Fowler rallies, clips Stenson to win Deutsche Bank

By Doug FergusonSeptember 7, 2015, 11:52 pm

NORTON, Mass. – One big putt for Rickie Fowler. One big mistake for Henrik Stenson.

That turned out to be the difference Monday when Fowler rallied from a two-shot deficit with five holes to play, making a 38-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole and playing flawless the rest of the way for a 3-under 68 and a one-shot victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Fowler won for the third time this year and moved to No. 5 in the world, not quite in the conversation for the new ''Big Three'' but perhaps on the cusp of it. The victory assures he will be among the top five players in the FedEx Cup that has a clear shot at the $10 million prize in the Tour Championship.

''It's pretty special to fight it out like that,'' Fowler said.

Stenson was a runner-up in a FedEx Cup Playoff event for the second straight week, and this one figures to sting.

He grabbed a three-shot lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 10th, and after a two-shot swing in Fowler's favor at No. 11, the Swede drilled a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 12 to restore his lead to two shots.

Stenson never trailed until his tee shot on the par-3 16th came up short, bounced off the front of the green and down into the rocks and the water. That led to a double bogey, and Fowler never gave him a chance to catch up.


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Stenson had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a tie, but it slid by on the right and he closed with a 70. Fowler two-putted for par from 10 feet.

''I obviously pulled the wrong club on 16 and was trying to get the most out of a 7-iron into the wind and ballooned that one a little bit and that was the crucial mistake. Making double there was really a killer,'' Stenson said. ''I tried to get those two shots back or at least one to force a playoff on the last two holes and couldn't manage to do it.''

The final hour was every bit as tense as The Players Championship in May, except instead of five players having a chance to win, this was a duel with Stenson the entire back nine. Fowler didn't make any birdies after his long putt on the 14th, but he didn't have to. Where he thrived was off the tee and his iron play into the greens. Swinging freely, he was never really out of position until he went just long of the green on the par-5 closing hole with his second shot.

He played it safe with a putter to 10 feet, putting pressure on Stenson to the very end.

Fowler finished at 15-under 269 and moved to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup behind Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, with Stenson at No. 4 and Bubba Watson at No. 5.

Charley Hoffman bounced back from a 76 to close with a 67 and finish alone in third.

One of the loudest cheers was for a player who had no chance to win. William McGirt was on the verge of being eliminated from the FedEx Cup when he holed a 7-iron from the fairway on No. 17 for eagle. A par on the 18th hole allowed him to sneak into the top 70 and advance to the third playoff event north of Chicago in two weeks.

Hunter Mahan kept his streak going by closing with a 70 to tie for fourth, moving him from No. 91 to No. 52. Mahan is the only player who has never missed a FedEx Cup playoff event since this series began in 2007. Jerry Kelly made birdie on the last hole for a 72 to narrow get into the top 70. Keegan Bradley also got in.

Two other players imploded on the back nine to end their season.

Kevin Streelman appeared to be safe until he shot 42 on the back nine for a 77. He was at No. 65 and dropped to No. 75. Carlos Ortiz of Mexico had four straight birdies and was making a late bid for Chicago until he took triple bogey on No. 9 and then shot 41 on the back nine for a 71.

There were no changes to the Presidents Cup, though Matt Jones of Australia squandered a great chance. He only needed third place to make the International team, but he made two double bogeys in three holes to start the back nine and finished in a five-way tie for fourth.

Stenson now has been runner-up four times this year without winning, and this was every bit as good a chance to win as Bay Hill.

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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.