ADT Field of Eight Set for Shootout

By Sports NetworkNovember 18, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- One day after a six-woman playoff for three spots to enter the third round, Saturday offered less drama, but the final eight players have moved on to Sunday's final round of the ADT Championship.
Il Mi Chung holed out for eagle at the 14th, en route to a 7-under 65. She finished as the medalist at 9-under-par 207, one shot better than Julieta Granada (69) and Mi Hyun Kim (65).
Natalie Gulbis
Natalie Gulbis is in search of her first LPGA Tour title.
Ai Miyazato only managed an even-par 72, but is fourth at minus-7. Karrie Webb posted a 2-under 70 on Saturday and came in fifth at 6-under-par 210.
The final three to get into the final round shared sixth at minus-4.
Player of the Year Lorena Ochoa (67), Paula Creamer (70) and Natalie Gulbis (72) earned the final spots on Sunday.
Not that the 54-hole scores mean anything.
In the first year of this season-ending event, the scores for the eight players who advanced to the final round are wiped out. Essentially, it's a shootout on Sunday and the lowest score wins and pockets an LPGA Tour record $1 million.
'It's such an interesting format,' acknowledged Gulbis, who could make her first LPGA Tour victory a very lucrative one. 'It's been fun and really exciting.'
Gulbis was the last player to secure her spot. She was 1 under par through her first seven holes, but back-to-back bogeys at eight and nine almost cost her a spot in the final round.
Gulbis failed to get anything going through the five holes of her second nine, but a 10-foot birdie putt at the 15th got her to 4 under par, inside the bubble.
At both the 16th and 17th holes, Gulbis had good birdie looks that could solidify her place on Sunday. She missed both and needed a par or better to avoid a playoff with Jeong Jang for the final spot.
Gulbis hammered her drive over the water at the closing hole at Trump International safely finding the fairway. She knocked her second just short of the green, but got a great bounce and rolled to 12 feet. Gulbis lagged her birdie try, then tapped in for her berth in the final round.
'I knew at the turn that I needed a couple of birdies coming in,' said Gulbis. 'I'm a leaderboard watcher.'
Creamer also went through a little anxiety before earning her spot. Last year's LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year made the turn at 1 under par, but a bogey at the 11th knocked her outside the top eight.
Creamer holed a putt from just off the green at the par-4 13th to reach 3 under par. She was still outside the mark, but one more birdie would get her in, or all pars could mean a playoff.
She waited until the last hole to cement her status. Creamer landed in the short grass off the tee, then hit a spectacular approach to 3 feet. She rolled in the putt and advanced to Sunday.
'I've always said I like playing under pressure,' said Creamer. 'That was a big shot and I'll try to have the same attitude as today. It will be an interesting Sunday.'
Chung cruised along with four birdies through her first 11 holes, including three in a row from the second. It was her spectacular approach at the 14th that got her in position for medalist honors.
Chung hit her second left of the flag, but the ball took the slope and rolled in from almost 25 feet. The eagle put her at minus-8, then a birdie at the last moved her one ahead.
Jang was the closest to moving into Sunday's final round, but a 2-under 70 n Saturday left her one shy of the number.
Diana D'Alessio (72), Juli Inkster (70) and Cristie Kerr (71) finished at 1-under-par 215. Hee-Won Han (73) and Se Ri Pak (75) tied at 1-over-par 217.
Morgan Pressel struggled to a 3-over-par 75 to finish at 4-over-par 220. Wendy Ward was even worse with an 11-over 83 and came in at 8-over-par 224.
The field started at 32, but was cut to 16 after Friday's second round. Inkster, Pressel and Ochoa survived the six-player extra session. Brittany Lang, Pat Hurst and Jee Young Lee were knocked out.
Annika Sorenstam, who won the last two titles at the ADT Championship, went 74-72 and missed the cut.
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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

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    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:

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    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.