De Jonge takes early lead at Deutsche Bank

By Will GraySeptember 4, 2015, 10:24 pm

While scores are typically low at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the course proved a stern test during Friday's opening round. Here's how things look at TPC Boston, where Brendon de Jonge set the early pace and leads by two:

Leaderboard: Brendon de Jonge (-6), Henrik Stenson (-4), Luke Donald (-4), Rickie Fowler (-4), Colt Knost (-4), Matt Jones (-4), Ian Poulter (-4), Charley Hoffman (-4), Jason Day (-3)

What it means: Birdies were hard to come by in the early going, as Day's opening 68 was among the best totals before the afternoon wave hit the course. De Jonge later grabbed the top spot and increased his lead to two with a closing birdie, moving the Zimbabwean one step closer to what would be his first PGA Tour win after 27 prior top-10 finishes.

Round of the day: De Jonge opened with a birdie and added two more circles en route to an outward 32, then added birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 to reach 5 under. While he bogeyed the next hole, he countered with birdies on Nos. 5 and 9 to post the day's low total despite hitting only 11 of 18 greens in regulation.

Best of the rest: A winner here two years ago and a runner-up last week in New Jersey, Stenson is again in the mix after an opening 67. Stenson made eight birdies, including two over his final three holes, as the former FedEx Cup champ is once again raising his game during the postseason.

Biggest disappointment: Perhaps it wasn't the irons. After an unexpected missed cut at The Barclays with new equipment, Jordan Spieth switched back to his old sticks but still stumbled to a 4-over 75 in the opening round. Spieth's tumultuous round included more bogeys (eight) than pars (six), and he now has work to do simply to make it past the 36-hole cut.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: The hottest player in the field is still the player to watch. Day birdied his first three holes en route to a 68, and while he trails de Jonge by three shots he clearly has not lost any momentum since his six-shot romp at Plainfield. With Spieth and Rory McIlroy (70) off to somewhat slow starts, the No. 1 ranking is still in the Aussie's sights.

Shot of the day: Is a par 4 considered "driveable" if you find the target with an iron? Dustin Johnson put that theory to the test on the 289-yard fourth hole, finding the putting surface with a 4-iron off the tee that set up an easy birdie.

Quote of the day: "I felt tee to green, the way I drove the ball, hit my irons, for the most part it was very good." - McIlroy

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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.