Crowded Leaderboard at FBR Open

By Sports NetworkFebruary 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dudley Hart fired a 7-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab the first-round lead of the FBR Open at the TPC of Scottsdale.
 
Brian Gay was tied with Hart on the back nine Thursday, but missed a 12-foot par try at his 17th hole, which cost him a piece of first place.
 
Instead, Gay is tied for second place with 2001 PGA Champion David Toms, American Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, Tom Pernice, Jr., John Rollins and Aaron Baddeley at 6-under-par 65.
 
David Toms
David Toms sits just one shot off the lead at the FBR Open. (Wire Images)
Cool conditions greeted the players on Thursday morning and one player did not finish his opening round. Tripp Isenhour will return early Friday morning to complete his final hole.
 
Hart began on the back nine Thursday and collected his first birdie at the par-5 13th. He hit a terrible second shot, but chipped to 10 feet and converted the birdie putt. Hart missed the fairway left at the 14th, but hit a 5-iron 12 feet short of the flag to set up his second consecutive birdie.
 
At the par-5 15th, Hart laid up short with his second, but did not put his ball in a good position. He found a bunker and was unable to get up and down to save par.
 
'You look at it and say how in the heck did you bogey that hole? You'd be amazed what you can do if you play this game long enough,' said Hart. 'You can do all kinds of things.'
 
That would be the only miscue of the round for Hart. At the par-3 16th, Hart knocked a 6-iron to 30 feet and rolled in the long birdie putt. He made it two in a row thanks to a 10-footer at the 17th and was out in 3-under 33.
 
Hart parred No. 1, then went on a birdie run from the second. Hart holed a 20- footer for birdie at two, then sank an 8-footer for birdie at three. He polished off three in a row when his 7-iron approach at the fourth stopped 4 feet from the cup.
 
Hart had one more great shot left in his round. At the par-4 eighth, Hart drove into the fairway, then hit a spectacular 6-iron that came to rest 3 feet from the hole. Hart tapped in the birdie effort to grab sole possession of the lead.
 
'I hit a lot of good mid to short irons, gave myself a lot of good birdie opportunities and obviously putted pretty well,' said Hart, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, with his last win coming at the 2000 Honda Classic. 'You make eight birdies, you've got to be making some putts. So I putted pretty well.'
 
Gay reached 7 under par thanks to eight birdies and a bogey through 13 holes. He teed off on the back nine in round one so his 14th was No. 5 and he had a birdie chance there from 20 feet. Gay missed that one and it started a tough stretch for the American.
 
He missed a 9-foot birdie putt at the sixth, then a slightly longer birdie try at the very next hole. Gay's 12-foot par putt at the eighth stayed above ground, but Gay had one more look at matching Hart atop the leaderboard. Hart failed on a 10-foot birdie effort at his last to stay one behind.
 
'I had some chances coming in but didn't make any putts the last five holes or so, but played really solid,' said Gay. 'I'm really happy to get off to a good start.'
 
Billy Mayfair, Bart Bryant, Daniel Chopra, Bubba Watson, Robert Garrigus and former U.S. Amateur Champion Jeff Quinney, who has two top-10 finishes in his last two starts, are knotted in eighth place at 5-under-par 66.
 
Reigning Masters champion and two-time winner of this event Phil Mickelson continued struggling this season. He opened with a 1-over 72 and is part of a tie for 88th place.
 
'It wasn't a very good round,' acknowledged Mickelson, who has tied for 45th and 51st in his two starts in 2007. 'I made a number of bogeys and made some good birdies, but just didn't get it under par. There were a lot of low rounds out there. Even though the weather wasn't the best, there were still a lot of birdies to be made. I just made too many mistakes.'
 
Defending champion J.B. Holmes was worse than Mickelson on Thursday. He only managed a 3-over-par 74 and is tied for 117th place.
 
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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.