Austrias Brier New Leader in China

By Sports NetworkApril 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Volvo China OpenSHANGHAI, China -- Austria's Markus Brier closed with three straight birdies Saturday to post a 4-under 67 and take the lead at the Volvo China Open.
 
Brier completed 54 holes at 6-under-par 207 and is one stroke clear of Scott Hend. The Australian carded a 1-under 70 to move into solo second at minus- 5.
 
Andrew McLardy matched Brier's 67 and that helped him climb into third place at 4-under-par 209.
 
Second-round leader Raphael Jacquelin stumbled to a 4-over 75. That dropped him into a share of fourth at minus-3. He was joined there by Richard Sterne (69) and Graeme McDowell (70).
 
During the round, five separate players had at least a share of the lead at Shanghai Silport Golf Club.
 
With Hend and Anders Romero battling for the lead on the back nine, Brier flew up the leaderboard to claim the top spot.
 
Brier tripped to a bogey on the first, but reclaimed that lost stroke with a birdie on the third. He moved to minus-3 with a birdie on the eighth.
 
Around the turn, Brier bogeyed the 10th before a birdie on 11. He bogeyed the par-4 12th for the third straight round, but responded for the second day in a row with a birdie on 13.
 
'With the 12th, I have bogeyed it all three days so far, but from then on I feel comfortable with the tee shots and if you hit good tee shots it is short irons and wedges in,' Brier stated. 'You have to hit it on the fairway. I missed it on the 10th and 12th holes and was just in the thick stuff.'
 
Brier caught fire down the stretch. He collected a birdie at the par-4 16th and came right back with a birdie on 17 to grab the lead at minus-5. Brier closed with a birdie at the last to end one clear of Hend. Brier's final three birdies all came from inside 6 feet.
 
'(Sunday) that will be the key, hit the fairway and hopefully have as strong a finish as today,' said Brier of his thoughts on the final round. 'Like last year in Fontana, I had a good finish and I hope I can do the same.'
 
Hend birdied the fourth after three straight pars to open his round. He was tied for the lead after parring the fifth as Jacquelin dropped a shot at the fourth. Hend dropped shots on six and seven to slide to minus-3.
 
The 33-year-old got one shot back with a birdie at the eighth, but faltered to another bogey on nine. Hend atoned for that error with a birdie at the 11th. He gave another stroke back as he bogeyed No. 12.
 
Hend moved within one of Brier as he birdied the 14th. Hend carded his final birdie on 16 to get to 5 under. He parred the final two to finish one back.
 
Jacquelin fell out of the lead with three bogeys over his opening six holes. He went on to pick up another bogey on the back nine as he failed to card a single birdie on the day.
 
Adam Blyth, who was paired with Jacquelin, was even-par through eight holes and was tied for the lead with Romero. However, Blyth went 5 over par on the back nine to tumble down the leaderboard.
 
Romero, playing with Hend in the penultimate twosome, ran off three straight birdies from the seventh to grab the lead at minus-6. He fell down the leaderboard around the turn with four bogeys in a six-hole span.
 
Romero ended up carding a 2-over 73 that dropped him from third to seventh. He is alone there at 2-under-par 211. David Griffiths, Jean-Francois Lucquin and Peter O'Malley are the final three players in red figures at minus-one.
 
Blyth is tied for 11th place at even-par 213 with Michael Jonzon, James Kingston, Peter Lawrie and Robert-Jan Derksen.
 
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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.