Gardiner Grabs Nationwide Lead

By Sports NetworkJuly 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
Nationwide TourHIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Australia's Scott Gardiner posted his second consecutive round of 5-under 66 on Friday to move to the top of the leaderboard at the Legend Financial Group Classic.
Gardiner stands at 10-under-par 132 at StoneWater and is one clear of both Keith Nolan (65) and James Driscoll (68).
Kris Cox (65), Jason Day (66), Joe Daley (67), Jeff Klauk (66) and Hunter Haas (67) are knotted in third place at 8-under-par 134.
Gardiner began on the back nine Friday and collected his first birdie at the par-5 13th when his 20-footer found the bottom of the cup. He hit a 6-iron to 15 feet to set up birdie at the 15th.
The Australian missed a 14-footer to save par at the par-3 17th, but atoned for the error one hole later when he tapped in for birdie at the par-5 closing hole.
Gardiner collected his first birdie of the second nine at the par-5 fourth. At the par-3 sixth, Gardiner hit an 8-iron to 3-feet and holed that birdie effort.
His final birdie came at the 390-yard, par-4 eighth. Gardiner hit a lob wedge to 2 feet and kicked in the birdie putt for the halfway lead.
'Just had a great day,' said Gardiner, who has a pair of top-5 finishes in his last two starts. 'I couldn't have a better day. Not much wind out there. Any mistakes were all your own fault.'
Josh Williams and Ryan Hietala each fired rounds of 7-under 64 on Friday. They are tied for ninth place with Brock Mackenzie (67) and David McKenzie (69) at 7-under-par 135.
Roland Thatcher, the first-round leader and winner last week in New York, only managed an even-par 71 and is now part of a group tied for 14th place at minus-6.
The 36-hole cut fell at 2-under-par 140 and the Nationwide Tour's leading money winner Paul Claxton missed the weekend with a two-round score of even-par 142.
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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.

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    “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.”

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    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

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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.

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    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). 

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    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

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    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:

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    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.