Curtis Lewis Lead Buick Pack

By Sports NetworkAugust 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)CROMWELL, Conn. -- Former British Open champion Ben Curtis and J.L. Lewis each fired rounds of 6-under-par 64 on Thursday to share the first-round lead of the Buick Championship.
 
Michael Putnam is making his professional debut this week and kicked off his professional career in style. He posted a 5-under-par 65 and is tied for third place with last week's Reno-Tahoe Open winner Vaughn Taylor, Justin Rose, Franklin Langham and Kevin Sutherland at the TPC at River Highlands.
 
Michael Putnam
Michael Putnam had six birdies and one bogey in his professional debut.
Curtis flew out of the gate on Thursday as he knocked a wedge to 5 feet to set up birdie at the first hole. He drained a 25-footer from off the green for his second birdie in a row at the second, then collected his third birdie in five holes with a tap-in at five, thanks to an awesome 3-wood at the par-3.
 
The 2003 British Open winner parred his next five holes then hit his tee ball to 10 feet to set up birdie at the 11th. At the par-5 13th, Curtis reached the green in two and two-putted for his fifth birdie of the round.
 
At the driveable, par-4 15th, Curtis hit a terrible drive into a bunker. He hit another suspect shot, then ran his birdie try 10 feet past the hole. Curtis converted the par save, then hit an 8-iron to 20 feet for his final birdie at the 17th.
 
'It was just one of those days where even though the swing didn't feel as good as it could have been, it was good enough to hit some close shots,' said Curtis. 'When I had the wedges in my hand, I took advantage.'
 
Curtis is playing in this event for the first time since he captured the claret jug. He took some criticism when he pulled out of this event in 2003, but returned in strong form, including a top-35 performance in the PGA Championship two weeks ago.
 
'I didn't want to come in here and just shoot 80-80, say, 'See you guys later,'' said Curtis, referring to his withdrawal two years ago. 'It was just one of those unfortunate events that happened, that I wish I could be here. From now, I'll be here in the future.'
 
Lewis started on the back nine and collected his first birdie at the 13th. He sank a 6-footer for birdie at the 15th, then rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at No. 17.
 
On the second nine, Lewis knocked his approach to 3 feet to set up birdie at two. He hit his second into a bunker at the par-5 sixth, but blasted out to 3 feet and converted the birdie try.
 
Lewis closed his round with a 9-foot birdie putt at the ninth to join Curtis in the lead.
 
'I played well from tee to green. I think I hit every green but one and every fairway but one,' said Lewis, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. 'I putted okay, nothing spectacular. Made a couple of decent putts. I could have actually shot lower today had I had a hot putter.'
 
Lewis has enjoyed an up-and-down 2005 season. He has three top-10s, including a tie for eighth at The Players Championship, and had a great opportunity to win the John Deere Classic.
 
But Lewis has also missed his share of cuts this year. In 24 starts this season, Lewis missed the weekend 10 times, but since a shoulder injury earlier the year has started to heal, Lewis seems poised for strong play.
 
'I think I'm a better player than what I've shown. Hopefully I can finish off strong the rest of the year here,' said Lewis. 'I've had a few kind of bright areas. I've gradually gotten better and better and better. Had some real good weeks in there.'
 
Former U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin, Hidemichi Tanaka, Chris Smith and Joe Durant are knotted in eighth place at 4-under-par 66.
 
Woody Austin triumphed in a playoff last year over Tim Herron and opened his title defense with a 1-under-par 69. Austin is tied for 42nd place.
 
Jason Gore, who played in the final group on Sunday at this year's U.S. Open, made his 2005 PGA Tour debut on Thursday. He won three times on the Nationwide Tour and earned the 'battlefield promotion,' but his first round was not a great one.
 
He shot a 4-over 74 and is tied for 133rd place.
 
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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.