Dufner holds off Lingmerth to win CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 25, 2016, 12:56 am

There was plenty of drama – and a little overtime – in the California desert, where Jason Dufner held off a late rally from David Lingmerth for his first win in more than two years. Here's how things ended up in Palm Springs, where Dufner won in a playoff:

Leaderboard: Jason Dufner (-25, won on second extra hole), David Lingmerth (-25), Phil Mickelson (-21), Andrew Loupe (-21), Kevin Na (-21), Luke List (-20), Jamie Lovemark (-20)

What it means: Dufner started the day with a two-shot lead, but got off to a slow start and watched as others quickly caught up. Regulation ended with Dufner and Lingmerth tied atop the standings, but after a clutch par save to force a second extra hole Dufner watched as Lingmerth's approach on his 20th hole of the day found the water. The victory is Dufner's fourth of his career, but his first since the 2013 PGA Championship.

Round of the day: Lingmerth has a history with this event, having fired a final-round 62 to sneak into a playoff in 2013, and he again found the late magic with a closing 65 in Palm Springs. The Swede carded seven birdies without dropping a shot, including four birdies in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 11-16.

Best of the rest: Brian Harman had the early makings of a 59 watch after a hot front nine, but despite cooling off still posted a 65. Harman birdied seven holes in an eight-hole stretch from Nos. 2-9, including four in a row on Nos. 2-6, before closing his round with nine straight pars to finish tied for 11th.

Biggest disappointment: Ryan Palmer appeared poised to make a run at Dufner, but the veteran never got anything going Sunday. With a double bogey and three bogeys, he carded a 1-over 73 in the final round to drop back into a tie for 17th. 

Shot of the day: Dufner appeared to be in a rough spot after his tee shot on the 17th hole found the rocks, but he was able to play the ball from the hazard. The resulting chip shot tracked the whole way before hitting the flagstick, leaving him a tap-in par that kept his chances alive.

Quote of the day: “This is the best tour in the world, so for me to win this week I feel like I was one of the best players in the world this week." - Dufner

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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.