Day (71) wins Players Championship by four shots

By Nick MentaMay 15, 2016, 9:31 pm

Jason Day didn't bring his best Sunday, but he did enough to win The Players Championship by four shots over runner-up Kevin Chappell. Here's how Day scrambled his way to victory Sunday at TPC Sawgrass:

Leaderboard: Day (-15), Chappell (-11), Justin Thomas (-10), Matt Kuchar (-10), Colt Knost (-10), Ken Duke (-10)

What it means: This is Day's 10th PGA Tour win, his third this year and his seventh in his last 17 starts, dating back to the RBC Canadian Open last July. No other player has won more than twice during that span. Up four to start the final round, Day spent much of his time scrambling from undesirable positions but he never surrendered his lead. After making the turn in 2-over 38 , the world No. 1 rallied with three back-nine birdies to shoot 1-under 71 and walk to his latest win. At 28, Day becomes just the fifth player since 1980 to win 10 times before his 29th birthday, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Rory McIlroy. With the victory, Day takes home $1.89 million, moves to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup rankings and extends his OWGR lead over No. 2 Jordan Spieth.

Round of the day: Justin Thomas started the final round 11 shots back and vaulted himself up to a tie for third with a round of 7-under 65. Thomas made four birdies on each side with just one dropped shot.

Best of the rest: Justin Rose went 65-74-78-66 this week at Sawgrass. He made eight birdies against two bogeys and circled Nos. 14-17 on his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Playing with Day in the final group, Hideki Matsuyama dropped three shots in his first three holes and never recovered. He posted 1-over 71 to finish tied for seventh at 9 under for the championship. 

Shot of the day: Kevin Chappell made his third eagle of the week with this pitch-in from short of the green at the par-5 11th:

That eagle-3 helped propel Chappell to his third runner-up this season following seconds at the RSM and Arnold Palmer.

Quote of the day: "I just wanted to win this so bad. Like I said in the media text yesterday, this could possibly push me over to getting into the Hall of Fame one day." - Day

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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).

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 phoned 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. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.