Singh, Snedeker among five Sony Open leaders

By Doug FergusonJanuary 15, 2016, 4:01 am

HONOLULU - Vijay Singh had his best opening round in more than three years, good enough for a five-way share of the lead Thursday in the Sony Open.

And it was just enough to beat players in his own age group.

Singh, who turns 53 next month and could be the oldest PGA Tour winner in history with a victory at Waialae, narrowly missed an 8-foot eagle putt on his final hole and still posted his best score in 19 years playing the Sony Open.

Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Kisner caught him in the afternoon. Snedeker holed out a long chip for eagle on the short par-4 10th and made two birdies late on the back nine. Kisner got up and down from a bunker for a birdie on the par-5 18th.

Ricky Barnes, winless in 205 starts on the PGA Tour as a pro, and Morgan Hoffmann also shot 63 in the morning.

Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III and Si Woo Kim were one shot out of the lead.

Even so, it was difficult to ignore the performance of the seniors in the opening round.

Fred Funk, who turns 60 this summer, made a late bid for the lead until a bogey on the 16th hole. He wound up with a 65. Davis Love III, who won the Wyndham Champion last August at age 51, birdied the last hole for a 66.


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Singh, Funk and Love are sticking around next week for the Champions Tour season opener on the Big Island. It will be three straight weeks in paradise for Love, who opened his new year on Kapalua in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Jerry Kelly is nearly in that group at age 49. He shot 65 in the morning and saw Funk headed to the first tee in the afternoon.

''He says, 'Hey, for the old guys, play good.' I go, 'What did you shoot?' He said 5 [under],'' Funk said.

Kelly told him that was two shots behind Singh.

''Yeah, the old guys are showing they can do it,'' Funk said.

So can the younger set.

Snedeker started his year at Kapalua with a new golf ball and a new driver, found something in his setup over the weekend and closed with 65-67 to tie for third. Kisner played in the final group on Saturday, found a slight glitch in his swing caused by wind and figured it out over the last two days.

Kisner won the final PGA Tour event of 2015 and finished ninth at Kapalua despite his 71-71 weekend. And he's right back in the mix.

''I really didn't work on much on offseason,'' Kisner said. ''We stayed with our plan, and the game has been great. I was striping it today, and that's what you need to do at this place.''

Snedeker wouldn't know. He hasn't been to Waialae in eight years and left with a bad taste in his mouth. That was in 2008, when the PGA Tour started a policy that when more than 78 players made the cut, the cut would be closest number of players to 70. It later was changed to a Saturday cut to help trim the field.

''I'm glad I came back,'' he said. ''It's a good golf course for me.''

Singh won the Sony Open in 2005 when he was No. 1 in the world, a year after the former Masters and PGA champion turned in a nine-win season on the PGA Tour. But he hasn't won since the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2008, which effectively wrapped up the FedEx Cup.

The big Fijian has been around long enough to realize that a good start is nothing more than that.

View galleryVijay Singh tied for early lead at Waialae

Kevin Kisner reacts to his birdie putt on the sixth green during the first round of the Sony Open go …

''I've been playing really well,'' he said. ''I just haven't produced the scores. I feel I'm playing well, and see what the next three days bring.''

It helped to hole some long putts, and Singh knocked in a 50-footer for birdie on his third hole. He added a pair of 20-foot birdie putts and a 30-foot birdie putt. More than a good day on the greens, and some solid scrambling at the start, was a book.

He said his body feels better than it has in years, which certainly helps. But he found a book that he has carried with him for the last 20 years that he began reading.

''I haven't read it for the last 10 years,'' he said. ''So I picked it up yesterday and started reading a few things that I've been doing, and it's just a different mindset. Golf swing has been the same (so) become a lot more aggressive this year. That's the plan, to attack the golf course instead of just trying to put it in the fairway and trying to make a good swing.''

The name of the book?

''I can't tell you,'' he said. ''I'd have to kill you.''

Yes, he laughed.

Jimmy Walker opened with a 69 in his bid to win the Sony Open for the third straight year.

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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.