Pair of 62s Lead in Chattanooga

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
Nationwide TourChattanooga, TN -- Garrett Willis and Brandt Snedeker fired matching 10-under-par 62s on Thursday to share the lead after one round of the Classic.
 
Both players carded bogey-free rounds, Willis with 10 birdies and Snedeker with six birdies and two eagles. They matched the Black Creek Club record established by Doug Barron in 2004.
 
Craig Bowden and Kevin Gessino-Kraft are tied for third place at 9-under- par 63 after a low-scoring first round that saw 128 of the 156 players shoot even-par or better.
 
Dicky Pride and Spike McRoy share fifth place at minus-8 -- one shot ahead of eight players who are tied for seventh.
 
Both leaders began their rounds on the back nine, but Willis was the first to reach 10-under after starting in an early morning group.
 
He opened slowly enough with four straight pars before going on a tear that saw him birdie four straight holes and 10 of his final 14.
 
'There are a lot of birdie holes out there, the golf course is in phenomenal shape and I don't think we've putted on greens this pure all year,' said Willis, an East Tennessee State grad.
 
'When you've got a lot of wedges in your hands, reachable par fives and pure greens, these guys are going to take it low.'
 
Low is an understatement when the scoring average is 69.538 and there are 14 players at minus-7 or better after the first round.
 
'I was thinking of birdieing them all,' said Willis. 'I said before the week started that it would take 30-under and I don't even know if that number is safe.'
 
Snedeker, a Tennessee native, opened with consecutive birdies at the 10th and 11th holes, then reached 4-under with an eagle at the par-5 14th.
 
Birdies at the 17th and 18th put him at minus-6 around the turn, where he would remain until going birdie-eagle at the fifth and sixth holes. Snedeker carded his final birdie at the eighth to tie Willis for the lead.
 
He could have led outright, if not for a missed 10-foot birdie putt at his final hole.
 
'I'm just disappointed I hit such a bad putt on that hole,' Snedeker lamented. 'It's not too often you get a chance to shoot that low a number. When you do you want to take advantage of it, and I hit the worst putt of the day.'
 
Defending champion Jason Schultz has moved on to the PGA Tour. Last year, Schultz outlasted three other players to win on the sixth playoff hole.
 
Related Links:
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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.