Quinney Tames Wind Carries Lead Into Final Round
With stiff gusts swirling throughout Kingwood Country Club all day, the 2000 U.S. Amateur champion fired a 1-under 71 to maintain his one-shot edge over Steve Scott (Wellington, FL). Quinney sits at 12-under 204 through 54 holes. Five others are tied for third, four shots back. The top Canadian is Doug McGuigan of Langley, BC, who is tied for 24th a 2-under.
As much as the winds came into play Saturday, nowhere was that more evident on the 478-yard, par-4 seventh, where only one of 66 golfers could card a birdie. With a tricky pin placement thrown in, 37 others grabbed par on the hole, while 28 struggled to a bogey or worse.
Quinney, Scott and Hank Kuehne traded places atop the leaderboard for much of Saturday, but at the end of the day, just as he has in the previous two rounds, Quinney found himself alone in top spot.
It was definitely a grind out there, said Quinney, who is making his Canadian Tour debut in Texas. Nothing went our way today, it was either a cross-wind or it was right in your face-nothing really ran north-south. Anytime you can break par on a day like that, you have to be happy.
Trailing Scott by one stroke on the par-4 15th, Quinney pulled even when his chip from forty feet found the bottom of the cup.
When asked if he considered Sundays final round was a two-man showdown between himself and Scott, the 23-year-old refused to take the bait.
All week long Ive been focused on my game, and Ill do the same Sunday. If I get too much into what other guys are doing, it throws me off my game. To put yourself in a position to go into Sunday with a chance to win your first event is all you can ask.
Scott, the 2001 TELUS Vancouver Open champion, had a chance to stay even with Quinney on the final hole but just missed his par putt. One day after setting a new Forest Course record 9-under 63 at the Kingwood layout, the 1996 U.S. Amateur runner-up was pleased to get out of Saturday in position to take a run at Quinney in the final round.
It was a totally different course today, he said. There were some tough moments out there in those conditions. Its always tough to follow up a 63 with another low score, but I cant be too upset. A 63 will get you back in a tournament awful quick.
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.