Teen Leads in Tennessee
'Im not nervous, Gulbis said after recording 66 in the third round to move to 11-under-par. Im just very excited for the opportunity to play in the last group. Ive never been in the lead group at the end, so itll be good to see how I stack up to the other players.
The cross-handed putter with the self-proclaimed homemade swing recorded seven birdies with mom and dad in the gallery to watch. A lone bogey on the 360-yard, par-4 eighth marred her otherwise perfect round.
Paired with Pat Hurst, the twosome experienced a first on the 16th Saturday.
We both had tap-ins for par and she elected to go first and asked if I minded if she tapped in first, Gulbis said. I have a metal ball marker and it stuck to her putter. It actually stuck there a couple of times and we had to call an official to decide where to replace the mark.
You know, I was an inch in front of her ball and I was wondering whether or not to putt or to move her ball-marker aside and I asked her, because it was kind of up in the air and when I went to tap it down it stuck to the putter, Hurst recollected.
'I knew as soon as I did it that it was not on the ground and I dont think that it has ever happened before, but I did not think that it would be a penalty because it was not my marker it was hers. I think had it been mine I would have been more nervous and I would have not known what to do.'
Hurst recorded par on the 16th. In all, she had four birdies and two bogeys on her way to recording a 67.
First-round leader Brandie Burton is tied with Hurst at 10-under. Burton recorded eagle on the par-5 fourth, where she chipped in from 45 yards. In addition, she recorded one birdie and one bogey on her way to shooting her highest score of the tournament.
On this golf course, every hole was birdieable today, Burton said lamenting her perfomance. Weve played three different golf courses in three days. Every day has been opposite, its unbelievable. The greens are rolling really smooth, so if you find the right line and get a good stroke moving, its going to go in. That was obviously shown today with a lot of low scores.
Annika Sorenstam, not at all pleased with a second round of 72, sent herself to the range until dark Friday. Saturday, she gained back some ground, recording 70 to move to 9-under. She carded four birdies and back-to-back bogeys on No.s 11 and 12 - the same two holes as Hurst.
I think I was off to a solid start and I struck the ball good then and then I lost the swing a bit, but it was once again a good comeback with my swing. Sorenstam said just prior to heading to the range again. 'I hope to hit it good and get off to a good start again tomorrow. I would like to hit the ball good and I am really looking forward to playing tomorrow and I think I will be ready to go once again.
Only one round stands in the way of a first win for Gulbis, but with so many good players at the top of the leaderboard Pat Hurst summed up her chance when she said, Its anybodys tournament tomorrow.
Full-field scores from the Aerus Electrolux USA Championship
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.
Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.
He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.
Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.
The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.
''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''
Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.
''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.
Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.
“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”
Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.
Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.
Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.
Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.
“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”
Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.
“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.
This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."