Son watching, Woods finishes strong at Honda

By Randall MellMarch 2, 2012, 7:09 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn’t have to look far for inspiration to close hard Friday at the Honda Classic and make the cut.

With Charlie Axel Woods, Tiger’s 3-year-old son, being toted around the gallery for the final nine holes, Woods rallied late.

Charlie, accompanied by Tida, Tiger’s mother, watched from a balcony above the ninth green when his father holed a 10-foot birdie putt to finish off a round of 2-under-par 68 with a birdie-birdie finish.

This is believed to be the first time Charlie has attended a PGA Tour event that his papa was playing. Woods now makes his home in Jupiter Island, about 20 miles from PGA National.

After rinsing his tee shot and making double bogey at his 14th hole, Woods was teetering along the cut line.

“I got it going, lost it, got it going, lost it and then got it going,” Woods said. “It was a little bit of a fight today, probably the worst I've hit the ball in months.”

Woods is at 1 under par, seven shots behind leaders Justin Rose and Tom Gillis.

At the fifth tee, Woods’ 14th hole, he came up short at the par 3, his ball spinning back in the water. After playing from the drop area, he missed a 20-footer and made double bogey. From there, the pressure was on, but Woods said he wasn’t thinking of the cut line. He and caddie Joe LaCava were thinking about how far they were behind the leaders.

“I told Joey on the last couple of holes, we go birdie-birdie and we'll be within seven,” Woods said. “And that's really do-able on this golf course. The guys, they don't really go all that low, so if we post a low one tomorrow, we'll be right back in it.

“I didn't really have it today,” Woods said. “But I scored. That's something I can take out of the round. I know I putted a lot better today.”

Woods missed some good birdie chances in the middle of his round – three chances from 12 feet or less in a four-hole stretch – but he made four birdie putts inside 10 feet and also a 25-footer.

“It was nice to get that kind of finish, because I was struggling today a little bit trying to find a motion that was going to get the job done,” Woods said.

Woods wasn’t without a lucky bounce or two. His pushed tee shot at the fourth with an iron beaned Brad Merriman of West Palm Beach, ricocheting off the top of his head to a decent lie, where Woods stuffed his approach to 7 feet to set up birdie.

“I made some bad swings today, but somehow I managed to score,” Woods said.

Woods managed to secure himself two more rounds to prep for the Masters, and perhaps more with a big weekend.

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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.