You Oughta Know: Casey eyes second PGA Tour win

By Will GraySeptember 4, 2016, 10:48 pm

After three straight rounds of 66, Paul Casey is poised to snag the trophy at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Here's what You Oughta Know heading into the final round at TPC Boston, where the Englishman holds a three-shot lead:

• Casey is making his 194th career PGA Tour start this week, but his lone prior win came at the 2009 Shell Houston Open. That also marks the only prior time that Casey held a 54-hole lead in the U.S.

• Casey has been much more prolific on the European Tour, where he has won 13 times before, most recently at the 2014 KLM Open. Casey rescinded his European Tour membership this year to focus solely on the PGA Tour.

• Casey's best finish of the season came at the Masters, where he tied for fourth, but he has only one top-10 finish in his 10 starts since Augusta (T-10, PGA Championship).

• Casey's closest competitor is Brian Harman, who will begin the final round three shots back at 12 under. Harman's lone Tour title came at the 2014 John Deere Classic.

• The group four shots behind Casey includes Kevin Chappell, who remains in search of his first career win. Chappell has three runner-up finishes this season (RSM Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship).

• Smylie Kaufman is tied with Chappell at 11 under. A winner earlier this season in Las Vegas, Kaufman missed the cut in each of his last four starts and hadn't played the weekend since a T-27 finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

• Jimmy Walker is also tied for third at 11 under. Walker missed the cut in each of his first two starts after his PGA Championship victory but is looking to win multiple tournaments for the third straight season.

• Each of the last six winners of this event have trailed entering the final round, with each winner from 2010-2014 overcoming a deficit of at least two shots.

• Rory McIlroy is tied for seventh following a third-round 66. After struggling mightily with his putter in his last two starts, McIlroy has picked up more than four strokes on the field with his putting over the last two rounds.

• Ryan Moore is alone in sixth place, five shots behind Casey. Moore won the John Deere Classic last month and finished T-7 last week at The Barclays.

• The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings will advance to next week's BMW Championship. Based on the projected results through 54 holes, Ricky Barnes is clinging to the 70th spot by two points over No. 71 Jon Curran.

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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.