Crowded Leaderboard at Champions Event

By Sports NetworkSeptember 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Constellation Energy ClassicHUNT VALLEY, Md. -- Don Pooley posted an 8-under 64 on Saturday to move atop the leaderboard after the second round of the Constellation Energy Classic. He stands at 10-under-par 134 and is one clear at Hayfields Country Club.
Massy Kuramoto ran home a 14-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Saturday to polish off a 5-under-par 67. He finished 36 holes at 9-under-par 135 and is tied for second place with Keith Fergus, who shot a 6-under 66 in round two.
Andy Bean established a new course record on Saturday with a 9-under-par 63. He is tied for fourth place with three-time winner this season Jay Haas (67), Hajime Meshiai (68), Tom Jenkins (68) and two-time champion in 2006 Brad Bryant (68) at minus-8.
The first round was completed Saturday morning after inclement weather forced the suspension of play on Friday. They teed off in threesomes off split tees in round two and with no rain scheduled for Sunday, the tournament seems set to finish on time.
Pooley flew out of the gate on Saturday with a tap-in birdie at the first. He drained a 12-footer at the next hole and made it three in a row thanks to a four-footer at the par-three third.
He took a break from making birdies at the fourth, but returned at the par- five fifth. Pooley sank a 20-foot birdie putt to reach six-under par for the championship.
Pooley collected a 15-foot birdie putt at the ninth to make the turn at five- under 31. He missed the green at the par-three 11th, but chipped in for birdie from 41 feet to reach eight-under par.
At the 13th, Pooley ran home a 30-foot birdie putt for his seventh birdie of the round. Number eight came at 15 when his nine-iron approach stopped six feet from the hole. Pooley landed in a bunker with his second at the par-five 16th, but blasted out to eight feet and converted the birdie putt to get to minus-11 and two clear of the field.
Problems arose for the 2002 U.S. Senior Open champion. He left a makeable, 12- foot birdie putt short at the par-four 17th, but the bigger issue came at the par-five closing hole.
Pooley made a mess of 18 when he ran his 15-foot birdie putt almost six feet past the cup. He missed that par putt to squander his lead down to a single stroke.
'It was a good day at 18 until my pitching-wedge missed,' acknowledged Pooley, who has battled through several injuries the last two seasons. 'I turned a possible three into a six.'
Pooley's last victory came at the 2003 Allianz Championship as injuries took their toll. When he took five playoff holes to dispatch Tom Watson and win the U.S. Senior Open, it was at nearby Caves Valley Golf Club, so Pooley has fond memories of the area.
'I love playing in Baltimore. It's nothing but great memories for me,' said Pooley. 'I had no inkling it would be this good for me today. I didn't at Caves Valley a few years ago either.'
Kuramoto moved up the leaderboard thanks to back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12. He pulled within one of the lead when he laid up at the 18th hole. Kuramoto knocked his second 14 feet right of the hole and poured the putt in the center of the cup.
Fergus holed a long birdie putt at one, then two-putted for birdies at both two and five. He recorded two birdies in a row from 11 and kicked in a four- footer for birdie at 15 to close the gap to one.
'The more times you're close, sooner or later, the door will open and they'll fall in,' said Fergus. 'It was an easy 66. I didn't have to struggle at all today.'
Defending champion Bob Gilder is definitely in the hunt to repeat. He shot a four-under 67 and is tied for ninth place with Bruce Summerhays, who also made it around in 67 on Saturday. The pair is knotted at seven-under-par 137.
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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.