Frost Claims British Open Spot

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 14, 2005, 5:00 pm
David Frost booked an early berth for the 134th Open Championship at St. Andrews with a one shot victory in the International Final Qualifier-Africa at a windswept Atlantic Beach on Friday.

Frost holed a birdie from 16 feet on the 18th hole for a 36-hole total of 3-under-par 141, one shot better than Andre Bossert, Douglas McGuigan and Tjaart van der Walt, who went to a sudden death playoff to determine the remaining two spots.
Bossert claimed the first place with a par on the 10th hole, before Scotland's McGuigan was handed the chance to make first major appearance five holes later when Van der Walt, a qualifier here last year, missed a 3 foot par putt on the 18th green.
While the playoff unfolded, the 45-year-old Frost was reflecting on his success in the safety of the clubhouse, thinking ahead to his first appearance at the Open since 2000.
'I'm looking forward to going to St. Andrews. There's a nice ambience there and I know the golf course very well,' said Frost. 'I've played there over 150 times and I've played a lot of dunhill cups there over the years.'
Despite making a nine at the par-4 fourth hole, Frost salvaged a 4-over-par 76 in the howling wind, a score for which his putter was most responsible in putting together.
'I holed about an 80-footer on the second and made a few other long putts today,' said Frost. 'The putt on 18 was about 15 feet and holing that was very important.'
McGuigan, who represents Scotland but was born in Durban and raised in Kimberley, played his back nine in 1 under par and thought he had avoided a playoff when he two putted the last for a 73 and a clubhouse score of two under.
'I thought I was in, but found out I had to go back out there' said a visibly exhausted McGuigan. 'That playoff was really though but it feels stunning now. We were talking about it and saying this is probably the biggest pre-q out there. That was definitely the biggest pre-q of my life. It's brilliant.'
'After winning the Platinum Classic (in 2003) it's been a bit of a disaster. I had surgery on my shoulders and I haven't played well, so this is a hell of a confidence booster. I couldn't ask for a better way to start the year.'
Bossert simply had to qualify, having missed out by two shots or less on more than five occasions since he made his debut at the Open at Turbnberry in 1996.
'It was a huge relief to leave the playoff so early,' said Bossert. 'Because I'm feeling tired, the guys are younger than me. I thought the quicker I get out of here the better. I had a feeling I might get in though.'
Southern Africa PGA Commissioner, Johan Immelman, expressed his gratitude to the Royal & Ancient for making the spots available and bringing a tournament of this calibre to South Africa.
'This is such a wonderful opportunity for our members to gain access to the oldest and most prestigious Open in the world. We hope our graduates continue the magnificent record at the event.'
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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.