Francis Marion Captures NCAA Div II Title

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2003, 4:00 pm
Courtesy of
College CentralSUNRIVER, Ore. ' On a day that saw only one team shoot a sub-par round, Francis Marion University used another all-around team effort to secure its first-ever national golf title by winning the NCAA Division II Men's Golf National Championship Tournament, Friday (May 23) at the Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, Ore.
In claiming the title, Francis Marion led at the end of every round including a 14-shot cushion when the sun set over Cascade Mountain Range on Friday. The four-day, 72-hole tournament included 18 teams and 12 individuals and was contested on the par-72, 7,296-yard Crosswater Club course.
For fans wishing to greet the squad, the team will return to the Florence Regional Airport at 10:28 PM on Saturday evening.
FMU, which led by three strokes after 18 holes and eight strokes after two rounds, entered Fridays play with a commanding 19-stroke advantage over the University of North Alabama and California State University at Stanislaus. Although the Patriots posted their highest score of the tournament, a 6-over-par 294, the remainder of the field offered only a brief challenge. Defending national champion Rollins College recorded the low team round on Friday, a 2-under 286, and did close to within 11 strokes of the Patriots late in the day, but the Patriot advantage was too much to overcome.
Francis Marion ended the tournament at 3-under par 1,149, 14 strokes ahead of Rollins (1,163). CSU Stanislaus compiled a final-round 9-over 294 score and finished third at 1,171. California State University at Bakersfield (1,172) was fourth followed by the host school California State University at Chico (1,174).
Only four shots (73-77) separated the five FMU scores on Friday. That followed a Thursday performance that had the five-man squad shoot between 69 and 74.
In the final round, senior Matt Dura and junior Per Hallberg led Francis Marion with 1-over-par 73 scores. FMU junior Fredrik Ohlsson carded a 2-over 74 and finished fifth in the individual standings at 3-under-par 285 (70-72-69-74). The All-American also set a Patriot season record for lowest stroke average (72.27).
Senior Dylan Keylock fired a 5-over 77 on Friday to drop into sixth place at 2-under 286 (68-70-71-77). Dura completed a steady tournament carding his third 73 and finishing 14th at 3-over 291 (73-73-72-73). Senior Juan Pablo Bossi shot a 74 on Friday and ended tied for 24th place at 7-over 295 (77-71-73-74). Hallberg tied for 44th position with an 11-over 299 tally (73-79-74-73).
The Patriots recorded the low team round on both Tuesday and Thursday, while posting the second-lowest team round on Wednesday. FMU was the only team to post three sub-par rounds.
The Patriots become the second straight at-large selection to win the national championship and continue a trend of champions with a Southern favor. Francis Marion earned the invite after rallying to finish second at the Southeast Regional in Greensboro, Ga., May 5-7. Rollins won last years title after receiving an at-large invitation. Each of the past 12, and 19 of the past 20 national champions have come from the Southeastern United States.
This was Francis Marions third trip to the national championship since joining Division II in 1992. The Patriots finished 10th in 2002 and 15th in 1998. All five current FMU golfers also participated in the 2002 national tournament. Prior to joining the NCAA in 1992, FMU made seven appearances in the NAIA national tournament, finishing tied for seventh in 1973, seventh in 1974, fourth in 1976, 10th in 1977, eighth in 1979, tied for sixth in 1991, and 16th in 1992.
Francis Marion, ranked 12th in the latest Precept Division II Coaches Top 25 poll, ends its season with a 129-43-2 record. Entering the tournament, the Patriots were 3-13 against other teams in the national field.
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.