Francis Marion Maintains Lead in Div II NCAAs
SUNRIVER, Ore. -- Led by senior Dylan Keylock, first-round leader Francis Marion University increased its lead after second-day play at the NCAA Division II Men's Golf National Championship Tournament, Wednesday (May 21) at the Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, Ore.
As was the case with Tuesday's opening round, play was delayed due to early morning frost on the par-72, 7,296-yard Crosswater Club course. The tee times were inverted on Wednesday with Tuesday's late times (which included FMU), beginning play first on Wednesday.
FMU entered the second day three shots ahead of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Western Washington University. Led by Keylock's 2-under-par 70 and senior Juan Pablo Bossi's 1-under 71, Francis Marion shot a 2-under 286 team score and retired to the clubhouse.
UCCS, which started its round as FMU finished, made an early charge and tied the Patriots briefly before faltering to a 7-over 295 score. Western Washington ballooned to a 12-over 300 score and fell to seventh place.
Francis Marion's two-day total of 6-under 570 leads the host school, California State University at Chico, by eight strokes. The Wildcats recorded the best team score of the second round, a 6-under 282, and climbed from seventh to second place. California State University at Stanislaus is third, 10 strokes back at 580, followed by UCCS and California State University at Bakersfield, both at 582.
Keylock is in second place in the individual standings. His 70 on Wednesday followed Tuesday's 68 and places him at 6-under138. He trails USC Aiken's Scott Usher by two strokes. Usher, who shot a first-round 71, recorded the low round of the tournament with his 65 on Wednesday.
FMU junior Fredrik Ohlsson shot an even-par 72 on Wednesday and is at 2-under for the tournament, tied for seventh place. Senior Matt Dura shot a 1-over 73 on Wednesday and is tied for 24th place at 2-over 146. Bossi, who shot an opening-round 77, recovered to fire a 71 on Wednesday and is tied for 30th position at 4-over. Junior Per Hallberg shot a second-round 7-over 79 and is 8-over for the tournament and tied for 56th spot.
The four-day, 72-hole tournament will continue through Friday, and includes 18 teams and 12 individual golfers.
This is 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.
The Patriots earned an at-large selection to the national championships after rallying to finish second at the Southeast Regional in Greensboro, Ga., May 5-7. Rollins College won last years title after receiving an at-large invitation. Each of the past 11, and 18 of the past 19 national champions have come from the Southeastern United States.
With a 112-43-2 record, Francis Marion is ranked 12th in the latest Precept Division II Coaches Top 25 poll. Entering the tournament, the Patriots were 3-13 against other teams in the national field.
No. Team Score
1 Francis Marion U. 284-286=570 -6
2 CSU-Chico 296-282=578 +2
3 CSU-Stanislaus 292-288=580 +4
4 CSU-Bakersfield 295-287=582 +6
Colorado-CO Springs 287-295=582 +6
6 North Alabama, U. of 292-291=583 +7
7 Western Washington U 287-300=587 +11
8 Rollins College 303-286=589 +13
UC Davis 298-291=589 +13
10 USC Aiken 301-290=591 +15
11 West Florida, U. of 299-295=594 +18
12 Pfeiffer University 305-301=606 +30
Central Oklahoma 305-301=606 +30
14 Ferris State U. 308-299=607 +31
15 Barton College 310-299=609 +33
16 Washburn University 307-304=611 +35
17 Bryant College 317-299=616 +40
18 Millersville U. 316-330-646 +70
Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again
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.
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.
McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call
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.
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.
Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title
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.
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.
Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore
SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.
Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.
Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.
With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.
''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''
Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.
''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.
Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.
Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.
He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''