Woods, Singh, Pettersson share 36-hole lead at PGA

By Jay CoffinAugust 11, 2012, 12:15 am

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – What year is this? 2000?

Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh shot two of the best rounds Friday at the PGA Championship and now have the Kiawah Island faithful dreaming of days of old heading into the weekend at the Ocean Course.

But there are a lot of big names in the mix.

Woods followed up an opening-round 69 with 71 and is tied for the lead at 4 under par with Singh and Carl Pettersson. Singh shot a second-round 69, the only round in the 60s on the day.

'It was tough out there, wow,' Woods said. 'You can't take anything for granted. Simple tap-in is not a simple tap-in.'

Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell are all within four shots of the pack of leaders.

For now, all eyes are on Woods and Singh. The two won four Masters in a six-year span, from 1997-2002 (of course, three of those were Woods’ green jackets), and they aren’t particularly fond of one another. What makes it even spicier is that both are trying to get back to a place they once felt most comfortable, with major championships in reach.

Woods hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and is facing his fourth consecutive season without a major. Singh has won three majors – including the PGA twice – but the last came in 2004 at another Pete Dye gem, Whistling Straits, which is similar to the Ocean Course in many ways.

The putter was on fire for Woods Thursday with 22 putts and looked invincible again early in the round Friday when he made birdie bombs and key par saves like the Woods of old. He took 26 swats with the putter Friday, but three of them came on the last hole, which prevented him from holding the outright lead overnight.

'I just grinded my way around this golf course,' Woods said. 'I'm very pleased to be able to shoot under par today. That was the goal.'

Singh’s round was clearly the best of the day. It began early Friday on a morning that produced winds near 30 mph. But Singh was smooth and collected five birdies and two bogeys for 69.

'After a while you don't really think about your score,' Singh said. 'You just think about each hole, each shot and try not to mess up.'

Mickelson said after an opening-round 73 that he was going to take more chances during the second round. It paid off to the tune of 71, which was more than six shots below the scoring average. When Mickelson tapped in for bogey on his final hole he was tied for 27th. By the end of the day he was tied for 12th.

Notables missing the cut include Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Players champion Matt Kuchar and U.S. Ryder Cup hopefuls Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler, both of whom are outside the top eight in the U.S. standings.

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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.