Harrington Opens Strong in Madrid

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 25, 2001, 4:00 pm
Padraig Harrington birdied his last two holes of the day at Club de Campo to take the outright lead in the first round of the Telefonica Open de Madrid.
 
Harrington, the events defending champion, birdied the par-3 17th and par-4 18th holes Thursday to close with an 8-under-par 63 and take a one-shot lead over Scotlands Stephen Gallacher.
 
Im delighted, especially with the two birdies to finish, said a happy Harrington following his round. That always makes lunch taste better.
 
The Irishmans lunch was no doubt tasting good on Day 1, as he totaled eight birdies, an eagle and two bogies, which ' had it not been for preferred lies ' would have tied the course record set by Eduardo Romero and Seve Ballesteros.
 
Click Here to see Padraig Harrington's scorecard.
 
Nevertheless, Harrington ended one better than Gallacher, and two better than three others, including local favorite Miguel Angel Jimenez, all of whom shot 65s.
 
While he has been playing some of the best golf of his career this season, Harringtons last official victory came at this event last year.
 
In 20 events for 2001 on the European Tour, he has amassed an incredible seven runner-up showings.
 
His last second came two weeks ago at the Cisco World Match Play Championship, when Ian Woosnam came from behind to beat him out of the title.
 
The story has been an ongoing affair for Harrington, yet he still stands at fourth on the Order of Merit list.
 
He trails Retief Goosen, who sits well atop the list due largely to his victory at this years United States Open Championship.
 
Goosen is making a bid to lock up his money title, and opened in fine form Thursday at Club de Campo, firing a 5-under 66 to be tied for sixth with six other golfers.
 
Said the South African: Im not entirely happy with the way Im hitting the ball at the moment, and I tried something different on every shot, so therefore Im very pleased with the score.
 
Click Here to See Full-Field Scores from the Telefonica Open de Madrid.
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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.