Germany Leads US Struggles

By Sports NetworkNovember 13, 2003, 5:00 pm
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- The duo of Alex Cejka and Marcel Siem combined to post a 5-under-par 67 Thursday to give Germany the first-round lead of the World Golf Championships-World Cup.
 
Ian Woosnam, a last-minute replacement, and Bradley Dredge of Wales are alone in second place after a 4-under 68. The French team of Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin paired for a 3-under-par 69 and sole possession of third place.
 
The World Cup is the fourth and final WGC event of the year. There were 24 teams, Chile withdrew Thursday when Felipe Aguilar injured his hand, and Thursday's action was four-balls or better-ball. On Friday and Sunday, it will be foursomes or alternate-shot, and on Saturday, it's once again four-balls.
 
The American team of U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard opened with a 1-under 71 to share seventh place.
 
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort proved to be extremely difficult on Thursday with high winds altering several shots and making for many nervous putts.
 
The German tandem collected four birdies on the front side to share first place but the twosome parred the first four holes on the second nine. Things would change at the par-3 14th.
 
Cejka hit his tee ball 18 feet left of the target but Siem, ranked No. 292 in the Official World Golf Ranking, played his drive to three feet. Cejka missed his birdie try but Siem's found every piece of the hole before falling in and giving the Germans a one-shot lead.
 
At the par-5 16th, Cejka had some trouble and chipped his fourth shot to eight feet. Once again it was Siem to the rescue as the 23-year-old failed to hit the green with his second but chipped to four feet and rolled home the birdie putt to go two clear of the field.
 
Kiawah was too hard on Thursday for a team to go through without a bogey. At the very difficult par-3 17th, Siem missed the green short by several yards but Cejka played to the right side of the green, 45 feet from the hole. Siem pitched 12 feet from the cup and Cejka lagged his par try to five feet. Neither player was able to save par and the lead was only one.
 
Neither Cejka nor Siem hit a good drive at 18 but Siem was in better position to save par. Cejka drove into the sand on the right side and barely advanced his ball out of the bunker. Cejka could not get into the hole with bogey but Siem canned a seven-footer for par to hold on to their one-shot lead.
 
'It was great to have that score and see our name up on the leaderboard,' said Cejka, who finished 60th on the PGA Tour money list in 2003. 'The course has changed a lot since 1997 when I played here and with a wind over 40 miles per hour, it was much tougher. We are both very pleased to lead the tournament after round one.'
 
Woosnam, who was called to duty during a vacation in Barbados after Phillip Price could not shake the flu, recorded five birdies to erase a 1-over start through three holes.
 
Woosnam, a winner of this tournament in 1987, seemed happy to represent Wales again, despite being called in from the beach.
 
'I'd probably be sitting down on the beach or in a bar drinking a nice rum and coke, or going for a siesta,' said Woosnam. 'It didn't take much persuading to come here. It was nice to come and represent your country again.'
 
Leonard and Furyk, who will be heading to South Africa next week for the Presidents Cup, mixed three bogeys and two birdies over their first 15 holes. They birdied two of their final three holes to join the group in seventh.
 
Eduardo Romero and Angel Cabrera of Argentina, Carlos Franco and Marco Ruiz of Paraguay and Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini of South Africa all posted rounds of 2-under-par 70 to share fourth place.
 
The Americans, 1999 British Open winner Paul Lawrie and Alastair Forsyth of Scotland, Mexican duo Alejandro Quiroz and Antonio Maldonado, Korea's K.J. Choi and S.K. Ho, Michael Campbell and David Smail of New Zealand and the Spanish pairing of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ignacio Garrido are tied for seventh at minus-1.
 
Japan is the defending champion in 2003. Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa won the title last year but Hidemichi Tanaka replaced Izawa in 2003. The Japanese team struggled to a 2-over 74 and are tied for 18th.
 
Related Links:
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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.