Parnevik All Smiles in LA
Parneviks father, Bo, is considered the Bob Hope of Sweden, a famous comedian in his country.
His son is noted for being a little offbeat as well: Quirky clothes, including a hat with a turned up bill; a past nutrition regime that included eating volcanic ash; and naming his children, Peg, Penny, Phillipa and Phoenix.
Parnevik is also humorously tinkering with his game, though the reason for the changes are no laughing matter.
The first round of the Nissan Open gave Parnevik reason to smile. He shot a 6-under 65 to lead the first round of the tournament at Riviera Country Club over David Peoples, Jose Maria Olazabal, Toru Taniguchi and Billy Andrade.
Parnevik had been playing horribly the first part of the season, even joking with his caddie about it.
I had a bet with my caddie that wed keep playing until we won, Parnevik said. The way I was playing it looked like it was going to be a long year.
He had entered every PGA Tour event this season, and of the six events he missed two cuts and his best finish was a tie for 15th.
I hate playing bad golf, I guess everyone does, Parnevik said. I was putting in 10-12 hour days and not getting any results. I dont think Ive ever played this poor.
The cure for what ailed Parnevik was not surprisingly, fairly unorthodox. He was playing in the pro am on Wednesday and was faced with a 20-foot putt. On a whim he decided to try a cross-handed grip and made the putt.
I couldnt get comfortable over the ball, Parnevik said. I decided to try this. It felt weird at first.
He practiced it a bit after his round and decided to stick with it. It paid off, as he made two eagles Thursday on putts of 20 and 25 feet.
That took care of the putting woes, but he still had to fight flaws in his swing. Not that Parnevik is vain, but he was walking past a mirror Wednesday night in his hotel and took a look. While he was swinging he noticed he wasn't rotating his hip enough.
It was pretty simple, Parnevik said. I hit the ball (Thursday) 30 yards longer and straighter.
Going against conventional logic has never bothered Parnevik and the reason for the abrupt changes were simple.
When you are desperate, you are desperate, Parnevik said. Youll try anything as long as you think it will work.
Andrade was also struggling this season. He had missed the cut in all three tournaments he played in and took some time off the last two weeks to rest.
I didnt think a whole lot, Andrade said. I just let it happen.
The break was good for Andrade, who said it allowed him to get away from golf. I feel good about myself now and the way Im playing, Andrade said. I went out and played a great round of golf.
Olazabal is trying to capitalize on his victory last week at the Buick Invitational, and used a strong driver for the 5-under 66.
The drive on No. 5 was the only bad drive I had all day long, said Olazabal, who double bogeyed the hole. Sometimes you have to go backwards to make the changes you need.
Full-field scores from the Nissan Open
Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
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."
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.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
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.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
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.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.
Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.
Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.
“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”
Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.
“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.
This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.