Heffernan Sets Early Pace In Victoria

By Marty HenwoodJune 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeVICTORIA, BC -- Canadian Wes Heffernan lost a roommate to the PGA Tour earlier this year. A few more days like Thursdays opening round of the Canadian Tours Times Colonist Open and Heffernan may be on his way to joining David Hearn on golfs biggest stage.
 
On a wet and windy day at Uplands Golf Club, the Calgary native opened with a 5-under 65 to get the early jump in the Tours first Canadian event of the year. Canadians Mike Mezei, Ray Stewart and Philip Jonas sit one stroke back along with Robert Hamilton and Craig Kanada. Seven others opened with a 67.
 
Heffernan, the 1999 Canadian amateur runner-up, spent the past three seasons traveling with Hearn, the defending champion in Victoria. Shortly after his first Canadian Tour triumph on Vancouver Island last summer, Hearn captured the Nationwide Tours Alberta Classic.
 
Four months later, Hearn punched his ticket onto the PGA Tour.
 
On Thursday, as Heffernan stepped up to the first tee in British Columbia, Hearn was on the other side of the continent, taking his swings with the top players on the planet at the U.S. Open.
 
It was awesome having your good friend going from here to the PGA Tour so quickly, said Heffernan. I wouldnt mind rooming with David again'out there (on the PGA).
 
Despite not playing a practice round, Heffernan, who arrived early Thursday morning after playing in the Alberta Open, tamed the 6,420-yard layout for his best round of the year. Heffernan drove the par-4 8th and cashed in a birdie putt. On the inbound nine he drained three birdie putts from off the fringe.
 
I was strong off the tee, hit some great approach shots and putted well, he added. I havent done that in a while.
 
Mezei, a former Canadian amateur standout who is coming off an appearance for Canada at last months Four Nations Cup, is playing in his first Tour event as a professional, less than a week after earning his playing card at Spring Qualifying School.
 
As far as debuts go, they dont get a whole lot better.
 
It was a solid round, said Mezei. Its a great golf course, and I was able to hit a lot of fairways.
 
Hamilton, the 2001 U.S. amateur runner-up, finished second to Patrick Damron two years ago at this event and will be taking aim at his first Tour title over the next three days. Starting his day on the back nine, Hamilton recovered from back-to-back bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 7th when he converted a 45-foot putt.
 
At any level, its always important to bring your A-game every day, reasoned Hamilton. With the type of players you have here, you dont want to get behind the eight-ball early on. Im excited about the start, but Ill have to come out tomorrow and try to go lower.
 
If the youth movement at the top of the leaderboard represented a changing of the guard Thursday, someone forgot to tell Jonas and Stewart. There is 44 years of professional experience between the two of them and the duo seems intent on giving their younger colleagues a run for their money this weekend.
 
Jonas, the 2000 QuebecTel champion, spends most of his time these days teaching golf but is showing he still has the game to compete. He also opened with a 66 the last time the event was staged at the Uplands in 2002, eventually winding up 23rd.
 
In 1997, Jonas held a two-shot lead in Victoria late on Sunday before incurring a one-stroke penalty when his ball moved on the fairway as he addressed his shot. Clearly rattled, Jonas would place second to fellow Canadian Rick Todd.
 
These days, life is a whole lot less stressful.
 
Its almost easier for me now, admitted Jonas. I just go out there and play and see where it takes me. Maybe if I am in contention Sunday, Ill get a little nervous. Im not going to worry about that right now.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Times Colonist Open
  • Full Coverage - Times Colonist Open
  • Getty Images

    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.” 

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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. 

    Getty Images

    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.