PressAugust 30, 2013, 9:11 pm

NEWPORT, Wales – Unheralded Welshman Liam Bond is making the most of a late call-up to his national event, shooting a 3-under 68 Friday to take a one-shot lead after the second round of the Wales Open.

Bond, who is ranked No. 1,528, was invited to play Wednesday after receiving a call from the European Tour during a round with his 7-year-old daughter on a local course.

After opening with a first-round 69, he made five birdies on Friday to move to 5-under 137 at Celtic Manor, the 2010 Ryder Cup host.

''My daughter and I were rooting for balls on my home golf course just up the road from Celtic Manor when the Tour phoned me saying do you fancy playing in the Wales Open,'' Bond said. ''I told (them) I would snap their hand off to play here, and the good thing is Celtic Manor's only 10 minutes from my house.

''So it won't be long before I'm home and putting the slippers on and enjoying a nice cup of tea.''

First-round leader Espen Kofstad of Norway managed a 74 and finished tied with Tjaart van der Walt of South Africa (71), one shot behind the leader.

Five players, including American Peter Uihlein (70) and Ireland's Paul McGinley (69), were another shot back in a tie for fourth.

McGinley, the European Ryder Cup captain, is looking to capture a first victory in nearly eight years.

''I played well today and found the wind a real challenge, but then I enjoyed that,'' McGinley said. ''Also, I played well here last year. But then I learned so much from watching the Ryder Cup players when we were here in 2010.''

Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee kept alive his hopes of making the Presidents Cup team despite shooting a 74, which was enough to make the cut at 3 over.

The Thai golfer needs to play all four rounds to give himself a chance of breaking back into the top 10 on the International Team's Presidents Cup standings. He's 12th on the list.

The Presidents Cup starts Oct. 3 in Dublin, Ohio.

A back injury forced Scotland's Stephen Gallacher out of the event after just three holes of his second round, less than a week after losing out in a playoff in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Gallacher had injured his back washing the family car before the Gleneagles event.

Shortly after he pulled out, Gallacher learned that his uncle Bernard Gallacher, the former Ryder Cup captain, was hospitalized in serious condition.

''I understand that he is critical but stable,'' Stephen Gallacher said in a statement. ''My family is in disarray at the moment and it is obviously a worrying situation. We are all anxious.''

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.