Another First Time Winner on European Tour

By Sports NetworkMarch 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
European TourMADEIRA, Portugal -- Daniel Vancsik fired his fourth round in the 60s Sunday to runaway and win the Madeira Islands Open by seven strokes.
 
Vancsik closed with his third 4-under 68 of the week to complete his first tour win at 18-under-par 270. His total of 270 tied the tournament scoring record that Des Smyth set in 2001.
 
The Argentine had previously not finished better than tied for 16th on the European Tour.
 
'It was a surprise to me to play so well this week,' admitted Vancsik. 'But when you feel good with your putting and your short game, which my new coach has helped me with, you can relax on the course.'
 
Santiago Luna, who got as close to Vancsik as anyone on Sunday (six shots), carded a 3-under 69 to share second place at 11-under-par 277. He was joined there by David Frost, who shot 68 on Sunday. Christian Cevaer, Euan Little and Mads Vibe-Hastrup shared fourth place minus-9.
 
Vancsik got off to a flying start with birdies on two and three to move to 16 under. He stumbled to a bogey on three, but his lead was still six strokes.
 
The 30-year-old pushed that lead to seven strokes as he ran off three straight birdies from the seventh. The only reason his lead wasn't nine shots was the fact that Luna matched Vancsik's birdies on seven and nine.
 
Vancsik put things out of reach for good as he collected back-to-back birdies from No. 11 at Santo da Serra Golf Club. For the week, Vancsik played the par-5 11th at minus-5 with three birdies and an eagle.
 
Owning an eight-stroke lead with six holes to go, Vancsik cruised to the house. He did trip to bogeys at 13 and 15, but there was plenty more room for error. Vancsik parred his final three holes to close out the win.
 
'Vicente Fernandez has helped me a lot with my game, but I have a lot to thank Angel Cabrera and Ricardo Gonzalez for,' stated Vancsik. 'Angel has been text messaging me every day to advise me. He and Ricardo had told me all about the course and staying patient, which helped me a lot this week.'
 
Luna, the 1995 champion, was even-par through six holes before running off four birdies in a five-hole span from the seventh. That got Luna to 12 under, but he was still eight back. He stumbled into the house with a birdie and two bogeys over his final seven holes.
 
Frost looked like he was going to make a run at the top spot with four front-nine birdies, but he was side tracked by a triple-bogey on four. He birdied 10 and 11 to get to 10 under. Frost dropped a shot on 13, but birdied 15 and 18 to climb into a share of second place.
 
Alexander Noren, Gregory Bourdy and Simon Nash tied for seventh place at 8-under-par 280. Francesco Molinari, who won the Italian Open last year, ended one shot further back at minus-7.
 
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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.