Armour All Alone in First

By Sports NetworkSeptember 27, 2003, 4:00 pm
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Tommy Armour III posted a 7-under 63 Saturday and extended his lead to six strokes through three rounds of the Valero Texas Open. Armour completed 54 holes at 21-under-par 189.
His total sets the PGA Tour record for lowest score in relation to par on a par-70 course over a 54-hole stretch. His total of 189 ties the tour record for lowest 54-hole total. John Cook first set the mark in 1996 at the St. Jude Classic and was later matched by Mark Calcavecchia at the 2001 Phoenix Open.
'It's a nice accomplishment to have. I'm glad my name is on there,' said Armour of the scoring record. 'I never shot 21-under in a tournament before.'
Duffy Waldorf, a two-time winner of this event, carded an 8-under 62 to move to 15-under-par 195. Paul Goydos, Glen Hnatiuk, Dan Forsman and Bob Tway share third place at 13-under-par 197.
Armour, who has yet to record a bogey in the tournament, opened with a three- foot birdie at the second on the Resort Course at LaCantera Golf Club. He later dropped a 6-iron within five feet of the cup for birdie at the seventh.
He then rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt at the next hole to make it two straight. Armour, who is looking for his first win since the 1990 Phoenix Open, stuck a pitching-wedge within one-foot of the cup for birdie at the 12th.
After landing his drive in the greenside bunker at the short par-4 16th, Armour got up-and-down for birdie. He sank a 21-footer at the next hole to make it two in a row. He closed in fine fashion as he made a huge putt from over 60-feet out to close with his seventh birdie of the round.
'I'm going to go out and play the first hole and get after it,' Armour said of his plans for the final round. 'No strategy. The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow. You can shoot low on this course. You have to keep going.'
Waldorf started quickly as he sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the first. He sank a 20-footer on the par-3 sixth and made it two straight when he made a five-footer at the next hole.
He dropped a pitching-wedge within three feet for birdie at the ninth, then birdied the par-4 12th to begin a run of three straight birdies. The birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 both came from within four feet.
At the last, he knocked his second shot two feet from the cup for his eighth birdie of the round.
'Today it came together nicely,' said Waldorf, who won here in 1995 and 1999. 'I played real steady golf and I was able to hit the ball close today a lot. That was the difference. I made some key putts on the front side and the middle of the back side, but the last three birdies I had were all pretty short putts.'
Waldorf knows the final round will be tough since he trails by six strokes but he plans on playing his own game.
'Armour will probably be tough to beat,' Waldorf said. 'I'm not going to go out there to try to beat him. I'm going to do the things I did today and put up a score. You don't know what the conditions are going to be. You can't go out there thinking about a score, you have to go out and take what the course gives you and what your game has that day.'
Arron Oberholser fired a 4-under 66 for the third straight round. He stands at 12-under-par 198 alongside K.J. Choi, Stewart Cink and Hal Sutton. Charles Howell III, Richard S. Johnson, Kent Jones, Tim Clark, Tom Lehman and defending champion Loren Roberts are one stroke back at minus-11.
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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.