Wie Annika Share 54-Hole Lead

By Associated PressJuly 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 U.S. Womens OpenNEWPORT, R.I. -- Michelle Wie's 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole hung on the edge of the cup and kept her from the outright lead Sunday in the U.S. Women's Open. Instead, she will be in a three-way tie going into the final round for the second straight year, this time under tougher circumstances.
She was tied with Annika Sorenstam, the No. 1 player in women's golf, and big-hitting Brittany Lincicome.
And the leaders had no more than 25 minutes to grab lunch before heading out for another 18 holes at Newport Country Club, where they were dealing with wind gusts up to 20 mph and the pressure of trying to capture the biggest prize in women's golf.
Lincicome, the first-round leader at The Orchards two years ago, had the best score of the third round at 2-under 69, one of only three players who broke par.
Wie, the 16-year-old from Hawaii with another chance to become the youngest major champion in golf history, traded two birdies with two bogeys, but kept her round together with key par saves along the way and shot 71.
A year ago, Wie was tied for the lead with Morgan Pressel and Karen Stupples until getting stuck in the rough and missing short putts, collapsing to an 82. In the first two majors this year, she finished one shot out of a playoff at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and two shots out of the playoff at the LPGA Championship.
Sorenstam also was poised to capture the U.S. Women's Open for the third time, ending a 10-year drought in the major. She got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 first hole, but that was her only birdie. She dropped three more shots along the way, and threw her head back in disbelief when a 25-foot birdie on the 18th turned away.
They were at even-par 213, and at this rate, the winning score looked as though it would be over par for the second straight year.
It was the first 36-hole final at the U.S. Women's Open since 1990, brought on by fog that wiped out play Thursday.
The loudest cheers on a warm, sunny morning along the Atlantic were for Juli Inkster, the 46-year-old matriarch of this championship. Inkster won in 1999 and 2002, the latter memorable for her taking down Sorenstam in the final round at Prairie Dunes.
Inkster was among five players who had at least a share of the lead at one point in the third round, getting through the front nine in even par before hitting her stride. She holed a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 10, missed from 5 feet on the 12th, then joined the leaders with a chip-in for birdie from about 25 feet behind the 15th green.
But her tee shot on the par-3 17th skidded off a mound and into a bunker, and she missed a 6-foot par putt. Then she missed the fairway on the 18th, had to lay up, missed the green and had to hole a 6-foot putt to escape with bogey. Despite the back-to-back bogeys to end her round at 71, Inkster was one shot behind at 214, along with Stacy Prammanasudh, who birdied the 18th for a 71.
Pat Hurst was tied with Sorenstam to start the third round and among the five players atop the leaderboard until a bogey-bogey finish dropped her to a 75. She was still two shots behind at 215.
Sophie Gustafson, who got married two weeks ago to former LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw, shot 71 as she continued her strong affection for Newport. It is a links-styled golf course, and the tall Swede, one of the longest hitters in the women's game, has had great success on the links of the Women's British Open.
Among those still in the hunt were LPGA Championship winner Se Ri Pak. She struggled to a 74, but with 18 holes remaining, was only four shots behind. Pak kept it together on the back nine with an unlikely par save from deep rough and the bunker at No. 12, then recovering from bogeys with birdies, including a 10-footer on the last hole.
Wie holed birdie putts from 6 feet on the second hole and from 10 feet on the eighth, while three-putting from 20 feet at the par-3 fourth and failing to save par from the bunker right of the par-3 13th green. But she stayed near or in the lead by getting up-and-down from in front of the ninth green, and hitting a short-sided bunker shot at No. 12 that barely climbed out of the trap, skidded through the rough and onto the green to 3 feet.
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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.