Late finish means no Phoenix qualifier for some

By Will GrayJanuary 28, 2013, 2:46 am

SAN DIEGO - When the decision was made to move the conclusion of the Farmers Insurance Open to later in the day Monday, several players in the field likely saw their chances of playing at next week's Waste Management Phoenix Open disappear.

Of the 87 players to make the cut this week, 16 are also set to play in tomorrow's Monday qualifier in Phoenix, where 151 participants will fight for just three available spots. When fog essentially wiped out play Saturday, tournament officials originally indicated that those in the field here at Torrey Pines would be given the latest possible tee times in Phoenix, in the hopes that they would be able to play in both places.

With play now not set to resume until 11:10 a.m. PT, it will be impossible for those players to make the qualifier at TPC Scottsdale. PGA Tour vice president of rules Mark Russell indicated that the timing of Monday's restart was dictacted by CBS' decision to air the event live Monday afternoon.

'They're our television partners, and they wanted to show it,' he explained, noting that the decision on when to resume play Monday was one that was made late Sunday morning. 'I thought we'd probably come in and finish tomorrow morning on Golf Channel, but CBS wants to do that and we're more than happy to accommodate.'

Those affected by the decision include several players in contention, notably Brad Fritsch, who will begin play Monday in fourth place with 11 holes remaining. Billy Horschel and Tag Ridings, both currently tied for 16th at 4 under, are also among the players whose plans for next week have been affected. When they get back on the South Course Monday, however, they - like Fritsch - will do so knowing that a top-10 finish at Torrey Pines will also grant them a spot in next week's field.

With the shortened 2013 season, getting the maximum amount of starts has become paramount for many second- and third-tier players hoping to renew their playing privileges for 2014. Ultimately, though, Russell redirected the root cause of the issue to yesterday's fog delays.

'We're at the mercy of the weather,' he added. 'I think it's great for the tournament, great for the San Diego area and great for Farmers that it's going to be on network television.'

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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.