Frenchman Beats the Big Names in China

By Sports NetworkApril 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 BMW Asian OpenSHANGHAI, China - Early birdies helped Raphael Jacquelin sustain late bogeys Sunday as the Frenchman completed a wire-to-wire victory at the BMW Asian Open.
 
Jacquelin made four bogeys on his last six holes but closed out his second European Tour title anyway with a 1-over 73, hanging on for a two-shot win over Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen.
 
'It is a fantastic moment,' said Jacquelin, who finished at 10-under 278.
 
Kjeldsen also had a 73 and finished alone in second place at 8-under 280. He made a double-bogey at the 14th and a bogey at he 16th, one of a handful of players who made the win easier for Jacquelin.
 
'But second (place) on my own is good,' he contested. 'I have not played that great this year and this gives me a lot of confidence.'
 
Asian Tour regulars Simon Yates (74) and Scott Hend (75) tied for third place at 7-under 281, while 2005 champion and world No. 5 Ernie Els (72) shared fifth place with Richard Sterne (69), Sung-Man Lee (73) and Markus Brier (74) at 6-under 282.
 
Scoring was considerably higher Sunday than it had been in the first three rounds, but you couldn't tell by looking at the champion's scorecard early on.
 
Jacquelin, who carried a one-shot lead into the final round, birdied No. 1 to extend his advantage. Further birdies at Nos. 6 and 8 moved him to 14 under, where he made the turn with a four-shot lead on Kjeldsen.
 
His lead dipped to three shots (over Hend) with a bogey at the 13th, a hole he birdied in each of the first three rounds. But even after another bogey at the 14th, his lead remained three shots.
 
Jacquelin's advantage was finally trimmed to two shots when he bogeyed the 17th, where it would remain even after a closing bogey at the 18th.
 
The mini-collapse was irrelevant because Kjeldsen, Yates and Hend played the final five holes a combined 8 over par.
 
A windy, rainy Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club was tough on just about everyone -- especially down the stretch.
 
'The wind picked up and the rain and it was tough from the 12th to the 18th,' said Jacquelin. 'My shots were not so good, so I played for the good side of the green and tried to save par.'
 
The win represents Jacquelin's third strong showing in as many weeks.
 
It began with a runner-up finish in Portugal to surprising amateur Pablo Martin-Benavides, then continued last week at the China Open, where he held the 36-hole lead only to finish tied for sixth.
 
Jacquelin's 54-hole lead this weekend ranked as just his second on the European Tour. In his only other win -- at the 2005 Madrid Open -- he carried a seven-shot lead into the final round.
 
'When you are in a position to win it is always difficult to finish, but to be a winner you have to finish,' he said. 'It is my second win so it is not a surprise any more.'
 
Further down the leaderboard, several of the biggest names in the tournament posted commendable finishes.
 
Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 73 Sunday and finished in a five-way tie for 10th place at 4-under 284.
 
World No. 8 Retief Goosen closed with a 71 and tied for 15th place alongside eight-time Order of Merit champion Colin Montgomerie (77) and two others at 3-under 285.
 
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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.