Fighting Illini Hanging On in Central Regional
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- While steady rain and strong winds made for miserable weather conditions and higher scores, the Fighting Illini men's golf team retained its lead today during the second round of the 2003 NCAA Central Regional Championships, held at the par 72, 7,228-yard Colbert Hills golf course in Manhattan, Kan. Illinois, which shot a 13-under par score of 275 in yesterday's opening round, shot a 7-over par score of 295 during today's second round. That was good enough to keep the Illini in first place in the 27-team Regional, which features four of the nation's Top-10 ranked teams. The Illini are 6-under par through 36 holes with a team score of 570. Illinois owns a two-shot lead over North Carolina State, in second place at 4-under 572. Oklahoma State sits in third, four strokes behind the Illini at 2-under 574. Illinois, North Carolina State and Oklahoma State are the only three teams in the field under par after two rounds of play.
Freshman Patrick Nagle and sophomore Garrett Chaussard each shot even-par rounds of 72 to lead the Illini today. Nagle was 2-under through seven holes but added two bogeys late in his round to finish even on the day. Chaussard started the day with a double-bogey at No. 10 (Illinois played the back nine first and then the front nine) but quickly bounced back with five consecutive pars. He then eagled the par-five 16th hole to return to even. A final bogey at hole 4 put Chaussard at +1, but he finished the day with a birdie at No. 9 to return to even-par, his second consecutive round of 72.
Illinois' third scorer was sophomore James Lepp, who shot a 3-over par 75. The Illini's fourth and final team score came from junior Ryan Tendall, who shot a 4-over round of 76.
Nagle is tied for third place among 141 golfers in the individual standings, remaining at 5-under par with a two-round score of 139. Nagle sits two-shots back of co-leaders Jason Moon of North Carolina State and Judd Easterling of Wichita State, who are both 7-under par (137).
Lepp falls back to a tie for 11th place at 2-under par with a score of 142. Chaussard remains in the Top 25, tied for 25th place at even-par 144. Senior Geoff Lound is tied for 70th at 149 (+5) while Tendall is tied for 98th at 151 (+7).
The third and final round of the 54-hole NCAA Central Regional will be held Saturday. Fans can follow the action via the internet with live scoring at: www.golfstat.com The top 10 finishing teams and top two individuals not among the top 10 teams will qualify for the NCAA Championships, to be held May 27-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
NCAA Central Regional Team Standings (after two of three rounds)
1. ILLINOIS 275-295=570 -6
2. North Carolina State 283-289=572 -4
3. Oklahoma State 285-289=574 -2
4. Wichita State 290-287=577
T5. North Carolina 283-295=578
T5. Southern Methodist 277-301=578
T5. Arkansas 286-292=578
8. Kentucky 280-301=581
9. Texas 285-298=583
10. Minnesota 287-297=584
T11. Ohio State 293-293=586
T11. Kent State 291-295=586
13. Texas Christian 287-300=587
T14. Oklahoma 292-296=588
T14. North Texas 285-303=588
T16. Texas Tech 296-293=589
T16. Lamar 285-304=589
T16. Michigan State 289-300=589
19. Tulsa 291-299=590
20. Kansas State 287-305=592
T21. Kansas 295-298=593
T21. Texas A&M 296-297=593
23. Wright State 297-297=594
24. Northwestern 287-308=595
25. Toledo 295-301=596
26. Missouri 298-300=598
27. Baylor 289-313=602
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
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.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
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.”
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.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
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.
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.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
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:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
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.