Pin, bunkers plague Woods' Friday at Barclays

By Bailey MosierAugust 23, 2013, 11:59 pm

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – 'Come on, Tiger! Smile!'

After walking off the second green having just birdied his opening hole, then two-putting from the fringe on the par-3 second for par, Tiger Woods' face was all business, despite encouragement from fans.

One hole and one birdie later, he finally smiled. He was 2 under through his opening three holes and had moved to 6 under, just three shots off the 36-hole clubhouse lead held by Webb Simpson. He made par at the fourth, then knocked his approach to 5 feet at the fifth and rolled in another birdie.

It's a good thing he got some smiles in early, because the second half of his round was less sizzle and more fizzle.

'I got off to a great start today and then lost it in the middle part of the round and made too many mistakes,' Woods said. 'Didn't hit any greens. Consequently, made some bogeys.'

Woods completed 13 holes before darkness suspended Round 2. He had teed off to the par-3 14th and knocked it to 12 1/2 feet. Of those 13 1/2 holes, Woods hit four of 10 fairways, six of 14 greens and needed 17 putts.

He found his first bunker of the day – an eventual total of six – at the par-5 sixth hole when he knocked 3-wood into the right fairway bunker, just like he did the previous day. He laid up into the fairway, knocked a wedge to 29 feet and two-putted for par. Missed opportunity.

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At the next hole, he hit driver for the first time Friday and sent it sailing into the left bunker. His approach shot settled into a swell left of the green and left him with a tough up-and-down to a tucked pin on a slope, with little green to work with. Playing partner Matt Kuchar – and leader of The Barclays at 10 under – had a similar shot before Woods, and opted to putt his. Kuchar rolled his third shot onto the green to 7 feet and made that for par.

Woods took a different route, opting to flop his. Having examined the shot for a couple minutes and after seven practice strokes, Woods hit a perfect shot. So perfect, in fact, it hit the pin and rebounded 8 feet backwards. Woods missed the downhill putt and recorded his first bogey of the day and first of the tournament.

He made pars at the next two holes, then dropped shots at the 10th and 11th to get back to even par for the round and 4 under total.

On the 10th tee box, Woods showed outward signs of back pain for the first time all day. Before teeing off, Woods rotated his torso to the right once and held his stretch. He then sent his 3-wood sailing left and into a fairway bunker. He winced a few times more on the hole as he knocked his approach short and failed to get up-and down.

'I'm a little sore right now,' Woods said after marking his ball and walking off the 14th green.

When asked if the pain increased throughout the round, Woods simply offered a 'yeah' and said that he was going to get treatment upon exiting the course.

At the par-5 13th, Woods hit 3-wood off the tee and found the center of the fairway, unlike the driver he sent sailing left of the adjacent hole's cart path the day before. He knocked his second shot onto the green but it rolled off the back, leaving him plenty of green to work with for his third shot to a front pin. He knocked it to 2 1/2 feet and tapped that in for birdie.

Night was coming quickly, and the group that included Woods, Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker managed to tee off at the par-3 14th and walk up to the green before play was suspended because of darkness at 7:45 p.m. ET. All the players marked their balls and will resume Round 2 tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.

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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.