McNulty Tries to Salvage Season

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Administaff Small Business ClassicTime is running out on Mark McNulty this year. Only two more tournaments remain in the Champions Tour regular season, and McNulty has yet to win for the first time in his senior tour career.
The Administaff Small Business Classic will be played this week outside Houston, and it was at the Administaff last year where McNulty got his fifth and final victory.
Mark McNulty
Mark McNulty hopes to save his season with a repeat win this week.
This season has been a rarity for the Zimbabwe-born McNulty. He has won 55 times around the world, 16 of those on the European Tour. But this year he has struggled, failing to land in the top-10 since early May when he was second at the Regions Charity Classic.
The 52-year-old is in his third year on the Champions Tour. Coming out in 2004, he won three times. And that is just what was expected of him.
The general consensus by people who knew I was coming on the Champions Tour said, Oh, you're going to clean up, and it pushed into me too much, McNulty said.
I didn't play great my last season in Europe, but it was OK. I think what they were trying to reflect upon - that the likes of the (Bruce) Fleishers and the (Hale) Irwins and the guys who have been dominant on this tour are getting towards their latter stages of their career where they can win on this tour.
But McNulty has come along at the start of a very competitive period in Champions Tour history. First he had the ascent of Craig Stadler, then Jay Haas and Loren Roberts. Now he will have to contend with Fred Funk, Chip Beck and Scott Hoch, and next year his close friend Nick Price is turning 50. Mark OMeara, Nick Faldo, Jeff Sluman and John Cook are also joining the tour next season.

There's so many more people coming on, said McNulty. So I think the competition is going to get stronger and stronger out on this tour.
When I came on tour, I was pleasantly surprised to see the competition was unbelievable. I got out here the first day and I shot 67, I think it was in 2004, and Tom Kite shot 7 under and I thought, Wow, I'm going to have to play well, and I thought I played great. Even halfway through the year, I realized that even like with Gil Morgan, Gil can really still play. And Hale, we all know he can really still play. He won four times last year.
I think what's gone and what's coming on the Champions Tour only bodes well for it.
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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).

    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.