Stat attack!: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial review

By John AntoniniMay 26, 2014, 1:19 am

Now, that’s more like it.

After nine holes Thursday in the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Adam Scott certainly didn’t play like the No. 1 golfer in the world.

He began the week with a four-bogey 39 on his first nine holes before completing an opening 71 at Colonial CC. As if he sensed his stay at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking was going to be a short one if he didn’t kick into high gear, Scott followed with rounds of 68-66-66 to become the sixth player in the last three years to begin a PGA Tour event with an over-par round and win.

He also came from farthest behind after 18 holes – Scott was T-64 Thursday night – to win in 2013-14, and he became the fifth player in the last 25 years to win Colonial despite shooting at least one round over par.

Players who shot over par in round one and went on to win: 2012-14

 Year Player First-round score Par
 2014 Crowne Plaza Colonial Adam Scott 71 70
 2014 Valspar Championship John Senden 72 71
 2013 U.S. Open Justin Rose  71 70 
 2013 Tampa Bay Championship Kevin Streelman  73  71 
 2012 U.S. Open Webb Simpson  72 70 
 2012 Northern Trust Open Bill Haas  72  71 

PGA Tour winners in 2013-14 who were in the highest position on the leader board after day one

 Player Tournament Position after round one
 Adam Scott Crowne Plaza Colonial T-64
 Scott Stallings Farmers Insurance Open T-63
 John Senden Valspar Championship T-45
 Bubba Watson Northern Trust Open T-35
 Jimmy Walker Open T-34

Colonial winners with at least one over-par round: 1990-2014

 Year Winner Over-par score
 2014 Adam Scott 71 in round one
 2012 Zach Johnson 72 in round four
 2011 David Toms 74 in round three
 1999 Olin Browne 73 in round one
 1990 Ben Crenshaw 72 in round three

Scott wasn’t the only player who rebounded with a strong week. Five players who were over par on Thursday finished in the top 10 at Colonial. Crowne Plaza, the Valspar Championship and the WGC-Cadillac Championship are the only tournaments this season with five or more players finishing in the top 10 who were over par on day one.

Colonial top-10 finishers who were over par on Thursday

 Finish Player Round one Rest of week
 1 Adam Scott 71 68-66-66
 T-5 David Lingmerth 72 69-66-66
 T-5 John Senden 71 68-66-68
 T-5 David Toms 72 66-65-70
 T-10 Michael Thompson 73 66-69-66

As first mentioned in the Colonial Stat Attack preview, Scott was one of 13 players who had won three of the four current Texas events on the PGA Tour. Now he stands alone, becoming the only player to win the Tour stops in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth.

Adam Scott’s Texas Grand Slam

 Tournament Scores Result
 2014 Crowne Plaza Colonial 71-68-66-66—271 Beat Jason Dufner in a playoff
 2010 Valero Texas Open 71-70-66-67—274 Beat Freddie Jacobson by one
 2008 Byron Nelson Championship 68-67-67-71—273 Beat Ryan Moore in a playoff
 2007 Shell Houston Open 69-71-65-66—271 Beat Bubba Watson by three

Adam Scott in Texas events

 Tournament Starts Top 10s Cuts made Best
 Colonial 3 1 3 Won in 2014
 Nelson 4 2 2 Won in 2008
 Houston 6 2 5 Won in 2007
 Texas 2 1 2 Won in 2010
 Totals 15 6 12 Four wins

We also mentioned in the preview how important ball striking was at Colonial. Hitting fairways and greens played an important role in Scott’s victory. He was T-8 in driving accuracy and T-10 in greens in regulation to become the fourth Colonial winner in the last five years to finish in the top-10 in both statistics.

Accuracy and GIR rank of Colonial winner: 2008-2013

 Year Player Accuracy rank GIR rank
 2014 Adam Scott T-8 T-10
 2013 Boo Weekley T-6 T-5
 2012 Zach Johnson T-26 T-37
 2011 David Toms T-4 T-4
 2010 Zach Johnson T-10 1
 2009 Steve Stricker T-15 T-6
 2008 Phil Mickelson T-33 T-5

Finally, it’s worth noticing the performance of HP Byron Nelson Championship winner Brendon Todd. With his T-5 at Colonial, Todd became the third player in 2013-14 to follow a victory with another top-10 finish a week later.

PGA Tour winners in 2013-14 with a top-10 finish the following week

 Player Win Following week
 Zach Johnson Hyundai T of C T-8, Sony Open
 Bubba Watson Northern Trust Open T-9, WGC-Match Play
 Brendon Todd HP Byron Nelson T-5, Colonial
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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.