Curtis Collects Second Win of the Season

By Sports NetworkSeptember 17, 2006, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicFARMINGTON, Pa. -- Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion, posted a 2-under 70, but it was all he needed to win the 84 Lumber Classic. He finished at 14-under-par 274, which was good for a two-shot victory over Charles Howell III.
 
For Curtis, this was his second win of the year after capturing the Booz Allen Classic in the summer. This win makes three to go along with his victory at the British Open three years ago.
 
'This feels great,' acknowledged Curtis, who collected $828,000 for the win.
 
Howell, who shared the lead with Curtis after Saturday's third round, only managed an even-par 72 to finish at minus-12. Brett Quigley posted a 2-under 70 and finished alone in third place at 11-under-par 277.
 
Sunday, much like Saturday, featured quite a few lead changes with little stability at the top.
 
Curtis stumbled with a bogey at the par-4 second, but a 13-foot birdie putt at the fourth and a birdie putt from a similar distance at five moved him one clear of the field at minus-13.
 
When Howell, who tallied one birdie and one bogey through seven holes, kicked in a short birdie putt at the eighth, the pair was tied. Curtis dropped a shot at the ninth to fall one behind, but Howell bogeyed 10 to fall back into a tie for the lead.
 
Curtis took the lead for good with a 7-foot birdie putt at the 12th. Things looked like they were falling apart for the British Open winner, after he missed the green at 13. He chipped close to save par, then did the same at 14 when he sank a 10-footer for par.
 
Curtis was still one ahead of Howell when the two reached the 15th green. Curtis drove into a fairway bunker, but no matter as he knocked his approach to 13 feet. Howell got on the green in two, but hit a horrible birdie putt from 50 feet. Curtis drained his birdie putt, but Howell missed his 10-footer for par.
 
The two-shot swing moved Curtis three ahead. Howell birdied 16 and Curtis took the conservative approach at the par-5 hole by laying up with his second. His third stopped close to 50 feet from the stick, but he ran home the long birdie putt to maintain his three-shot lead.
 
At the par-3 17th, Curtis came up short of the flag and lagged his long birdie putt 4 feet short. He missed that par putt to make the closing hole more interesting.
 
Curtis found the fairway off the tee at 18, then hit a 6-iron 18 feet from the hole. Howell could not even manage a birdie, so Curtis knocked his birdie putt to tap-in range. Curtis kicked in the short putt for the victory.
 
For Curtis, the 2006 season has been a validation of sorts. Most perceived him as a fluke champion when he outlasted the field at Royal St. George's, but with a multiple-win season, that talked has died down.
 
'All the hard work you go through, it's just nice to have a good year and play solid for 24 weeks out of the year,' said Curtis.
 
Robert Garrigus held the lead during the final round, but back-to-back bogeys to close his round dropped him down the leaderboard. He finished with a 1-over 73 and tied for fourth place with Ted Purdy, who shot a 5-under 67 on Sunday. The pair came in at 10-under-par 278.
 
Kent Jones (67), Charles Warren (71) and Ryan Moore (73) tied for sixth place at minus-9.
 
Jeff Overton (69), Steve Stricker (73), Briny Baird (73), Greg Owen (75) and Hunter Mahan (75) shared ninth place at 8-under-par 280.
 
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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).


    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 phoned 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. 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.