Aguilar Leads by Two Strokes after 54 Holes

By Sports NetworkFebruary 16, 2008, 5:00 pm
European TourJAKARTA, Indonesia -- Felipe Aguilar posted a 3-under 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard after three rounds of the Indonesia Open.
The Chilean finished 54 holes at 16-under 194 and two shots in front of a pair of players at Cengkareng Golf Club.
Jeev Milkha Singh carded a 5-under 65 to join Liang Wen-Chong, who fired a 64 on Saturday, in a tie for second place. The pair is in at 14-under-par 196.
James Kamte and Prom Meesawat both shot rounds of 2-under 68 on Saturday to share fourth at minus-13.
Aguilar began Saturday's third round with a two-shot lead, but that was quickly erased thanks to a bogey at the first and a Kamte birdie at the second.
Aguilar stayed at 12-under for a good part of the opening nine and a few players joined him there. Meesawat and Martin Wiegele matched Aguilar in the lead, but Aguilar moved clear with a birdie at the seventh.
A 25-footer for eagle at the par-5 ninth put Aguilar two clear of the field as Wiegele stayed in the hunt. Wiegele plummeted down the leaderboard thanks to three bogeys and a double-bogey in his last six holes.
For Aguilar, that eagle might have been the most challenging putt of the tournament. On Friday, during his round of 62, he estimated he faced only three putts longer than 15 feet.
'I think that eagle putt is the longest putt I have had all week,' said Aguilar.
At the 11th, Aguilar recorded another birdie to reach 16-under par for the championship. He parred his remaining seven holes to take a two-shot lead into the final round.
Aguilar has never won on the European Tour, but did collect a pair of victories last season on the Challenge Tour. He has participated in only one European Tour event this year and missed the cut last week at the Indian Masters.
'It feels pretty good going into tomorrow, but you never know if you're going to win until the last putt drops,' said Aguilar. 'We'll find out tomorrow when the fat lady sings! We'll know after 18 holes tomorrow.
'I really hope it's me but you can never tell with this game. Nothing is for sure in this game.'
That is a sentiment echoed by his closest pursuers.
'I just want to go out there tomorrow and follow my processes and routines,' said Singh, a two-time winner in Europe who used four birdies in a five-hole span before the turn to surge up the leaderboard. 'If it comes to me then great, but we will see what happens.'
'I'm ready to mount a strong challenge tomorrow,' said Wen-chong, the 2007 Asian Tour Number One who posted a 29 on the back nine Saturday. 'I'll try my best. Anything can happen in this game so we are just going to have to wait and see what happens.'
Mark Brown (66), Joost Luiten (66), Prayad Marksaeng (69) and Ter-Chang Wang (66) share sixth place at 11-under-par 199.
Arjun Atwal (66), Adam Blyth (67), Philip Golding (65) and Wiegele (70) are knotted in 10th at minus-10.
Defending champion Mikko Ilonen struggled in Saturday's third round. He posted a 1-over 71 and fell into a large group tied for 37th place at 5-under- par 205.
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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.