Campbell a Champion at Champions

By Sports NetworkNovember 9, 2003, 5:00 pm
HOUSTON -- Chad Campbell posted a 3-under 68 Sunday to cruise to a three-shot victory at the season-ending Tour Championship. He finished the tournament at 16-under-par 268 and won by three over Charles Howell III at Champions Golf Club.
Campbell had been widely considered a great player waiting to break into the winner's circle. He fixed that on Sunday and became the first player to make the Tour Championship his first victory on tour.
'That's what I was working for this whole year,' said Campbell, who pocketed $1,080,000 for the win. 'I played pretty steady but didn't make a lot putts. I'm just happy to get my first win.'
Howell birdied the last to polish off a 1-under 70 and take second place for the second consecutive year. He finished at 13-under-par 271, one stroke better than 2001 U.S. Open champion and last week's winner in Tampa, Retief Goosen. Goosen shot a final-round 69, while Chris Riley, a teammate of Campbell's at UNLV, shot a 70 to finish in fourth at minus-11.
With the last event in the books, Vijay Singh captured the 2003 PGA Tour money title. He posted a 3-under 68 and tied for fifth place with Davis Love III, who shot a 2-under 69 on Sunday.
Tiger Woods, the 1999 winner, needed to win the Tour Championship and have Singh finish worse than a tie for third. That did not happen as Woods failed to make a move on Sunday. He shot a 3-over 74 and finished in 26th place at 1-over-par 285.
'I think the theme for the week had to be No. 16 there,' said Woods. 'My putt lipped, not only did it lip out, but it hit a bee on the edge of the hole that kicked it out. So that kind of sums up the whole week for my putting this week.'
Woods will now have to wait to see if he is once again the Player of the Year. The players receive ballots on Monday and the race is basically down to Singh (four wins and first on the money list) and Woods (five wins and the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average.)
'I think it was overall a great year,' said Woods. 'It's certainly different than last year, because last year we had a numerous amount of first-time winners. This time we had a lot of guys winning multiple events.'
Woods did establish a new PGA Tour record this week. Despite it being a limited field and the tournament had no cut, it still counts as a cut made for Woods. That was his 114th consecutive cut made, breaking Byron Nelson's record from the early 1940s.
While the Player of the Year race was one of the big storylines coming into the week, Campbell caught everyone's attention with a course-record 61 on Saturday. He took a one-shot lead into Sunday's final round and quickly extended it.
Campbell drained a seven-footer for birdie at the second hole and Howell made bogey to fall three down. Campbell birdied the fifth as well to go ahead of Howell by four but Howell answered with back-to-back birdies at six and seven.
Campbell responded to Howell's charge with a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-3 eighth. Howell dropped a stroke to par at the same hole but Campbell put the tournament away at the par-5 ninth. He rolled in a 15-footer for eagle to take an enormous lead to the back nine.
On the second nine, Campbell made some mistakes but he had the margin to do it. He bogeyed the 11th and dropped another shot at 14 when he missed the fairway off the tee. He birdied the 13th but bogeyed 14 and 17.
The back-nine bogeys would not impact Campbell. Neither Howell nor Goosen was threatening Campbell so it was clear sailing for him and now it's an invitation to the winners-only Mercedes Championships to kick off the 2004 season.
'It was awesome to come out and play good on the front nine,' said Campbell. 'I didn't play quite as well as I wanted to on the back. I didn't need to. I was able to cruise around the back nine and try not to do anything stupid and that's what I did.'
For Howell, Sunday marked the second consecutive runner-up finish at the Tour Championship. He knocked his approach on the 18th to two feet to set up birdie and push him clear of Goosen.
'I never really challenged him today,' admitted Howell, who carded a 1-under 70 on Sunday. 'Basically the back nine was just go at everything and see what happens. He played a great golf round.
'I'm very much looking forward to the Presidents Cup. I didn't win this year, which is a bit disappointing, but, hey, I'm still here. I don't feel snake bitten in the least bit. I just didn't play good enough today.'
Jonathan Kaye (70) took seventh at 7-under-par 277, followed by U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk, who posted a 2-under 69 in the final round, to come in at 6-under-par 278.
Scott Verplank (68), Kenny Perry (69), Steve Flesch (73) and Fred Funk (73) shared ninth place at minus-5.
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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 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."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    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.