Byrd Lewis Tied at John Deere

By Sports NetworkSeptember 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
SILVIS, Ill. -- Jonathan Byrd and J.L. Lewis shot matching rounds of 6-under-par 65 on Thursday to share the lead after the opening round of the John Deere Classic.
Chris Riley reached 6 under on his round with a birdie at the 17th but he bogeyed the last to finish one shot back at 5-under-par 66. Riley finished in a tie for third with Vijay Singh.
Byrd, who earned his first career victory on the PGA Tour last year at the Buick Challenge, got things started with a birdie at the par-5 second at the TPC at Deere Run.
He found trouble with a bogey at the very next hole but managed to recover with a remarkable stretch of golf.
Byrd hit a 7-iron to five feet for a birdie at the fourth and followed that up with a birdie at the fifth.
He then knocked his approach within a foot of the hole for a birdie at the sixth and made it four in a row after his tee shot to the par-3 seventh landed inside 12 feet.
'When you've got hole locations and you feel like you're hitting five or 7-irons, you feel like flying it all the way to the hole,' said Byrd. 'Being able to do that makes things a lot easier.'
The 25-year-old continued his fine play on the inward nine with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 10th and climbed to minus-6 with a birdie at the 17th.
'My attitude has been great the last month and that's all I've been trying to work on and hoping the game would follow with it, and I'm starting to hit it better,' said Byrd, whose last top-10 came at The Masters. 'It's been a struggle lately, but I'm just trying to stay patient.'
Lewis, whose lone PGA Tour victory came at this event in 1999, played the back nine first and jumped out of the gate with a birdie at the 10th. He then added a birdie at the 17th to reach 2 under around the turn.
'I think it's kind of marked my career,' Lewis said of his victory. 'That was definitely one of the best, if not the best, so I have a lot of good memories here.'
The 43-year-old caught fire on the front side with 15-footer for birdie at the first. Lewis then made it two in a row at the par-5 second when his third shot stopped 12 feet from the hole.
Lewis tallied a birdie at the sixth and dropped a lob-wedge inside eight feet for a birdie at the eighth en route to a bogey-free round.
'I love this golf course,' said Lewis. 'It's a great layout. When the wind is up, you have to hit it low and work it, so this golf course adds some dimensions that other golf courses don't.'
Singh had a strong finish with an eagle at the 17th and a birdie at the last to finish one shot off the lead.
'Well, you've got three days to go,' said Singh. 'You've got to be focused on what you're doing tomorrow. I'm just going to go out there and focus on what I'm doing and play a hole at a time and see what happens.'
Garrett Willis, Tom Scherrer, Chris Smith, Notah Begay III, Billy Mayfair, Skip Kendall, Bob Burns and Dennis Paulson tied for fifth place at 4-under-par 67.
Joey Sindelar, Mark Wilson, Tommy Armour III, Aaron Barber, Esteban Toledo and Jeff Maggert were one shot further back at 3-under-par 68.
PGA Tour money leader Davis Love III scattered three birdies and a double bogey to finish at 1-under-par 70 in a group that featured defending champion J.P. Hayes.
The first round was suspended due to darkness with one player, Scott Laycock, left on the course.
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up right where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.