American Leads Canadian Tour in Mexico

By Marty HenwoodMay 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeMORELIA, Mexico -- Michael Walton is in the clubhouse with a three-shot lead after Thursdays suspended second round of the Canadian Tours Michelin Morelia Classic.

The 29-year-old Palm Desert, Calif. native fired a 7-under 65 at Tres Marias Residential Golf Club to build a 12-under 132 total through 36 holes.

Fellow Californian Robert Hamilton, the 2001 U.S. Amateur runner-up, lit up Tres Marias for a course-record 9-under 63 and is tied for second with Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., thee shots off the lead.

Stuart Anderson of Edmonton is at minus-8 while Derek Gillespie, David Mathis and Ryan Miller are in the house at 6-under 138.

Lightning caused a one-hour delay Thursday afternoon and play was halted due to darkness at 8:55 pm Eastern with 31 players still on the course. They will be back in position Friday morning to wrap up the second round before the field is cut to the low 60 scores plus ties.

Walton, who shared the overnight lead with John Humphries, was quick out of the gate with a birdie on his opening hole and followed that up with an eagle on the par-5 fifth. He added birdies on numbers six and eight and hit the halfway pole at 4-under for the day.

Beginning his second round on the intimidating back nine at Tres Marias, Hamilton didnt let the three-tiered greens and dramatic elevation changes throw him off his game as he reeled off four birdies on his way to a 3-under 33 at the turn. With the toughest holes behind him, Hamilton took advantage on the front side with six birdies.

That was pretty good stuff, quipped Hamilton. To make four birdies on that back nine definitely helped out. If you can do that, youre ahead of the game. Anything can happen on this course, so Ill just keep doing the things that are working for me. Im dissecting the course and taking what it gives me.

LPGA star Natalie Gulbis had set the previous Tres Marias benchmark with a 66 last month during the Corona Morelia Championship.

Baryla, who also began his day on the tenth tee, turned at 4-under, thanks in part to a 45-foot eagle putt on an uphill six-foot slope on the par-5 18th. On his inbound nine, the 22-year-old former University of Texas-El Paso star birdied number one before the weather delay. Once play resumed, brisk winds began to swirl through the 7,254-yard layout and Baryla just tried to keep the ship righted over his final eight holes.

I scraped it around there coming in, he admitted. I think the suspension may have thrown me out of my groove, but what can you do? Ive got no complaints at all.

Less than a month after his first Tour win at the Foster Farms California Classic, Anderson is poised to make a run at a second title in three starts. One week ago, Anderson, who is second on the money list, finished 11th at the Corona Mazatlan Classic.

Being in contention once again is a feeling Anderson seems to be getting used to.

In years previous, if I was 40th heading into the weekend it really didnt mean that much, said Anderson, who posted a 31 on his front side Thursday. It was hard for me to get motivated. Ill take this route every week and never have a complaint. Theres no pressure to have to make a big move.

Hamilton managed a career best runner-up finish at the 2002 Victoria Open and is coming off a fourth in Morelia.

This weekend, he will be looking to get that elusive first victory in the Tours sixth official event of the season.

I know I can win out here, added Hamilton. Im giving myself plenty of opportunities, and my frame of mind is where I want it to be. Now Ive just got to go out there and do it.

With rounds of 68-67 now in the books, Baryla, like Hamilton, is cautiously optimistic as he chases he first Canadian Tour crown.

You know, its a good first two rounds, but thats all it is. Ive put myself in great position, but there is still a lot of work to do.

Michael Harris of Troy, Mich. aced the par-3 sixth Thursday on his way to a 1-under 71 Thursday.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Michelin Morelia Classic
  • Full Coverage - Michelin Morelia Classic
  • Getty Images

    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    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.''

    Getty Images

    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    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. 

    Getty Images

    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    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.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “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. 

    Getty Images

    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    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."