Strong Finish Keeps Perez at the Top

By Golf Channel NewsroomDecember 1, 2001, 5:00 pm
Pat Perez saved the best for last Saturday, birdieing his final two holes to maintain his lead with two rounds remaining in the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Perez shot 2-under 70 to finish 72 holes of play at the Bear Lakes Country Club at 2-under-par 268. He leads Shaun Micheel by one shot. Micheel sank a 20-foot curler for birdie on the final hole for a round of 67.
Pete Jordan, a member of the PGA Tour since 1994, is in third place at 18-under, after a 64. Jordan finished this season 130th on the PGA Tour money list, and has conditional status on tour in 2002.
Going into this event, I figured I'd be in 20 tournaments next year off of last years money list, Jordan said. Im playing for 10, 15 more and be able to choose what I want to play in, instead of them telling me what to play.
Perez, a winner on the Buy.Com Tour in 2000, started the day two shots clear of Tommy Armour III, thanks to a third-round 63. He parred his first ten holes in the fourth round before bogeying the par-3 11th.
Perez then recorded an eagle at the par-5 12th, only to make his second bogey in three holes at No. 13.
Even-par on the afternoon, and tied for the lead, Perez birdied both the par-5 17th and the par-4 18th to regain a one-stroke advantage entering the final two rounds.
Managed a couple (of birdies) coming in - saved the day, Perez said. Im here to win. Obviously, the No. 1 guy is better off out of this deal ' just keep playing the way I am and see what happens the next two days.
Armour (71) and Robert Gamez (66) are among six players tied for fourth place at 17-under.
Gary Nicklaus shot 3-under 69 to finish four rounds tied for 13th at 15-under.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Ty Tryon moved from a tie for 61st as the day began into a tie for 42nd with a Saturday 68.
The top 35 players and ties upon Mondays conclusion earn their 2002 PGA Tour cards.
Full-field scores from the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament
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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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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).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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 contacted 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.