Davies has 'no room for error' to make HOF induction

By Randall MellJuly 10, 2015, 7:36 pm

LANCASTER, Pa. – Laura Davies is feeling pressure after assuring Friday that she will make the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Yeah, the test Lancaster Country Club offers has something to do with that, but it’s mostly the pressure she’s feeling to get to St. Andrews in Scotland in time for Monday’s World Golf Hall of Fame induction. She’s being inducted in the ceremony that begins at 6 p.m. local time in Scotland.

“If everything goes to plan, I should land in Edinburgh at 1 o'clock, and then I've got to drive to Dundee to the hotel, check in the hotel, have a shower,” Davies said. “That should take me to round about 4 o'clock, at which stage I can have a couple of pints of cider and get on the bus to the Hall of Fame thing. There is no room for error.”

Davies said she has videotaped an acceptance speech just in case the U.S. Women’s Open finish is bumped to Monday or there are flight delays.

The Hall of Fame Induction is planned at the University of St. Andrews, just a few blocks from the Old Course. David Graham, Mark O’Meara and the late A.W. Tillinghast also are being inducted.

Davies is flying British Airways out of Philadelphia Sunday at 10 p.m. ET, direct to London with a connection to Edinburgh. She said she’s feeling pressure even if she makes it to St. Andrews on time. She’s not comfortable giving speeches.

“I'm dyslexic, so I can't read off the [teleprompter],” Davies said. “They were going to make me write a speech, but that would be a fiasco if I tried to read. So that is not happening. I'm just going to write six or seven main points down, and then I'll talk about those main points.”

Davies is thrilled to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. She has been sitting on the doorstep of the points-based LPGA Hall of Fame for more than a decade. Her last LPGA title was the Wegmans Rochester International in 2001. It left her two points shy of qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame. She has 25 points. With a major championship worth two points, she could make her trip to Scotland a heck of a party by winning the U.S. Women’s Open. She would be celebrating entry into a pair of Hall of Fames.

Davies has won more than 80 titles worldwide, 45 of them Ladies European Tour events and 20 of them LPGA titles. She has won four major championships, including the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open.

For years Davies insisted she didn’t want to make it into the World Golf Hall of Fame by a vote, or make it into the LPGA Hall of Fame through a Veterans Category nomination. She wanted to earn her way. She said the World Golf Hall of Fame’s adoption of new criteria with minimum standards last year satisfies her. The World Golf Hall of Fame now requires a player to have won at least 15 tour titles or two majors to be eligible for a vote.

“It was like a popularity contest before,” Davies said. “You got voted in. I didn't want that. When they put the two majors and a certain amount of tournaments, then it became a criteria, and I met the criteria. So then I said yes immediately ... I was absolutely delighted. It's one of the highlights of my career without a doubt.”

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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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.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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.