Bjorn Red-Hot in Paris

By Sports NetworkJune 27, 2003, 4:00 pm
PARIS, France -- Thomas Bjorn fired an 8-under 64 Friday to leap into the lead after two rounds of the Open de France. Bjorn stands at 10-under-par 134, two shots clear of the field.
 
Jose Manuel Lara posted a 7-under 65 during round two to move into a tie for second with Nicolas Colsaerts (70), Philip Golding (70), Anders Hansen (66) and David Howell (65) at 8-under-par 136.
 
Bjorn started quickly with back-to-back birdies from the 10th on the Albatross Course at Le Golf National. He picked up his third birdie at the par-4 13th and moved to minus-6 with a birdie at the 15th.
 
The Dane birdied the 18th for the second straight round to make the turn at 7-under. He continued his move up the leaderboard with birdies at No. 3 and 5.
 
However, Bjorn stumbled to his lone bogey of the day at the par-4 seventh, his second on that hole during this tournament. He came back in fine fashion as he capped his round with back-to-back birdies from the par-3 eighth to move to the top of the leaderboard.
 
'I know I have the golf game and think my best game is among the best in the world but I don't perform my best all the time,' said Bjorn. 'I don't know why. I seem to play my best when I get into a routine of playing a lot of tournaments and playing courses I enjoy. I am going into that now, playing nine out of ten weeks and I am looking forward to it.'
 
Bjorn is hoping to continue the trend of excellent of play by Danish golfers.
 
'We have a generation of Danish players that are very good,' said Bjorn. 'We are very fortunate to have not one or two players but four players around the same age as well as Steen Tinning who has won a couple of times. But we have four players who work very hard. That's the way we used to look at the Swedes.'
 
Soren Kjeldsen, a fellow Dane, won the Diageo Championship last week. Hansen, another Dane, shares second behind Bjorn.
 
'Soren's win last week was a wake up call for all of us,' Bjorn said. 'I think both Soren and Anders Hansen got here very determined. There is a different look in their eyes. Kjeldsen got left out last year not winning and he went out this year determined, working harder than probably anyone on this tour and got what he deserved.'
 
Anders Hansen posted six birdies and a bogey to move to 8-under.
 
'I worked really hard for two weeks so it is not just because Soren has won,' said Hansen. 'Obviously him winning gives us a boost and maybe we should start playing well. I have struggled with my putting but found something over the last couple of weeks and it makes a change to hole some.'
 
Stephen Gallacher and Justin Rose share seventh place at 7-under-par 137. Barry Lane and Pierre Fulke are among eight players tie at minus-6.
 
The cut line fell at 1-under-par 143 with 78 players moving on to the weekend. Malcolm MacKenzie, the defending champion, missed the cut after rounds of 76-77 to come in at 9-over-par 153. Eric Chaudouet, an amateur who shared the first-round lead, struggled to a 5-over 77 Friday but survived right on the cut line of minus-1.
 

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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.