Notes Janzen Reminisces Over Stewart

By Mercer BaggsAugust 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
PGA of AmericaSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Lee Janzen won two U.S. Open titles, and both came at the expense of the late Payne Stewart.
Janzen won his first at Baltusrol Golf Club in 1993 and his second at the Olympic Club in 98.
Monday, Janzen played the Lower Course at Baltusrol for the first time since his maiden major triumph 12 years ago and said the memories of his good friend came flooding back.
I did think about him a little bit today, because I played with him in the last round in 93, he said.
Playing the course today, Im telling my caddie, who didnt caddie for me then, shots that he hit, shots that I hit and how the last round was going. And certainly I probably will have some thoughts about him and his family. But thats not unusual. I see his son and his wife quite often when Im home.
Janzen said he started to grow closer to Payne following that final round 12 years ago, and soon became close friends with both him and his family. He got permission from tournament organizers to play with Paynes son, Aaron, in last years Father-Son tournament.
Darren Clarke hasnt played a lot of golf over the last two weeks, so hes trying to knock off the rust over four practice days on the Lower Course.
But hes far from concerned. In fact, he was all smiles in his Monday press conference. Thats because his wife, Heather, is progressing in her on-going battle with breast cancer.
At the minute, shes doing great. Weve just spent two weeks, the whole family down in San Diego and Barbados. Weve been lying on the beach not doing an awful lot, so Im certainly very relaxed coming into this week, to say the least, he said.
And now shes almost back to full health again, and things are good at the moment, which certainly makes it a lot easier for me to come back out and try and play.
Clarke hasnt competed since the Open Championship four weeks ago. He withdrew from the U.S. Open to be with his wife while she was undergoing therapy.
Ian Poulter arrived at Baltusrol a little worse for the wear. Poulter injured himself while practicing last Tuesday. He said he used a training aid to restrict the movement of his lower body, likening the device to a very big rubber band.
It seemed to be pretty painful for sort of two or three days, he said.
I didnt practice the week before last; I had a whole week off, tried to relax, come back, and hit sort of 20, 30 balls and tore some ligaments, I think. It set me back for a couple of days, but the swing is looking good. Ive done some good practice the last couple of days.
As for the Englishmans expressive attire, expect him to again stand out when he walks the fairways. He sported pants emblazoned with the claret jug during the first round of the Open Championship.
As always. As always, he said, when asked if he had something special in store this week. When pushed for a preview, he said, No, with a laugh.
Mike Small is more than just one of 25 club professionals in this championship. Hes the head golf coach at Illinois University.
While his team struggled this past season, finishing last in the Big Ten, Small has personally had a successful summer. And he hopes his success will help his team.
Small won this years PGA Club Professional Championship and the Illinois Open Championship, and made the cut in the PGA Tours Cialis Western Open. This exposure, he expects, will enhance his recruiting.
I think its going to very positively help it and give it some credibility, he said. It gives us a niche. All programs have a niche when they recruit; sometimes its the facilities, the school. This kind of distinguishes or separates us from the average school, so I think its got to help kick-start out relationship (with the recruits).
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    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.''

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    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. 

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    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.