Motomochi Wins US Kids Title

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
Jonnie Motomochi won the boys 12-and-older title for the third consecutive time as more than 650 junior golfers from around the world descended upon Williamsburg, Va., for the fourth annual U.S. Kids Golf World Championship.
The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club once again served as host to an event which featured 12 tournaments for 12 age groups - boys 6 and under through 12, and girls 8 and under through 12. And for the first time the tournament was expanded from a two- to three-round format in the July 31-Aug. 2 event.
Motomochi followed a splendid opening round of 65 with a second -round 70 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round.
There were many who had eagerly anticipated another final round duel between Motomochi and, his good friend and rival, Richard Lee. The two battled down the stretch at last years event but, unfortunately, Lee was forced to withdraw just prior to his scheduled opening-round tee time due to illness.
In the final round, Virginias own Jay Vandeventer closed the gap to two strokes with a two-putt eagle on the second hole. However, Motomochi answered with a birdie-birdie-eagle run midway through the front nine to put the tournament out of reach.
Although the final round had to be cancelled on the back nine due to inclement weather, the outcome was all but a foregone conclusion. The final standings reverted back to the second round with Motomochi declared the winner, followed by Vandeventer, Andrew Yun and Tommy Mou from Taiwan.
In the 11-year-old boys division, Texas lefty Corey Whittset took a commanding five-shot lead into the final round on the strength of back to back 68s in his first two rounds. His closest pursuer, Jonathan Bell from England, was a most familiar face to Whitsett. Both he and Bell treated fans to a dramatic 10-hole playoff in last years event - a playoff eventually won by Whitsett.
Bell, however, was never able to mount the kind of charge needed this year to force another overtime spectacle. Once again Whitsett carried home the prize, followed by Bell, Payne Denman from Tennessee and Bradley Shigizawa from Hawaii.
Other boys champions included the Philippines Allenby Ramos in the age 6-and-under division, Ben Doyle in the boys 7, Landon Hearnes at boys 8, Daniel Chian boys 9 and Panuphol Pillayarat from Thailand in the boys 10.
In the 12-year-old girls division, Kristina Wong from New York sank a 15-foot birdie on the first sudden death extra hole to secure victory over Diana Robogo from Mexico. Wong, a first-timer in the event, followed a strong opening round 69 with a shaky second-round 78 before prevailing on the final day.
Tiffany Lua from California and two Canadians, Jessica Wallace and Brittany Henderson, rounded out the top five. Haaheo Manini-Hewlin, the defending champion, finished sixth.
In the 11-year-old girls division, Mexicos Paloma Martinez was able to out-steady her opponents to capture her fourth consecutive title. Martinez followed two 73s with a strong final round 1-under-par 71 to win by two over Georgias Carrie Metz. Metz, who opened with 69, was unable to overcome a second-round 78.
Lisa McCloskey from Texas, Maria Imeda Piccio from the Philippines and Sara Jones, another Texan, finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
In other girls tournament action, Floridas Alexis Thompson took home the crown in the girls 8-and-under division. The Philippines Dottie Ardina defended her title in the girls 9, as did Indias Tanya Wadhwa in the girls 10. Also Mexico South took home the girls team title. California-South was the winner of the boys team title.
Once again, the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship was a tremendous success, providing a wonderful platform of competition among a diversified field from around the world. Regardless of skill level, families were able to be together, meet new friends, and share the game of golf, a major goal of the U.S. Kids organizers.
And for those competing at the highest level, it was a great opportunity to test their mettle and take their games to new heights. For some, their playing ability is already quite unbelievable. It will be fun to watch them develop in the years to come.
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Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.