TOUR Notes Big Names Rds Under Par Streak

By Pga Tour MediaMarch 4, 2008, 5:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
 
PGA Tour (75x100) PGA TOUR:Mark Calcavecchia opened last years PODS Championship with a 75 before going on to victory. It was the highest opening round score by a winner in 10 years or since Jeff Sluman did the same thing at the 1997 Tucson Open. Since the TOUR started tracking such things in 1970, 76 is the highest opening round score that eventually led to victory. Its been done five times, but not since Mike Sullivan accomplished the feat at the 1989 Shell Houston Open.
 
Theres a good field assembled at the PODS Championship this week with five of the Top 10 and 21 of the Top 30 players in the current FedExCup standings on hand.
 
Scott Verplank will be back in action this week looking to extend his TOUR-best streak of consecutive rounds of par or better. Verplank enters the week with 27 in a row. Tiger Woods holds the record of 52 set during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
 
You might look for an international winner this week at the PODS Championship. Five of the previous seven winners have hailed from outside the U.S.'K.J. Choi of Korea (twice), Retief Goosen of South Africa, Vijay Singh of Fiji and Carl Pettersson of Sweden.
 
Second-year player Steve Marino is quietly putting together a strong sophomore season. Marino has made the cut in all seven of his starts with four Top-25 finishes. Hes 17th in the FedExCup standings and leads the TOUR with 14 rounds in the 60s.
 
There were some huge leaps made in the FedExCup standings last week following The Honda Classic. Winner Ernie Els climbed 171 spots all the way to 11th while Brett Quigley and Jose Coceres climbed 115 and 114 spots, respectively.
 

Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
Scott Hoch is entered this week in the Toshiba Classic and will be seeking his third consecutive victory on the Champions Tour. The last person to perform the feat was Jay Haas during the 2006 season. The all-time record is four in a row set by Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1987.
 
More on Hoch: He tuned up for this weeks Toshiba Classic by playing in The Honda Classic on the PGA TOUR last week. The 52-year old made the cut before finishing in a T65.
 
Sandy Lyle will be making his Champions Tour debut this week in Newport Beach looking to join a long list of players who have won in their initial starts on the Tour. A total of 12 have done so, including Mark Wiebe who did it last year at the SAS Championship.
 
Look for low scoring this week at the Toshiba Classic. Newport Beach CC is the second-shortest course on the Champions Tour and last year it played to a stroke average of 69.722 for the week. Jay Haas set the tournament record last year with his 19-under winning total.
 

Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:Two members of the Class of 2007 posted their top finishes of their young PGA TOUR careers this past week at The Honda Classic. Matt Jones (T4) and Michael Letzig (T7), each had their first career Top-10 finish.
 
The victory by Ernie Els at The Honda Classic was the 222nd win by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.
 
With the exception of two tournaments that have only been held once, the PODS Championship is the only tournament on the PGA TOUR that has not been won by a former Nationwide Tour player.
 
Thanks to his win at the Moonah Classic, Ewan Porter is the latest Aussie to join the Nationwide Tour or PGA TOUR. In fact, 43 Australians now compete on the two.
 

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    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.  

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    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).

    “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.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    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.” 

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    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.”

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    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 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:

    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.