Henderson expects to play Canadian Women's Open

By Randall MellApril 29, 2015, 9:17 pm

Brooke Henderson said Wednesday that it’s not quite official yet, but she expects to add the CN Canadian Women’s Open as her fourth sponsor exemption this season.

Though she also said she has no issues with LPGA rules not allowing her to claim an exemption to play this week after finishing top 10 last week, she said she is battling fatigue meeting new challenges.

Henderson, trying to earn LPGA membership as a 17-year-old, played her way into this week’s North Texas Shootout. She did so winning a playoff in a Monday qualifier to grab one of two available spots in Irving, Texas. She flew halfway across the country to the qualifier after finishing third Sunday at the Swinging Skirts Classic just outside San Francisco.

Getting into the Texas event became a race against the clock with Henderson’s flight delayed to a 4 a.m. departure on Monday. She arrived at Las Colinas roughly four hours before her tee time with little sleep.

If Henderson were an LPGA member, her top-10 finish at Swinging Skirts would have assured her a spot at the North Texas Shootout. Unlike the PGA Tour, the LPGA doesn’t grant the same top-10 exemption to non-members.

Henderson was asked in a conference call Wednesday how she felt about not getting an exemption.

“A rule is a rule,” Henderson said. “I respect that.”

Henderson, however, said she’s feeling tired after the long journey to the rain-delayed and playoff-prolonged qualifier. She’s from Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, and is dealing with intense media interest, especially from Canada. She did a conference call Wednesday to accommodate all the media requests. She said she also limited her practice Tuesday and Wednesday to rest.

“I feel much better now,” she said. “I think I’m ready to go.”

As an amateur last summer, Henderson petitioned the LPGA for a waiver of its rule requiring members to be 18. The waiver would have allowed her to gain membership through LPGA Q-School. Henderson turned pro in December anyway. She has been playing LPGA, Symetra Tour and mini-tour events this year. She is allowed six sponsor exemptions to LPGA events, not counting the U.S. Women’s Open and Ricoh Women’s British Open. She played the Swinging Skirts on her first sponsor exemption. She also has sponsor invites to the ShopRite Classic and Manulife Classic.

After her strong performance Sunday, Henderson was asked if she intended to petition the LPGA for a waiver again. She said she did not expect to do so unless she wins. She could claim LPGA membership for this year and next year if she wins a tour event, but she would have to be granted a waiver of the LPGA’s age restriction to do so. She turns 18 on Sept. 10.

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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.