Durant on Top Goosen Others Close

By Sports NetworkApril 28, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Zurich ClassicNEW ORLEANS -- Joe Durant fired an 8-under 64 Friday to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Durant stands at 12-under-par 132 at the halfway point.
 
Brett Wetterich birdied the final hole Friday to post a 7-under 65 to take second place at minus-10.
 
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot 3-under 69 to move to 9- under-par 135. He was joined at third place by Stephen Leaney (67), Ian Poulter (68), Ryan Hietala (68), Charley Hoffman (69), Michael Allen (67) and Eric Axley (65).
 
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter is one of seven players tied for third place.
Phil Mickelson, playing for the first time since winning The Masters for the second time, managed a 1-under 71 in round two. He stands in a tie for 33rd at 5-under-par 139.
 
Durant came flying out of the gate as he dropped in a 10-footer for birdie on the first. At the fifth, he nearly holed his approach as his second shot to the par-4 stopped a foot from the cup.
 
The three-time winner on the PGA Tour kicked that in for birdie, then got up and down for birdie on the next. Durant made it three straight as he drained a 15-footer for birdie on the seventh at English Turn Golf & Country Club.
 
Durant hit a wedge to 15 feet on No. 10 and converted that for birdie. At the par-5 11th, he two-putted for birdie to move to minus-10.
 
The 42-year-old left himself 40 feet for birdie on 14 and calmly rolled that in for his seventh birdie of the round. Durant sank a 10-footer for birdie at the last to cap a bogey-free round.
 
'There was a little bit of wind in the middle of the round, but otherwise the conditions were fine,' Durant said. 'For the most part, it was pretty calm and I just played fairly steady. I hit a lot of fairways and greens. I didn't try to do anything fancy.'
 
Wetterich started on the back nine and got going with consecutive birdies from the 11th and again from the 14th.
 
He made the turn at 8 under with a birdie on the par-4 18th. Wetterich, however, tripped to a bogey on the first. He erased that mistake with a birdie at the par-4 fourth.
 
Wetterich joined the crowd at minus-9 as he birdied the par-5 sixth. He birdied the par-4 ninth, his last, to take over solo second place.
 
Goosen also started on the back side Friday. He notched three birdies and two bogeys to make the turn at 7 under par. Around the turn, Goosen birdied the fourth and eighth to share third place.
 
'I would like to go for the greens, but I keep driving in the rough,' Goosen said. 'That's the problem. I hit a few bad drives. I didn't quite drive it as well as I did Thursday. I need to work on that a little this afternoon, and hopefully play better Saturday.'
 
Louisiana-native David Toms is tied for 10th place at 8-under-par 136 with Verizon Heritage winner Aaron Baddeley (67) and Glen Day (68).
 
First-round leader Graeme McDowell struggled to a 1-over 73 and is one stroke further back at minus-7. He was joined there by 10 other players.
 
The cut line fell at 4-under-par 140 with 71 players moving on to the final two rounds. Tim Petrovic, the 2005 champion, missed by one stroke finishing at minus-3.
 
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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.