Hahn wins playoff to take Northern Trust

By Nick MentaFebruary 22, 2015, 11:39 pm

James Hahn made birdie on his third extra hole to best Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey in a three-man playoff and win the Northern Trust Open. Here’s what went down in the final leg of the West Coast Swing:

Leaderboard: Hahn (-6), Johnson (-6), Casey (-6), Sergio Garcia (-5), Jordan Spieth (-5), Keegan Bradley (-5), Hideki Matsuyama (-5), Sang-Moon Bae (-5)  

What it means: The win is Hahn's first on the PGA Tour. After entering the week No. 297 in the world, Hahn is now qualified for this year's Masters. The 33-year-old former shoe salesman authored a 2-under 69 in regulation to make his way into the playoff with many-time winners Johnson and Casey. He earned his first victory by draining a birdie putt on the third extra hole, the par-3 14th, to eliminate Johnson and end up the last man standing on a rainy, difficult day at Riviera.  

Best of the rest: After all three made par on the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th, Casey actually hit the best shot of anyone off the next tee, winding up hole-high in the fairway to the left of the 10th green. But after two superb flop shots from past the green and over the bunker, Hahn and Johnson moved on, leaving Casey, who failed to get up and down from Position A, out of the running. Johnson, meanwhile, missed a birdie putt of his own on 14 that would have tied Hahn and extended the playoff. This was only Johnson's third start in his return from a six-month leave of absence. His results through three weeks: MC, T-4, T-2.

Biggest disappointments: Through his first three rounds as your leader, Retief Goosen didn’t make a single double bogey. Unfortunately, he made two Sunday as part of a final-round 75. The 46-year-old, two-time major winner entered the round with a two-shot lead but finished the day two shots back. Separately, Garcia actually led by one shot with two holes to play but promptly bogeyed both the 17th and 18th to miss out on not only his ninth Tour victory but also a spot in the playoff. Finally, Spieth also entered the 18th hole 6 under par; like Garcia, a bogey kept him out of the playoff.

Round of the day: Blayne Barber posted the round of the tournament with a bogey-free, 6-under 65. Four of Barber’s six birdies came in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 8-13. The low number hopped him 33 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 12th at 3 under for the championship.

Shot of the day: Hahn holed a 57-footer from just off the front of the par-3 4th green for birdie early in the day. Every stroke counts, but that one seems unusually important in retrospect.

Quote of the day: "This is amazing. I have a little girl coming in three weeks, and, yeah, this is unbelievable. I never would have thought I would have won this tournament." - Hahn

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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.