Clarke holds off McGinley to win KLM Open

By Sports NetworkAugust 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
European TourZANDVOORT, Netherlands ' Darren Clarke ran off three straight birdies from the 10th en route to a 4-under 66 Sunday, which helped him to a four-stroke win at the KLM Open.
Clarke completed the tournament at 16-under-par 264. He was one stroke off Tobias Dier's tournament record of 263. It was Clarke's second win of the season and 12th of his European Tour career.
'It's nice to come somewhere knowing that I had to play well and then actually do it,' said Clarke, whose two sons were at the tournament and saw him win in person for the first time. 'We try to get ourselves to play as well as we can every week.'
Paul McGinley fired a 6-under 64 to take second place at 12-under-par 268.
Neither Clarke nor McGinley is qualified for the European Ryder Cup team, but their 1-2 finish could help them gain a captain's selection for team captain Nick Faldo.
'I have two weeks to impress Nick and show him I'm playing okay. The first week is out of the way and I seemed to have done that,' Clarke stated.
Henrik Stenson, the sixth-ranked player in the world, birdied the first three holes to take the early lead, but stumbled on the back nine as he hit just four fairways en route to a 2-under 68. That left him alone in third at minus-11 at Kennemer Golf Club.
Stenson ran off three birdies in a row from the first to jump to 12 under, one stroke clear of Clarke.
Clarke parred the first, but tripped to a bogey on the second to slide back to minus-11. However, he regained the lead from Stenson with back-to-back birdies from the fourth.
'I got caught in between clubs on the second...and got too aggressive there,' Clarke admitted. 'I knew I was swinging well and hit some really nice shots after that and knocked a few putts in.'
After Stenson tied Clarke for the lead on six, Clarke pitched his third to 3 feet at the par-5 seventh and rolled that in for birdie and a two-shot lead as Stenson bogeyed the hole.
Clarke caught fire around the turn. He birdied the 10th from four feet out and came right back with a kick-in birdie on No. 11. Clarke sank an 8-footer for birdie at 12 and that gave him a five-shot lead at 17 under.
After a pair of pars, Clarke missed the green at the par-3 15th and that led to his second bogey of the day. Stenson could have cut Clarke's lead to three, but he missed a birdie putt on 15.
Clarke parred the final three holes to secure the victory.
After falling behind with his bogey at the seventh, Stenson tripped to a double-bogey on the ninth to slide four back.
The Swede scrambled to three straight birdies from the 11th to get within four at 13-under. However, he bogeyed the 14th and 18th and drop into third place.
McGinley birdied three of the first five holes to get to 9 under. Around the turn, he jumped to 12 under with a birdie on 10 and an eagle at the 12th. The Irishman bogeyed the 13th for the third time this week, but recovered that stroke with a birdie on No. 14. He parred out to take second.
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.