Kalinowski Leads Charge Into Weekend
Starting the day just one shot off the lead, Kalinowski now finds himself with a 36-hole total of 9-under 133 and a one-stroke cushion over Australian David McKenzie. Ben Pettitt is at 7-under 135, while Andy Johnson (Orlando, FL) is three off the pace. Eight others, including Bryn Parry (Burnaby, BC), Darren Griff (Salt Spring Island, BC) and Winnipegs Todd Fanning, are at 5-under 137.
A total of 62 players shot 1-over par or better to make the cut.
Kalinowski, 30, actually had it to 10-under with just two holes to play but then ran into trouble. After a bogey the par-4 8th, his 17th hole of the day, Kalinowski had to scramble to make par on the 231-yard, par-3 ninth, the toughest hole on the course, coming home. He chipped on from the rough before canning an eight-footer for par that made sure he maintained the outright lead.
I had a look at the hole earlier today and I wanted to keep it right of the pin, said Kalinowski. I thought I hit my chip perfectly, but that green was so soft today. But I made the putt when I needed to.
On Saturday, Kalinowski will be paired with McKenzie, with whom he played on the Buy.com Tour last year.
I know David well, he is a good guy and we will have a lot of fun, added Kalinowski. Im looking forward to it. I just want to have a chance on Sunday with nine holes left. Of course, Id rather have a four or five shot lead, but well see what happens.
McKenzie has had five top-ten showings this season, but is still searching for his first Tour win. He got off to a quick start Friday, getting to 4-under for the day after seven holes, but began to stumble from that point on. After saving par with a crucial chip that came to within six inches of the pin on the par-4 9th, the 34-year-old double-bogeyed number 14 before bouncing back with a birdie on the next hole.
Early on, the wind wasnt that much different than yesterday- thats to say there wasnt much- but you get thinking about it, it gets in your head and you start hitting bad shots, conceded McKenzie. But, all you can do is play your best, and if you are happy with your game at the end of the day, nothing else matters. If on Sunday that turns out to be the lowest score, so be it.
Parry, who finished tied for seventh at the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship in May, says triumphs by fellow Canadians Rob McMillan, Derek Gillespie and Matt Daniel so far this season seems to have boosted the confidence of all Canadians.
From a personal standpoint, I know I have been swinging the club a lot better these last few weeks, said the 30-year-old. I think our guys winning says something about the way Canadian players are developing. We believe we can win at any time, against any players, on any Tour. We are no longer intimidated.
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 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:
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.
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
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.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm