You Oughta Know: Shriners Hospitals Open

By Will GrayOctober 20, 2013, 12:58 am

Following a Saturday 67, Webb Simpson has created some separation from the field in Las Vegas as he closes in on his fourth career PGA Tour title. Here's what You Oughta Know heading into the final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where the former major winner holds a four-shot advantage:

• Though he's been a stalwart among the top ranks of the OWGR for more than a year, Simpson is still in search of his first victory since his breakthrough triumph at the 2012 U.S. Open. The former Wake Forest standout has carried his hot form into the new season, having carded a 63 to finish fourth at last month's Tour Championship in his most recent stroke-play start.

• While Simpson appears to have a commanding advantage, he has converted only one of four prior 54-hole leads into a victory, that win coming at the 2011 Wyndham Championship. Simpson most recently held the lead heading into Sunday at the 2012 Greenbrier Classic, where the dropped into a tie for seventh after a final-round 73.

• Simpson's playing partner in Sunday's final pairing will be Chesson Hadley, who moved into second place thanks to a third-round 67 and trails Simpson by four shots. While the 26-year-old may be somewhat unfamiliar to many golf fans, he has a proven pedigree: Hadley won twice this year on the Tour, including a triumph at the season-ending Tour Championship to secure his playing privileges on the PGA Tour for the 2013-14 season.

• Entering Sunday in a tie for fifth, Ryo Ishikawa hopes to capitalize better on his final-round opportunity than he did last week at CordeValle. The Japanese sensation was tied for seventh through 54 holes at the Open last week, but struggled to a closing 72 to fade to a T-21 finish. Ishikawa now again finds himself in contention, albeit seven shot behind Simpson, as one of only seven players in this week's field to card 68 or better in each of the first three rounds.

• After briefly holding a share of the lead during the third round Saturday, it's clear that Jason Bohn feels comfortable in Las Vegas, and specifically at TPC Summerlin. Making his fifth start in this event, Bohn has never carded an over-par round – notching a trio of top-25 finishes in the process – a streak that he continued with Saturday's 2-under 69. At 13 under, he sits alone in fourth place, six shots behind Simpson, as he looks for his third career PGA Tour win.

• Any list of players 'comfortable' in Las Vegas must include Ryan Moore, a resident of the city, former UNLV standout and this week's defending champion. After a 2-under 69 Saturday, Moore sits in a large tie for fifth place at 12 under, seven shots off the pace. Should he rally to overtake Simpson, Moore would become the first player to successfully defend at this event since Jim Furyk went back-to-back in 1998-99.

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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).

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 phoned 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. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.