Aguilar Leads Rd 1 in France

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Aa St-Omer OpenLUMBRES, France -- Chile's first European Tour member, Felipe Aguilar, posted a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the Aa Saint Omer Open.
 
Klas Eriksson and Jean Hugo are knotted in second place one stroke back at 4-under-par 67 at the Val Course at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club.
 
David Dixon, Cedric Menut, Cesar Monasterio, Adrien Mork and Juan Parron are tied for fourth place at minus-3.
 
This is a joint European Tour-Challenge Tour event as the majority of European Tour stars are in New York for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club.
 
The start of the opening round Thursday was delayed by almost two hours due to heavy rainfall. All players completed their opening rounds although only 29 golfers of the 154 that finished the first round broke par.
 
Aguilar wasted little time in breaking into red figures on Thursday with a birdie at the par-4 opening hole. He added another birdie at the fifth before surging up the leaderboard around the turn.
 
He birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes to reach 5-under par. Aguilar dropped a shot at the par-3 11th, but reclaimed the lost stroke at 15 to move into sole possession of the lead.
 
Aguilar turned professional 1999, but did not reach the European Tour until the Final Stage of Q School last year. He hedged his bet as he tried to make the European Tour - he founded his own construction company.
 
'I have a partnership in a construction company and another one that makes windows and doors,' said Aguilar. 'It's hard to find sponsors and you really have to put your hand on your own pocket. Telefonica del Sur have been supporting me for the last few years because they believe in the program that I showed them.
 
'I actually decided to tour professionally about five years ago. I was a professional before that, but I also had to work in my office. Then I said that I would quit my office and work towards this. I made a five-year plan, which Telefonica supported, and got my card after four years so I was very pleased with that.'
 
Eriksson was 2-under through 15 holes, but closed with birdies at the 16th and 18th to get into a share of second.
 
Hugo, who started his round on the back nine, was only 1-under par through 15 holes, but closed with three consecutive birdies to join Eriksson in second.
 
David Drysdale, Alessio Bruschi, Thomas Feyrsinger, Chris Gane, Simon Hurd, Henrik Nystrom, Michele Reale, Lee Slattery, Nicolas Vanhootegem and Tom Whitehouse share ninth place at 2-under-par 69.
 
Defending champion Joakim Backstrom struggled to a three-over-par 74 and is part of a group tied for 87th place.
 
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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).


    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 phoned 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. 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.