Featured groups: McGladrey Classic

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2012, 9:19 pm

The PGA Tour heads to coastal Georgia for the third event of the Fall Series as the Seaside Course hosts The McGladrey Classic. Who will put together a big week as the 2012 PGA Tour season nears its conclusion?

Click here for a full list of first round tee times. Here are a few groups to keep an eye on this week in Sea Island, Ga.:

7:35 a.m. (off 10 tee): Tom Pernice, Jr., Kevin Chappell, Harris English

Chappell enters this week as the odd man out, currently 126th on the money list, and has two weeks left to play his way to a Tour card for 2013. As a Valdosta native, Sea Island resident and University of Georgia alum, English completes the Peach State trifecta and will likely have some serious fan support from the hometown crowds. Pernice, meanwhile, continues to serve as an example for Vijay Singh among others that a PGA/Champions Tour double-dip is possible.

8:05 a.m. (10 tee): Zach Johnson, Ben Crane, Davis Love III

Two of the area's more popular residents find themselves paired with the defending champion for the first two rounds. Love calls Sea Island home, while Johnson now resides in neighboring St. Simons Island. The pair were together as captain and player at the Ryder Cup, and while Johnson is making his first start since Medinah, Love seemingly has not yet taken a break since putting down his walkie-talkie for the final time. Crane, who a year ago won in a playoff over Webb Simpson, tees it up a week after a back injury forced him to withdraw from the Frys.com Open.

8:15 a.m. (10 tee): Jonas Blixt, David Toms, Jim Furyk

Blixt became the third rookie to win on Tour this year with his victory at CordeValle, and now is making a serious push for Rookie of the Year honors. Toms, whose name is among the leaders for the U.S. Ryder Cup captaincy in 2014, is making his first start since withdrawing from the Deutsche Bank Championship for personal reasons and knows a thing or two about playing golf in SEC country. Furyk is playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup, hoping to erase some of the painful memories of Medinah and end his season on a high note.

12:35 p.m. (1 tee): Gary Woodland, Vijay Singh, Charles Howell III

Having found the fountain of youth, 49-year-old Singh tees it up again on the heels of his T-4 finish last week, his best result on Tour in over a year. Woodland (T-9) and Howell (T-11) also turned in much-needed solid performances at CordeValle. This group could produce some of the longest drives of the week on the Seaside Course, with each player averaging at least 295 yards off the tee this season.

12:45 p.m. (1 tee): Jason Day, Stewart Cink, Bud Cauley

Georgia resident Cink will have support from the galleries as he pairs with two of the game's best young guns. Cauley will be looking to improve upon last year's T-15 result as he seeks his fifth top-10 finish in the last nine starts of his impressive rookie campaign. Day, meanwhile, continues to bounce back from mid-season injury woes and finished in solo fourth position in Las Vegas the last time he teed it up two weeks ago.

1:35 p.m. (1 tee): Bobby Gates, Alexandre Rocha, Jason Kokrak

A trio of men looking to continue their late-season momentum as their focus closes on the magic number for the next month - 125. Kokrak's runner-up result last week got him on the right side of the number (currently 117th on the money list), while at 128th Rocha still has some work to do despite his T-4 finish at CordeValle. Gates is a bit further back at 137th, and although he missed the cut last week he does have a T-13 showing from Vegas the week prior upon which he can hope to build.

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.