Furyk takes one-shot lead into final round at BMW

By Will GraySeptember 14, 2013, 10:09 pm

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – While Jim Furyk wasn’t able to replicate yesterday’s record-tying 59 at Conway Farms Golf Club, he did do enough to stay out in front of the elite 70-man field assembled this week in Chicago. Here’s how things shape up heading into the final round of the BMW Championship, where Furyk holds a one-shot advantage:

Leaderboard: Jim Furyk (-13), Steve Stricker (-12), Brandt Snedeker (-11), Zach Johnson (-10), Tiger Woods (-9)

What it means: After becoming just the sixth man in PGA Tour history to shoot golf’s magic number, Furyk needed 10 more shots to make his way around Conway Farms Saturday. Still, a 2-under 69 was enough to give the former FedEx Cup champion a one-shot advantage after 54 holes, as Furyk eyes his first win in nearly three years.

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Round of the day: Playing amid benign conditions early Saturday morning, Matt Kuchar was able to surge up the leaderboard thanks to a bogey-free 61. The former Players champion carded five birdies on each side and did not make more than a 4 on any single hole, moving up 45 spots on the leaderboard in the process. Kuchar will now begin the final round tied for 16th, eight shots behind Furyk.

Best of the rest: Once again demonstrating that semi-retirement may be the way to go, Stricker carded a 7-under 64 Saturday to earn a spot in Sunday’s final pairing. His round was highlighted by a holed-out wedge for eagle at the par-4 15th hole, while he bounced back from his lone bogey of the day at No. 17 with a birdie on the home hole to fire the day’s second-lowest total.

Biggest disappointment: Following an opening-round 67, Adam Scott appeared poised to contend this week in Chicago, but after two consecutive mediocre rounds he appears headed for a middle-of-the-pack finish for the second event in a row. Saturday’s effort resulted in a 4-over 75 for the Aussie – a round that included six bogeys across Scott’s first 12 holes – and at 2-over 215, Scott is now tied for 41st and in danger of dropping out of the top five in the FedEx Cup standings heading to East Lake.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Furyk remains the man of the week, as he has a chance to erase some of the disappointment of his recent string of near-misses on Tour. He’ll be alongside Stricker, still in search of his first win this year despite an incredibly consistent campaign, while world No. 1 Woods lurks four shots back, still with hopes of erasing Friday’s controversial two-shot penalty.

Shot of the day: Already in the midst of a good round, things got appreciably better for Hunter Mahan at the 208-yard, par-3 17th. It was there that the veteran carved a 5-iron that bounded off a greenside mound, onto the putting surface and into the cup for a hole-in-one that earned Mahan, among other things, a new car. A third-round 65 moved him into a tie for eighth after 54 holes.

Quote of the day: “I’ve holed out a few wedges over my career, but I don’t know if any of them slam-dunked like that.” – Stricker, describing his wedge shot from 99 yards on 15 that went in for an eagle.

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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.