Webb Hopes to Repeat Winning Ways

By Martha BrendleJune 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
The Karrie Webb of old has re-awakened. With the lift, clean and place rule in effect, Webb blew away the rest of the Wegmans Rochester LPGA field during the first round of the tournament with her 8-under-par 64.
 
I definitely took advantage of the morning tee time, Karrie said of her play this morning. Things have been up and down lately, but it feels good to start good.
 
She knew she was on a roll after hitting her 7-iron to three feet on hole No. 1. That was three birdies in a row after holes 17 and 18, she said. That was key because that put me 6-under par through 10 holes.
 
Webb, winner of this event in 1999, is on familiar ground. The awesome Aussie recorded nine birdies today in a round that was nearly perfect, save one bogey on the par-4 sixth. Her closest competitor, Kristal Parker-Manzo, is four strokes behind.
 
It was an incredible turn around for Parker-Manzo, who has missed the cut in five of the 10 events she has played this season. The Ohio native managed to record an error-free round at Locust Hill C.C., which she capped off with four birdies.
 
The green are soft so you can fire at the pins, Parker-Manzo said of her morning tee time. The greens will be tougher this afternoon with all the heel prints. Having a morning time was an advantage today.
 
A seven-year veteran on the LPGA Tour, Parker-Manzos career-best finish is a second-place finish at the 1996 Standard Register PING. Although this wasnt her best round of the season, she described it as the most steady. Ive been working with my coach David Leadbetter, and weve made some changes. I take more time and have been more patient. It all came together today.
 
Gloria Park and Mi Hyun Kim trail the lead, tied for third.
 
Defending champion Laura Davies, who beat all odds to win last years event, recorded an opening 71 after making two bogeys on the backside and three birdies. Davies managed to hit only a discouraging nine fairways and 10 greens in regulation, with 28 putts during her round.
 
Kelly Robbins, Juli Inkster and a number of others finished the first round at 1-under 71
 
Webb finished in the top five a mere two times on the LPGA Tour this year. Her best finish to date is a tie for fourth at the McDonalds LPGA Championship. She has 26 career victories to her credit. Currently 16th on the money list, Webb is over $1 million behind Annika Sorenstam this season.
 
Sorenstam, fresh off her win at the Evian Masters, is taking this week off.
 
Full Scores from the Wegman's Rochester LPGA
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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.