Bean Still Holds Leads at Greater Hickory

By Sports NetworkSeptember 30, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock BarnCONOVER, N.C. -- Andy Bean is in prime position for his first Champions Tour victory after a round of 2-under 70 Saturday at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. He stands at 11-under-par 133 and is two clear of reigning U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle after 36 holes.
 
Bean, who matched the course record Friday with a 9-under-par 63, is an 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR, but has yet to visit the winner's circle in almost three seasons on the elder circuit.
 
Only once in those three seasons has Bean held a piece of the 36-hole lead and that turned out poorly for the 53-year-old. At the 2004 Farmers Charity Classic, Bean shared the second-round lead with Bob Gilder, but fell ill on the driving range due to something he ate. Bean was taken to the hospital and was forced to withdraw.
 
Assuming he stays away from any bad chicken Saturday night, Bean knows what kind of opportunity he has on Sunday.
 
'The game is starting to be fun again,' said Bean. 'I'm hitting a lot of good shots. I need to just play a little better tomorrow. You put pressure on yourself to win. I was very patient out there today.'
 
Doyle, who won his second consecutive U.S. Senior Open title this summer, posted a 6-under-par 66. He is alone in second place at 9-under-par 135, which is one better than Tom Kite (68), R.W. Eaks (67) and Champions Tour rookie Chip Beck (69).
 
Bean began the second round with a four-shot lead and did nothing to hurt that margin early in round two. He birdied the first and seventh holes, but then battled a balky putter.
 
At the ninth, Bean's 2-foot par putt lipped out of the hole. He collected his second bogey in a row at 10 when he missed the green, then missed a 5-footer for par.
 
Bean wasted little time in making up the lost strokes. At the par-4 11th, Bean rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt to get back to 10 under par for the championship.
 
Bean, who uses a conventional putting technique on all putts outside 5 feet and a claw grip inside 5 feet, converted a pair of tricky 5-foot par putts at 13 and 14. He made routine pars the rest of the way until the par-5 closing hole at the Jones Course at Rock Barn Golf Club and Spa.
 
He found the fairway off the tee, then reached the putting surface with his second - barely. Bean left himself close to 100 feet for eagle, but lagged it inside 6 feet. Bean drained the birdie putt to move two shots clear of Doyle.
 
'I really played quite well except for two holes today,' acknowledged Bean. 'All in all, I didn't play much differently than yesterday, I just didn't make the putts.'
 
Doyle, who upstaged Tom Watson in Kansas this year for his fourth major title on the Champions Tour, birdied the fourth and fifth holes, but it wasn't until the back nine that he became a factor.
 
Doyle hit a hybrid club left of the target at nine, but the ball spun 3 feet from the hole. He converted that birdie putt, then rattled off back-to-back birdies from the 11th, including a 45-footer at the 12th.
 
At the par-3 15th, Doyle knocked his tee ball stiff. He kicked in the 2-footer there and had 11 feet for a birdie at the last. Doyle not only missed the putt, but ran his birdie try 4 feet past. He holed that putt to remain the closest pursuer.
 
'Good day today,' said Doyle. 'I want to be in the mix on the back nine Sunday. It all comes down to that. You hope if you're trailing they guy you're chasing notices you're there.'
 
Hajime Meshiai (67), two-time winner this season Brad Bryant (68) and Tom Purtzer (69) are knotted in sixth place at minus-7. Ron Streck (66), Joe Inman (68) and Dana Quigley (71) share ninth place at 6-under-par 138.
 
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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.