Power Rankings: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

By Will GrayOctober 2, 2012, 6:24 pm

While the PGA Tour begins its Fall Series (our Power Rankings for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open can be found here), many of the best in Europe will contest the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Played across three of the game's most famous courses, players will conclude the event on Sunday at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Win McMurry.

Michael Hoey returns as defending champion this week, having beaten Rory McIlroy by two shots for the title last year. Here are ten players to watch this week in Scotland: 

1. Padraig Harrington: The Irishman's record in this event is unparalleled, with two wins ('02 and '06) to go along with four other top-10 finishes in 11 starts. Having just watched his fellow Europeans celebrating at Medinah, Paddy may be out to prove his exclusion from the team was a mistake.

2. Louis Oosthuizen: Along with Nick Watney, Oosthuizen was one of two players who finished in the top 10 of the final FedEx Cup standings but did not play in the Ryder Cup. A winner this year in both South Africa and Malaysia, Oosthuizen also had a pair of runner-up finishes in the States, including a playoff loss at The Masters. It's fair to say he has a few good memories to rely upon when playing the Old Course.

3. Dustin Johnson: One of the few bright spots for the Americans on Sunday at Medinah, DJ more than acquitted himself well as a captain's selection. He brings with him momentum from a solid performance during the FedEx Cup playoffs and his runner-up finish at the 2011 British Open shows he is able to golf his ball on both sides of the Pond.

4. Martin Kaymer: What better way to turn around a mediocre season than to win the Ryder Cup for your continent? Kaymer did just that Sunday with his putt on the 18th green, and returns with renewed confidence to an event he won two years ago. 

5. Paul Lawrie: The Scot was a surprising 5&3 winner Sunday over Brandt Snedeker and now heads back home to Scotland to play a course rotation that includes Carnoustie, site of his '99 British Open triumph. Lawrie has won twice in Europe this year, and also won the inaugural edition of this event in 2001.

6. Simon Dyson: Dyson may not be a household name in the States, but his track record in this event is excellent: a win in '09, T-5 in '10 and T-9 last year. He's currently 25th on the European Tour in driving accuracy and 41st in GIR percentage.

7. Peter Hanson: Along with Kaymer, Johnson and Lawrie, Hanson makes the trip this week from Chicago to Scotland. He won in his last European Tour start at the KLM Open last month and currently leads the Tour in putts per GIR.

8. Matteo Manassero: The young Italian finished T-22 here two years ago and his game has steadily improved since then. Manassero has six top-10 finishes this year in Europe, including a T-3 finish at the BMW Italian Open in his most recent start last month. He is currently 26th on Tour in stroke average and ninth in putts per round. 

9. Danny Willett: A runner-up here in 2010, Willett broke through with a win this summer at the BMW International Open. In his last two European Tour starts, the Englishman was a runner-up at the Omega European Masters and in the top 10 after each of the first three rounds at the KLM Open before a Sunday 75 dropped him back to T-26.

10. Marcel Siem: The German won earlier this year in France and recorded a pair of top-20 finishes in his last two European Tour starts. He currently stands 12th on the European Tour in stroke average, 16th in driving distance and 22nd in putts per GIR.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

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.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

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.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


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.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

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.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


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.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

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:

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.