Faldo Watson Set for Sr British

By Sports NetworkJuly 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Senior British OpenEAST LOTHIAN, Scotland -- The Senior circuit heads across the pond this week for the Senior British Open as the golf world remains focused on the British Isles.
The middle of July brings three straight weeks of British Opens. Irishman Padraig Harrington won the British Open last week, this week is the Senior British and next week will be the Women's British Open.
Loren Roberts headed to Scotland last week to begin preparation for his title defense at the Senior British Open. He played 136th Open Championship at Carnoustie, but after rounds of 74-75 missed the cut.
Last year, Roberts entered the final round four strokes clear of Eduardo Romero, but both struggled Sunday. Roberts could only manage a 5-over 75, while Romero shot 71. That left them tied at 6-under-par 274.
Things would have been more interesting if Tim Simpson hadn't struggled to a 4-over 74 to end at minus-1. Dick Mast tried to make it a three-man playoff, but his Sunday-best, 3-under 67 left him one stroke back.
Roberts needed only a par on the 18th in the playoff at Turnberry to win his second Champions Tour major.
Romero was denied his first Champions Tour win, but he didn't wait long to collect it. He claimed the final major in 2006, the JELD-WEN Tradition, as he erased a five-shot deficit then birdied the first playoff hole for the title.
This week's host course, Muirfield, has hosted its fair share of top-flight events, including the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and British Amateur. Muirfield has also hosted more Open Championships, 15, than any other course.
Bob Charles and Tom Watson are the only two players to have won the British Open and Senior British Opens at the same venue.
Three players are scheduled to tee it up this week who have a chance to match that feat. The one likely with the least chance is Gary Player. He does own 19 Champions Tour wins, but the 71-year-old has not won on tour since 1998.
Tom Watson, who owns five British Open and two Senior British Open crowns, won at Muirfield in 1980. He has won nine Champions Tour events, with this year's Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am title being his last.
The last of the three players with a chance to win the Open and Senior Open on the same course is Nick Faldo.
Faldo, who turns 50 on Wednesday, will look to win for a third time at Muirfield. Faldo won the British Open at Muirfield in 1987 and 1992. He played at Carnoustie last week, but missed the cut by six strokes.
This will be just the 21st playing of this championship, while it is just the fifth year on the Champions Tour schedule.
The winners of the first two majors this year were both first-time winners. Denis Watson, the Senior PGA champion, and Brad Bryant, the U.S. Senior Open winner, will both try to collect their second major title at Muirfield.
TNT will have two hours of coverage of the first two rounds. ABC will cover the weekend action with 90 minutes of coverage Saturday and two hours of action on Sunday.
The Champions Tour will be back in action next week with the 3M Championship, where David Edwards earned the 2006 title.
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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.