Reed snaps winless drought with Barclays win

By Nick MentaAugust 28, 2016, 10:05 pm

He needed every stroke available down the stretch, but Patrick Reed finally snapped his winless drought, winning The Barclays by one over Sean O’Hair and Emiliano Grillo on Sunday. Here’s how things shook out at Bethpage Black, where Zach Johnson secured an automatic Ryder Cup berth when Rickie Fowler collapsed:

Leaderboard: Reed (-9), O’Hair (-8), Grillo (-8), Jason Day (-7), Gary Woodland (-7), Adam Scott (-7)

What it means: This is Reed’s fifth PGA Tour win and his first since the Tournament of Champions in January of last year, nearly 21 months ago. One back to start the day, Reed took a step back with a bogey at the third before three quick birdies at 4, 5 and 7. He took the lead outright when Fowler finally dropped a shot at 11 and went up by two with a birdie at 12. He closed with bogeys 16 and 18 to shoot even-par 70 and win by one. With the victory, Reed moved to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points list.

Biggest disappointment: Fowler (74) lost out on both a victory and an automatic berth to the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Tied for the lead at 10 under, he made his first bogey in 56 holes at the par-4 11th and missed putts for birdie at 12, 13 and 14. Then he came unraveled. A bogey at 15 and a double bogey at 16 cost him both the tournament and a spot in the top eight of the U.S. points list (Fowler needed to finish solo third or better to play his way to Hazeltine). After a bounceback birdie at 17 gave him hope, Fowler ended the suspense with a wayward drive at 18 and one last bogey, ceding the final autobid to Johnson.

Round of the day: Sung Kang and Johnson Wagner tied for the round of the week with 7-under 64s. Kang moved from 122nd in the standings at the start of the week to 88th, advancing to TPC Boston.

Best of the rest: O’Hair and Bubba Watson turned in rounds of 5-under 66. A testament to the swings of the FedEx Cup point system, O’Hair in one week vaulted from 108th to 18th with his tie for second.

Shot of the day: Although he didn’t factor in the finish, Day deserves credit for this incredible birdie make from 71 feet at 15:

Quote of the day: “I’m glad to finally be able to close one off.” - Reed

 

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.