Bjorn Bounces Back After Rough Start

By Sports NetworkJune 28, 2003, 4:00 pm
Philip Golding drained a late birdie that snapped a six-way tie and gave him a round of 4-under 68 Saturday after the third round at the Open de France. Golding owns a one-shot lead and stands at 12-under-par 204.
Thomas Bjorn, the overnight leader, struggled early but recovered for a 1-under 71 to move to 11-under-par 205. He shares second place with Peter O'Malley (66), Pierre Fulke (67), David Howell (69) and Barry Lane (67).
Golding began his round two strokes behind Bjorn to start the day on the Albatross Course at Le Golf National. The Englishman birdied the first for a fast start, then ran home a birdie try at the fifth to get to minus-10.
Golding grabbed his first share of the lead with a birdie at the eighth. However that was short lived as he bogeyed the next.
Around the turn, he converted another birdie at the 11th. Golding, who finished in a tie for 66th here last year, dropped another shot at the par-4 13th.
He returned to a share of the lead with a birdie at the 15th. Golding then snapped the logjam atop the leaderboard with his third birdie in three rounds at No. 18.
Golding is looking to duplicate the feat of Malcolm MacKenzie from last year. MacKenzie won this event last year after 20 years of tour without a title. The 40-year-old Golding is in a similar spot. He has been on tour since the age of 20 and has had to make 16 trips to qualifying school to retain his tour card.
'Malcolm won last year and it would be fantastic to finish that way,' Golding said. 'Winning is a dream. I would like to win and shall do my best tomorrow and see what happens. I will break it down to playing one hole at a time and one shot at a time. That is all you can do and not get ahead of yourself. And enjoy the experience of playing in the last group.'
Of the group at minus-11, O'Malley was the first one to reach the clubhouse at that number. He exploded out of the gate with three straight birdies to open his round. O'Malley went onto record three more birdies on the front side, before carding two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine.
Bjorn posted three bogeys over his first seven holes to fall to minus-7. He birdied three of five holes from the eighth and closed his round with a birdie at 17th to gain a share of second.
Fulke, who has been trying to change his swing for two years, birdied Nos. 3, 5 and 6 before dropping a shot at the seventh. On the back side, Fulke ran off three straight birdies from the 13th for a 5-under 67.
'I thought I was going to be a better player by changing my swing a little bit and that hasn't worked,' said Fulke. 'The feelings I used to have on the course haven't been there. So this week I went back to what I used to do. I am hitting the ball really nicely. All my feelings and the focus I used to have are back. And my putting has come back as well this week.'
Howell mixed in two birdies and a bogey on the front nine. He ran off three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the 13th to get to 12-under and solo first. He cost himself a share of the lead with a bogey at the 17th.
Lane was steady during his bogey-free round. He birdied the third, then ran off nine consecutive pars. He closed with four birdies over the final six holes to gain a share of second.
Stephen Gallacher and Raphael Jacquelin share seventh place at 10-under-par 206. Jose Maria Olazabal, Marcel Siem and Jose Manuel Lara are one stroke further back at minus-9.
Eric Chaudouet, a French amateur who shared the first-round lead, came back with a 3-under 69 to climb to 4-under-par 212 after surviving on the cut line of minus-1.
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x