Best quotes from Saturday at the 146th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2017, 7:45 pm

SOUTHPORT, England – Why was one player pissed off after Saturday's round and has Henrik Stenson been able to keep all of his belongings since Thursday's robbery? That and more in the best quotes from Saturday at The Open:

“I wouldn’t rather be in any other position than where we’re at. And we have an opportunity to have a really special day on the golf course tomorrow. I’m excited about it,” – Jordan Spieth

“It was awfully exciting. It’s clearly very, very unique. Being in the last group of a major championship is an exciting place to be,” – Matt Kuchar

“It’s hard to think big picture now, I’m just off the course and I’m a little disappointed. This week has been a step in the right direction, there’s no doubt about it. And I need to pick myself up, play a good round tomorrow and home for some bad weather,” – Rory McIlroy

“There was too many stupid mistakes. I made one bogey yesterday in all the treacherous conditions we had. I make five bogeys today. It’s not good enough. Simple as that. I’m pissed off. Don’t know what else to say,” – Ian Poulter

“It may be playing easier than normal, but this golf course is still very tough. You hit a shot off line and you can make bogeys and others very quickly,” – Rickie Fowler

“I’m glad to inform you I haven’t lost anything in the last two days, so things are pretty good at the moment,” – Henrik Stenson

“I know I needed to shoot low today, but I don’t ever say, ‘well, I’m going to shoot 64.’ I just try to shoot as low as I can, whatever number that is,” – Dustin Johnson

“Let’s get this out of the way. I didn’t know what was going on on 18. I promise you,” – Branden Grace

“I’ve had officials actually walk with me in Asia. And they can stand right next to me for all I care. I know I’m in my rights and that’s just the way I’ve been brought up. I’m never going to try to take advantage of anything,” – Shaun Norris on claims he’s anchoring the putter

“The place was packed from the word go. Even looking down the first hole it was four or five deep. I don’t think I’ve played in crowds that deep since the Ryder Cup,” – Justin Rose

“We had perfect conditions when we went out. The pins were tucked away today. There are some cracking pins. I think the course setup was brilliant. It would have been nice to sort of get back to level and feel like you’re putting the pressure on tomorrow,” – Tommy Fleetwood

“So I was more angry how I finished yesterday just because kind of shot myself in the foot. And you can’t do that in major championships, especially when you’re trying to win a tournament,” – Jason Day

“There’s been a couple of times I’ve sat down on a bank and just made sure I’d taken it all in. You definitely get them times out there. I’m glad I am taking it all in,” – Alfie Plant, amateur

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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.