Big Finish Building on European Tour

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 29, 2006, 4:00 pm
European TourAfter two huge tournaments in the United States, the European Tour heads back into familiar territory with this week's BMW International Open in Munich, Germany.
 
It marks the beginning of a stretch run of big September events that includes the European Masters, the HSBC World Match Play Championship, the 36th Ryder Cup at the K Club and ending with the WGC - American Express Championship in England.
 
This week also marks the final event in which Ryder Cup points can be earned to make Ian Woosnam's 2006 squad. Although most of the team is pretty much set, it is the two captain's picks that could make this an interesting week.
 
Several big names that appear unlikely to secure automatic spots and thus hope to get a nod from captain Woosnam are Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Darren Clarke.
 
They all are in the field this week looking to make good impressions, with the exception, of course, of Clarke, who will not be on hand due to the death of his wife two weeks ago. It is still unknown when the Irishman will return to action.
 
Woosnam currently has seven players guaranteed of making the 12-man team: Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, David Howell, Colin Montgomerie, Robert Karlsson and Paul Casey. Of those, only Stenson, Karlsson and Garcia are not playing this week.
 
This is the ninth straight year in which Golf Club MunchenNord-Eichenried is playing host and the 14th time overall. The European Tour moves to Switzerland next week for the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre.
 
Lat year, Howell posted a 7-under 65 in the final round to outlast John Daly by a stroke to earned his second career victory. The 31-year-old Englishman has since added another pair of titles and is ranked 12th in the world.
 
Daly will be in the mix again this year, trying to get back to the winner's circle he visited back in 2001. This will be his sixth straight year in the event and has finished in the top-11 in four of his five starts.
 
The Golf Channel will telecast all four days from Germany beginning Thursday at 9:30 a.m. (ET).
 
Related Links:
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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.