Morgan Doyle Share Lead

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
NEWTON SQUARE, Penn. -- Gil Morgan matched the competitive course record with a 4-under 66 Friday to grab a share of the lead after two rounds of the Senior PGA Championship. Allen Doyle fired a 3-under 67 to join Morgan atop the leaderboard at 4-under-par 136.
 
John Jacobs, who shared the overnight lead, shot an even-par 70 and is alone in third place at 3-under-par 137. Mike San Filippo, who also held a share of the overnight lead, is at 2-under-par 138, alongside Tom Kite and Seiji Ebihara, who also fired a 4-under 66.
 
Morgan began his round on the 10th tee at the Aronimink Golf Club. He started in fine fashion as he dropped a 9-iron within inches of the cup at the par-4 11th and tapped in for the first of his six birdies.
 
Morgan ran off four consecutive pars, before attacking the par-5 16th. He knocked his 3-wood second shot just short of the green before rolling in a 20-footer for birdie.
 
He stumbled at the 18th, however. His second shot flew the green and after a nice chip, Morgan missed a short par-saving putt to make the turn at minus-1.
 
'I made one little boo-boo,' Morgan said. 'At my ninth, I missed a three-footer for par after making a good chip. Other than that I played pretty decently.'
 
Morgan drained a lengthy birdie putt at the par-4 second. However, he struggled at the next. His drive found heavy rough and his second shot hit the lip of a bunker in front of him. He dropped his third about 10 feet from the cup, but could not convert the par putt.
 
He then took advantage of two of the shortest holes on the course. Morgan birdied the 173-yard par-3 fifth from four feet, then sank another four-footer at the 397-yard par-4 sixth.
 
Morgan took care of the only other par-5, No. 9, on the course as well. His second came up just short, but he ran a 5-wood pitch shot within three feet of the hole and sank the birdie for a share of the lead.
 
'I played pretty well. I can't be too disappointed in my play,' said Morgan. 'I kept the ball in play pretty much and that's the key here. If you get it in the rough you are in serious trouble.'
 
Doyle had an up-and-down round with seven birdies, seven pars and four bogeys. He started his round with a bogey at the par-4 first after hitting his drive into thick rough but responded immediately as he sank a 15-foot birdie try at the next. However, Doyle struggled on the third green with a three-putt bogey.
 
Like Morgan, Doyle took advantage of Nos. 5 and 6. At the fifth, he nearly aced the par-three before tapping in for birdie. At the next, he dropped a 9-iron within four feet of the cup for his third birdie of the day.
 
Doyle again could not maintain his momentum as he dropped a shot at the seventh. He left his 8-iron short in a bunker and was unable to get up-and-down for par.
 
Doyle converted another birdie at the ninth. He knocked his second within 30 yards of the green and chipped within five feet of the cup. He sank that birdie try to head to the back side.
 
'I had four birdies on the front and turned at minus-1,' Doyle said. 'In a way, you're kicking yourself because you think you let the birdies slip away and didn't take full advantage of them.'
 
Around the turn, Doyle made one of the few birdies of the day at the par-4 13th. He missed the green at the par-3 14th and could not save par.
 
Doyle secured his share of the lead with back-to-back birdies at the 15th. He sank a 12-footer at the 465-yard par-4, and got up-and-down from just short of the green for birdie at the par-5 16th.
 
'I made some good ones on the back side,' said Doyle. 'It is probably not realistic to think you can make seven birdies a day over the next two days, but the key is to keep it in the fairway. I haven't seen anybody drive it in the tall stuff and make a par.'
 
Craig Stadler, who is making his Champions Tour debut, and defending champion Fuzzy Zoeller share seventh place at 1-under-par 139. Also tied with that pair are Wayne Levi and Jose Maria Canizares.
 
Bobby Wadkins, the final of three overnight leaders, struggled to a 2-over 72 and stands at even-par 140. He is joined there by Vicente Fernandez and Morris Hatalsky.
 
Jay Sigel, who is playing on his home course, came back with a 2-under 68 and is tied with five others at 1-over-par 141. Lanny Wadkins and Jim Thorpe survived right on the cut line of 7-over-par 147.
 
Among the notables missing the cut were Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer, who all played here in the 1962 PGA Championship, the last major contested at this venue. Nicklaus ended at 10-over-par 150, with Player five shots further back at plus-15. Palmer ended at 19-over-par 159.
 
Jack Fleck, the oldest man in the field at 81, shot consecutive rounds of 16-over 86 to finish last among the field.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Senior PGA Championship
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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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    McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

    Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

    The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

    McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.