Begay Clubhouse Leader in Spain

By Sports NetworkApril 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
European TourMADRID, Spain -- Notah Begay III posted a 4-under-par 68 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead during the suspended first round of the Open de Espana.
 
Steven Jeppesen and Gregory Bourdy are also at 4-under par, but only completed 13 holes of the opening round, which was suspended due to darkness on Thursday.
 
After one hour of the first round, with the first group completing only four holes, heavy rain hammered the Centro National de Golf. There were several attempts to return to the course, but play finally resumed almost eight hours later.
 
It was not until 10:40 a.m. (ET) that the golfers were back in position. Some of the first half of the draw completed round one, but no one in the second half even teed off.
 
The plan is to try and catch up over the next two days.
 
Stephen Gallacher and Terry Pilkadaris are knotted in fourth place at minus- 3. Both are deep into the back nine of their first rounds.
 
Begay began on the back nine Thursday and the round did not start well. He tallied one bogey and five pars through his first six holes, but went on a mini-run from there.
 
He recorded back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17, but dropped a shot at the closing hole to make the turn at even-par 36.
 
On the second nine, Begay, a former college teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford University, caught fire. He birdied every other hole from the first to the seventh to move into a share of the lead.
 
'It was a tremendously gratifying round of golf,' said Begay. 'I didn't expect a whole lot so I went out there and tried to defend myself as best as possible.'
 
Begay, who is playing the European Tour after losing his card on the PGA TOUR last year, has battled various elements all week before the rain ever entered the picture.
 
His luggage did not arrive until Tuesday and Begay was unable to play one practice round, stepping on the course for the first time for Thursday's opening round.
 
Begay has battled a back injury for the last few years and the problem resurfaced a bit this week.
 
'My back's been bugging me a little bit this week,' said Begay. 'I had never seen the course and sometimes you do a little bit better.'
 
Former Ryder Cuppers Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul McGinley are tied in the clubhouse with Carlos Rodiles at 2-under-par 70. Amateur Gonzalo Berlin, Carlos Balmaseda, Carlos Del Moral and Jonathan Lomas are two-under par through 12 holes.
 
Darren Clarke struggled late on Thursday and finished with a 3-over-par 75.
 
Defending champion Niclas Fasth was one of the many who did not tee off on Thursday.
 
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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.