Disney Golf Top 10 greatest moments
We all know Walt Disney World Resort as the premiere family vacation destination in the world, but what about the golf? If the number of professional events held at Disney is any indication, it's one of the best -- Since the early 1970s Disney courses (Magnolia, Palm, Lake Buena Vista and Osprey Ridge) have played host to more than 100 professional golf events. And from Lucas Glover’s unlikely hole-out to win in 2005, to the original “Shot in the dark” in 1993, it's been the stage for more than a few memorable moments. Here are our 10 greatest moments in Disney Golf history:
On October 20, 1996 20-year-old Tiger Woods began the final round of the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic one stroke behind four co-leaders. Riding the strength of a final-round 66 Woods emerged as the youngest champion in Classic history, and the first player in 15 years to record top-five finishes in five consecutive PGA Tour events.
Golf legend Sam Snead began the now time-honored tradition of PGA Tour players fishing on the Disney golf courses. The canals that run along No. 2 and No. 8 at the Magnolia course were among Snead’s favorite “holes”. Largemouth bass populate the water systems around these courses, and during practice rounds at the Classic there are often more fishing poles than golf clubs in players’ carts.
The Palm course joined the Classic tournament rotation in 1972, and in 1973 Jack Nicklaus set a record with his third consecutive victory in the Classic. His 13-under-par score is tied with Raymond Floyd (1986) as the highest winning score for a Classic Champion.
During the second round of the 2003 Funai Classic, Briny Baird played the back nine at the Palm first. After an eagle at No. 14, he proceeded to birdie the next seven holes – No. 15 through No. 3 – for an under-par streak of eight holes. This effort tied the PGA Tour record for a birdie-eagle streak.
The 1999 National Car Rental Golf Classic at Disney was won by Tiger Woods, but it will be forever remembered as the final PGA Tour event for the late Payne Stewart. Although he missed the cut that year, Disney no doubt held a special place in Stewart’s heart – he got through PGA Tour Q-School here, won the Classic in 1983, and has the course record on the Magnolia course (61), a score that still has not been equaled to this day.
Holes in one are usually pretty common on the PGA Tour, just not at the 3rd hole at the Palm course, which through the tournament’s first thirty years elicited no aces. At the 2004 Classic, however, Tim Clark etched his name in the history books with an ace at the165-yard par-3. He went on to finish tied for sixth.
While you might recall Tiger Woods’ “Shot in the dark” at Firestone, in which he played his final approach shot under fading sunlight to win, there actually was a PGA Tour event that finished in complete darkness. Although a rain delay caused the 1993 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic to run out of sunlight on the final day, that didn’t stop tournament officials from finishing the event as scheduled. In order to help show the final groups the way through darkness, No. 18 at Magnolia was completely illuminated under artificial high reach lights. Jeff Maggert followed the light to the winner’s circle, beating Greg Kraft by three shots.
During the first round at the 2006 Funai Classic, Justin Rose made 12 birdies and no bogeys en route to a course-record 60 on the Palm course. He had a putt for 59 at No. 18, but missed the 14-footer. It could have been even lower, in fact, had Rose converted an 8-footer at No. 13 or a four-footer at No. 16.
At the final hole of the 2005 Funai Classic Lucas Glover holed a 40-yard bunker shot for birdie, earning him a one-stroke victory, his first on the PGA Tour. The memorable moment came as a surprise, even to Glover.
'It wasn't a bunker shot I walked up to and said, 'Hey, let's make this one,'' Glover admitted. 'It was one of those, 'Let's get it close and get out of here.' It was my time. That's all there is to it.'
The 1995 LPGA HealthSouth Inaugural was held at Disney, and was won by hall-of-famer Pat Bradley. It also was the first live golf tournament ever for Golf Channel. 15 years later we're now the exclusive cable home of the LPGA.
Full coverage of Big Break Disney Golf
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.
Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.
McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.
He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.
McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65).
Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds.
“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.
Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.
Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.
Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.