Wake Forest Wins Lady Gator Invitational
The Wake Forest women's golf team won the 33rd annual Lady Gator Invitational by a comfortable 19 strokes Sunday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla. It is the Deacons first team victory since capturing the title at the 2000 Bryan National Collegiate. Four Deacons finished in the top-ten this weekend, the most by any of the 18 participating teams.
Ashley Hoagland finished in second place, after a third round even score of 70. It tied for the best score carded in the field today. Only Myrte Eikenaar of Purdue matched Hoagland's performance, and she finished first in the field overall. Hoagland finished with a combined 216, tying her second best performance this season. Her second place finish is a career best.
Christine Hallstrom finished in a tie for sixth place, with rounds of 71, 74 and 77. Her combined 222 was a personal season best, as was her finish in the field. In fact, it was Hallstrom's first top-ten finish this year. Hallstrom finished tied with Duke's Liz Janangelo, who is currently ranked fourth in the nation.
Mandy Goins finished in eighth place, 13 over for the tournament. She offered rounds of 78, 71 and 74 for the Deacons, all of which counted towards team scoring. It was her third top-20 finish of the season, and her first career top-10 performance.
Maggie Simons (74-80-71) carded her best third round performance since a final round 70 in the ACC/SEC challenge last fall. Her 71, just 1 over par, was the second best score in the field on Sunday. The Raleigh, NC native finished ninth overall, her first career top-10 finish and just her second top-20 finish this season.
Laura Crawford finished in a tie for 69th place, with rounds of 83, 77 and 84.
The Deacons finished just ahead of third ranked Auburn. The Tigers shot a combined 902, +62 on the tournament. Auburn's Diana Ramage, the fifth-ranked player in the country, finished fourth overall, with a combined 220. Duke finished third, one stroke behind Auburn. Duke's Brittany Lang, currently ranked third in the nation, finished in fifth place with a 221.
Tournament results are as follows: 1.Wake Forest 2. Auburn (+62) 3. Duke (+63) 4. Ohio State (+67) 5. Purdue (+81) 6. Florida (+82) 7. Georgia (+87) 8. Tulane University (+88) T9. South Carolina (+89) T9. Arkansas, U. of (+89) 11. Furman University (+100) T12. University of Virginia (+105) T12. Florida State Univ. (+105) 14. Michigan State (+111) 15. Vanderbilt (+113) 16. Oklahoma (+118) 17. South Florida (+123) 18. UCF (+155).
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
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.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
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.”
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.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
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.
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.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
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:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
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.