Hearn Leads Heffernan One Back at Texas Challenge
The 22-year-old former amateur star tamed the 6,859-yard Circle C Ranch for a 5-under 67 and finds himself at 11-under 133 through 36 holes, three shots clear of Calgarys Wes Heffernan. Americans Jason Bohn, Steve Runge and Jeff Quinney are four strokes back.
Following play Friday, 71 players had shot 1-over or better to make the cut and will play for the $100,000 total purse over the weekend.
In addition to Hearn and Heffernan, three other Canadians are in the top-10. Winnipeg natives Rob McMillan and Todd Fanning, as well as Brian McCann of Mississauga, are tied for sixth at 6-under. A total of 15 Canadians will see action on the weekend, a fact made even more impressive considering only 38 of the 144 golfers in the starting field hail from Canada.
Craig Matthew of Ile Bizard, QC was the lone Canadian to win a 2001 Tour event when he captured the Ontario Open Heritage Classic last July.
Hearn, a former member of the Canadian World Junior Team who also represented Canada at the Four Nations Cup last year, had a grin from ear-to-ear as he came off the course Friday.
I am pretty excited right now, I worked hard all winter and its nice to see it paying off, he said after hitting 13 of 18 greens in regulation and playing the par-3s at 3-under. I still think I left a few shots out there, but I made a lot of putts.
Perhaps the most telling sign of Hearns confidence level came just past the midway point of the round. After struggling to a double-bogey on the previous hole, he stepped to the tee at the par-3 13th and almost holed out before tapping in a three-footer for birdie.
That shot was big for me, it just kept things going. Ill try to eliminate the mistakes on the weekend, have some fun and see where I am. The key for me is to keep doing my thing.
Last season, the former University of Wyoming star, who advanced to the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying this past fall, made the cut in both Tour events he entered, including a fifth-place finish at the season'ending Bayer Championship. On that day, his first win as a pro was well within reach until Bohn, playing two groups in front of Hearn, snuffed out those hopes with a 13-under 58.
Gee, I remember that like it was yesterday, laughed Hearn when asked about that final day in Sarnia, ON. I begin the day one shot in front of Jason, shoot 67 and lose by eight. Something on the leaderboard didnt look right as we played, and then I realized what it was. He was 9-under on the day through seven holes. It was right then I knew I was playing the rest of the day for fun.
David Hearn hopes to do much of the same this weekend, only this time with a much different result.
Full-field scores from the Texas Challenge
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
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.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
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.”
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.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
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.
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.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
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:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
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.