Justin Rose in Hunt for Money Title

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 5, 2002, 5:00 pm
Sunshine TourIn his continued bid to win the Sunshine Tour's Order of Merit money title, South Africa's Tim Clark will face a fresh challenge from Englishman Justin Rose when they tee it up in this week's Nashua Masters at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club in South Africa.
The reigning Bell's South African Open champion still heads the race after finishing tied for eighth in the Dimension Data Pro-Am last weekend. Clark aims to win the money list and claim the lucrative exemptions into the World Golf Championships American Express Championship and the British Open.
But Clark will have his job cut out in this week's event on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.
Rose, who claimed his maiden European Tour victory in the Dunhill Championship at Houghton Golf Club, climbed into third place on the current money list, roughly 150,000 South African rands ($13,000) behind Clark.
Rose still has a distinct chance of overtaking Clark in the tight run for the title with Dimension Data champion Retief Goosen out of the running. Goosen, second on the current money list, returns to London for a well-deserved rest after his two recent victories.
A victory at the Nashua Masters could prove a vital check in light of the R317,000 ($27,400)on offer in the Tour Championship next week. If Rose can consistently outperform Clark in these two events, then his chances of topping the Order of Merit are strong.
The 156-man field at the scenic Wild Coast Sun Country Club will also feature defending champion Mark McNulty.
Although McNulty has struggled so far this summer, he showed an improved form at last week's Dimension Data Pro-Am at Sun City with a joint 11th finish.
Darren Fichardt, Bradford Vaughan and runner-up in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, Scotland's Scott Drummond round off a quality field for the penultimate event on the summer leg of the tour.
2001/2002 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit (Earnings in South African Rand)
1Tim Clark (RSA)
2Retief Goosen (RSA)
3Justin Rose (ENG)
4Martin Maritz (RSA)
5Steve Webster (ENG)
6Mark Foster (ENG)
7James Kingston (RSA)
8Ernie Els (RSA)
9Jonathan Lomas (ENG)
10Roger Wessels (RSA)
11David Park (WAL)
12Darren Fichardt (RSA)
14Simon Dyson (ENG)
19Paul McGinley (IRL)
26Scott Drummond (SCO)
27Mark McNulty (ZIM)

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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.