Wiebe riding momentum into 3M lead

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2013, 1:05 am

BLAINE, Minn. – Adrenaline is about the only thing keeping Mark Wiebe going.

Playing well isn't hurting, either.

Wiebe followed his Senior British Open playoff victory with an 8-under 64 on Friday in the first round of the 3M Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin.

''Good for him,'' Perry said. ''Here he is with no sleep, running on fumes and shooting 8 under.''

Four days after beating Bernhard Langer on the fifth extra hole in a Monday finish at Royal Birkdale, Wiebe had eight birdies in a bogey-free round at the TPC Twin Cities.

He birdied five of the last seven holes on the front nine, including a 35-foot putt on the fifth hole and a birdie from off the fringe on No. 7. After each of those putts, playing partners Nick Price and Jay Haas told Wiebe to ''Keep riding that pony.''

Wiebe, who has just three top-25 finishes in 15 tour starts this year, added birdies on Nos. 12, 14 and 16. He had only 25 times at a course where his previous low score in 10 rounds was 69.

''I felt like I was reading the greens better than I have,'' Wiebe said. ''Maybe I need to be exhausted to play this golf course or to read the greens correctly.''

Not only has Wiebe had to be mentally tough on the course, he's had a tough few days of travel. Scheduled to return to the United States after the Monday finish, Wiebe was delayed when his flight was rescheduled to Tuesday. More than two hours into that trip, the plane was forced to turn around. Wiebe finally arrived in Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon and didn't get much sleep that night. He didn't sleep well Thursday night, either.

''I'm hoping that I kind of get my zip back a little bit and don't have to rely on the adrenaline, although shooting 64 in this event after never really playing well here I have new adrenaline,'' he said. ''I just want to get through Sunday. If I can just keep playing well through Sunday I can actually stop and take next week off.''

Perry is making his first start since winning the Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open in consecutive starts for his first major victories. He skipped the Senior British Open because of a family commitment.

Perry birdied the first three holes and five of the first six. He birdied three of four holes midway through his back nine to get to 8 under before three-putting the par-3 17th for a bogey.

''I got tired out there a little bit,'' he said. ''I took two weeks off and I didn't do anything. I kind of ran out of gas the last few holes and kind of lost my focus mentally. ... I didn't grind it out.''

Pavin had a bogey-free round that featured four birdies on the front nine and three on the back.

Bart Bryant, Peter Senior, Jeff Brehaut, John Riegger and Tom Pernice Jr. shot 66. Riegger eagled two of the par 5s.

Hal Sutton and Colin Montgomerie followed at 67. Montgomerie is making his fourth Champions Tour start.

Fifty-two of the 81 players broke par, with 28 players in the 60s. The winning score has been at least 15 under in each of past six years, including a record 25-under 191 by David Frost in 2010.

''This course is in fabulous shape and the greens are rolling really, really good,'' Bryant said. ''If the greens don't firm up guys are going to shoot low scores all week.''

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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.