Austin Alone on Top in Texas

By Sports NetworkSeptember 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Valero Texas OpenSAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Woody Austin birdied two of his last three holes on Saturday to post a 3-under 67 and grab a one-shot lead at the Texas Open. Austin stands at 13-under-par 197 through 54 holes.
Mark Wilson was in the lead at minus-14, but bogeyed his last two holes to card an even-par 70. He stands at 12-under-par 198 and was joined there by Robert Gamez (68) and second-round leader Dean Wilson (70).
J.J. Henry fired a 4-under 66 Saturday to move into a share of fifth place at minus-11. He was tied there by John Senden, Bob Heintz and Jeff Maggert.
Austin started the day two strokes behind Dean Wilson. Austin fell further back with a bogey on the first. He battled back with a birdie on the second.
The 41-year-old parred his next four holes. Austin dropped another stroke at the par-4 seventh. He atoned for that error with a birdie on the eighth.
Austin tripped to his third bogey at the ninth to make the turn at minus-9. He settled in with four consecutive pars on the Resort Course at LaCantera Golf Club.
The two-time winner on the PGA Tour then eagled the par-5 14th to move to minus-11 after hitting his approach from 202 yards out to 2 feet.
Austin rolled in a birdie on the 16th to get within one of Mark Wilson's lead. After Wilson bogeyed the last, Austin birdied the same hole to take the out-right lead after three rounds.
'It's all new, but it's all new in a good way, so there's nothing wrong with that,' said Austin, who leads entering the final round for the first time in his tour career. 'I've played in one final group, and that was just this year at Hartford. I was trying to defend. I haven't had too many of these.'
Mark Wilson got off to a good start with a birdie on the first. He ran off three straight birdies from the sixth to jump into a tie for the lead at minus-12.
The 30-year-old climbed into the lead by himself with a birdie on the par-4 11th. Wilson moved two clear of the field with a birdie on the par-5 14th. However, he tripped to back-to-back bogeys from the 17th to fall one behind Austin.
'I wasn't focusing on my target anymore, I was just kind of hoping it on the green,' said Wilson of his approach on 18. 'I had a great look at the hole and I didn't trust that the wind was going to push it, and I was aiming left center of the green and I didn't trust it. So I hit it at the flag and hit it in the bunker.
'So the finish was a bummer, but I really putted well early, so I'll try to recreate that tomorrow.'
Dean Wilson, no relation to Mark, birdied the first. He faltered to a bogey on the next though. He parred his next seven holes, but stumbled to another bogey on the 10th.
The 35-year-old got one stroke back with a birdie on the 12th. After a bogey on No. 13, Dean Wilson birdied the 14th to get back to minus-12. He parred his next four holes to share second place.
Gamez, who led after the first round, birdied the first, but bogeyed the second. After a pair of pars, he rolled in a birdie putt on the par-4 fifth.
The 37-year-old parred eight consecutive holes around the turn. Gamez birdied the par-5 14th to get to minus-12. He got within one of Mark Wilson's lead with a birdie at the 16th. However, Gamez bogeyed the next to drop back to 12 under and a tie for second.
Steve Lowery posted his second straight round of 4-under 66 on Saturday. He stands at 9-under-par 201 and was joined in a tie for ninth place by Olin Browne (71) and Alex Cejka (68). Paul Claxton is one stroke further back at minus-8. Bart Bryant, the defending champion, is tied for 15th at 6-under-par 204.
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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.