Moreno leads by one on shortened course

By Doug FergusonMay 25, 2013, 2:13 pm

PARADISE ISLANDS, Bahamas – Paola Moreno and Lindsey Wright took the same, simple approach on the winding road through the Ocean Club in the Bahamas LPGA Classic.

They didn't care that the makeshift course was only 12 holes because of flooding. They didn't pay attention to a routing that had them going from the back nine to the front nine and then repeating the process. And it didn't bother them that they played only 24 holes in two days.

''It's different,'' Moreno said Saturday. ''I'm not going to say it's usual. But I can't control the holes that they want us to play. The only thing that I really want to do is put myself out there and bring the best attitude and my 'A' game, hopefully.''

That's worked beautifully so far for the Colombian.

Moreno kept bogeys off her jumbled scorecard for the second straight day for a 4-under 41, giving her a one-shot lead over Wright going into the final, 12-hole round.


Video: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic highlights


Wright, who played earlier Saturday, had seven birdies for a 7-under 38.

''I am just focused on what I can control right now,'' said Moreno, who was at 9-under 81. ''The only thing that matters right now is the first tee shot on No. 1 – or No. 10, whatever hole we're playing tomorrow. And I'm just excited to be there.''

Cristie Kerr did enough to at least get in range. She was among 10 players within three shots of the lead, though they have six fewer holes to make up ground.

Because of severe flooding earlier in the week on the Ocean Club, the LPGA is using the holes available. In this case, it's a 12-hole course that starts on the back nine at No. 10, jumps over to the front nine for four holes that are out of order, heads over to a stretch on the back nine and finishes along the ocean at No. 8.

The final round now goes from a par 45 to a par 47.

The par-5 18th hole is in good enough shape to be playing as the closing hole, giving this inaugural event at least some semblance of normality. It will replace No. 4, which also is a par 5 but has been played as a par 3 because of a bunker caved in by the rain.

The best thing Moreno achieved on a sun-filled Saturday – at least as far as the tournament was concerned – was finishing.

It was critical for all the players to finish two rounds (24 holes) going into the final round or it would have been unlikely to complete 36 holes by Sunday to make this official. The LPGA Tour was determined to play an official event for Pure Silk and the Bahamas Tourism Ministry, the two title sponsors of this new tournament.

Stacy Lewis, the No. 2 player, was trying to get close to the leaders and isn't sure she did enough. Two late birdies gave her a 3-under 42, though she was five shots behind. That feels like a larger deficit given the shortened course.

''It's strange,'' Lewis said. ''By the time you get into a rhythm, the round is over. You can make a lot of birdies. You just have to get off to a good start.''

Wright had the kind of round that Lewis and so many others could use on Sunday.

The Australian didn't realize she finished her round with six straight 3s on her scorecard. She could name the holes where she made her seven birdies until calling her caddie over for help. She just knows she played some pretty good golf.

''I didn't know what was going on,'' Wright said. ''I just play. That's probably how we should do it all the time.''

Inbee Park played a game that didn't resemble the No. 1 player in the world, at least not the closing holes. She played the last four holes in 8 over.

It started when she was left of the 14th green (the ninth hole) when she went to play a chip and her caddie realized he left the club on an adjacent par 3. She barely reached the green and made bogey. Then, she fanned her tee shot on the par-3 second (No. 10) some 30 yards right of the green. It really turned ugly on the next par 3, with a lake that should not have come into play with a back pin. Park hit 4-iron twice into the water, coming up some 40 yards short of the flag. She finally made quintuple-bogey 8.

Park finished with a fairway metal that she snap-hooked into the ocean.

The Ocean Club appears to have nearly recovered, though a few holes aren't suitable to play. And because there is no cut this week – the LPGA Tour felt that would be unfair after only 24 holes – the decision was to keep it at 12 holes to make sure everyone finished.

Going to Monday wasn't an option because several players have U.S Women's Open qualifying early next week.

''Look, the way I see it, it's the same for everyone,'' Wright said. ''There's always complaining. You just can't have a tournament without that. I think it's a shame, because the course on Monday, Tuesday, it was brilliant. It's a shame we're playing 12 holes, but I think for the Bahamas and for Pure Silk, it's the right thing to do. We're here to play golf. We're not here to party. Do that early on in the week.''

Kerr is coming off a win two weeks ago in Kingsmill and hopes to keep the momentum going as the tour heads into a big part of the season. There are three majors in the next few months, capped by a return to St. Andrews.

''It feels like a shootout,'' Kerr said. ''We only have 12 holes every day, and you've got to go as low as you can. I did my job today.''


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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.