Moore takes 1-shot lead into Sunday at Travelers

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2014, 9:43 pm

Ryan Moore posted a 4-under 66 Saturday and will enter Sunday with a one-shot lead atop a crowded leaderboard at the Travelers Championship. Here's what you need to know heading into the final round at TPC River Highlands:

Leaderboard: Ryan Moore (-13); Aaron Baddeley (-12); K.J. Choi (-11), Segio Garcia (-11), Scott Langley (-11), Michael Putnam (-11)

What it means: Moore is in search of his second win of the season after claiming victory at the CIMB Classic back in October, the second event of the Tour's new wrap-around season. He has previously enjoyed success at River Highlands, placing second in 2011 and seventh in 2012.

Best of the rest: Aaron Baddeley and Sergio Garcia both posted 65s Saturday to get one shot and two shots behind Moore, respectively. Baddeley hasn't won on Tour since the 2011 Northern Trust at Riviera. Garcia, meanwhile, has already won once this year worldwide at the Qatar Masters but hasn't enjoyed a first place finish on the PGA Tour since the 2012 Wyndham Championship. Similarly, K.J. Choi, 1 under Saturday, is looking to break through for the first time the 2011 Players. Overnight leader Scott Langley remains in the hunt at 11 under but an even-par 70 cost him a chance to advance his 36-hole lead heading into the final round. Four players, Choi, Garcia, Langley and Michael Putnam are tied for third, two behind Moore.

Biggest disappointment: Without question, Brendan Steele. Steele fired the low round of the tournament in Round 1 with a 62, but followed it with a 69 friday and a 71 Saturday and remains at 8 under. Dustin Johnson didn't do anything to help his cause either with a 71 of his own. He now sits at 7 under.

Biggest storyline to watch: There are plenty of guys near the top of the board looking to end prolonged winless droughts, but as GolfChannel's senior researcher Justin Ray points out, two of the Travelers' last four winners entered Sunday six shots out of the lead. Twenty-four players are currently within six of Moore, including the aforementioned Johnson.

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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.