Gallacher Wins Dunhill Playoff

By Sports NetworkOctober 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Dunhill Links ChampionshipST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Stephen Gallacher birdied the first hole of a playoff on Sunday to defeat Graeme McDowell for his first career victory on the European Tour at the dunhill links championship.
'It's a dream come true,' said the Scot. 'To win my first title here at St. Andrews is fantastic.'
Gallacher battled with McDowell down the stretch before both players found trouble with bogeys on the difficult par-4 17th on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Closing pars left the duo knotted at 19-under-par 269 leading to the second playoff in tournament history.
Back on the first hole, Gallacher hit a brilliant approach that rolled 2 feet past the hole. McDowell was not as fortunate, however, and left his second shot in the stream protecting the putting surface.
'When Stephen stiffed it in the playoff, it forced me into trying to get too cute with it,' McDowell said. 'Normally I would have just flown it over the pin.'
McDowell took a drop but was unable to chip in for par. Gallacher had two putts for the win, but he calmly sank the birdie putt to take the title in style.
Gallacher was three shots behind Luke Donald to start the day, but made moves early with a long birdie putt at the fourth. He nearly eagled the fifth, but walked away with another birdie and grabbed a share of the lead a few holes later with a birdie at the seventh.
Donald clawed back and hit his second to 5 feet for a birdie at the seventh to regain the outright lead. That advantage proved to be short-lived, however, and Gallacher moved back into a tie for first with a birdie at the 10th.
Gallacher then took sole possession of the lead with a birdie at the 12th, but McDowell converted a 16-foot putt for a birdie at the very next hole to join him atop the leaderboard.
Gallacher tried to pull away again with a birdie at the 13th to reach 20 under, but McDowell reached the par-5 14th in two en route to a birdie of his own.
At the par-4 17th, Gallacher hit his tee shot in the rough and was only able to advance his ball down the fairway. He played his third to 20 feet but was unable to save par.
In almost identical fashion, McDowell went through the fairway into the rough, although his ball stopped before the grass got too thick. McDowell left his second shot just short of the green and chose to putt over the slope, leaving himself with an 18-footer to save par.
McDowell walked away with bogey on his way to a round of 68.
Gallacher was one better than McDowell on the final day with a 5-under 67 for the biggest win of his career.
Ian Poulter landed his approach to the 18th within 2 feet of the hole and tapped in for birdie and a round of 69. He was joined at 18-under-par 270 with Donald, who carded a 71 in the final round.
'I played okay today, not great,' said Donald. 'I had a lot of chances for birdies and just couldn't quite get the putts in and a couple of bogeys coming in. But I stuck in there hard and gave it a go.'
Lee Westwood tried to come back to become the first back-to-back winner of this event, but he finished three shots off the lead despite a final-round 67. David Howell double bogeyed the 17th to finish alongside Westwood at 16-under-par 272.
Fred Couples and Ernie Els shared seventh place at 14-under-par 274. Nick O'Hern, Richard Green and Marcel Siem followed at 13-under-par 275.
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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.