Goin Leads SBC Senior Open
The 52-year-old Goin made six birdies in bogey-free 66. Three-time champion Hale Irwin, the only player to win this tournament more than once, birdied three of his last four holes in a 5-under 67 that left him tied for second with Tom Wargo, Bob Eastwood and Roy Vucinich.
Goin birdied the first two holes on the par-72 Port Course at the Harborside International Golf Center, a public facility built on a former landfill just minutes from downtown Chicago. He added four more birdies the rest of the way, including a pair to cap his round.
'Three 66s would make me very happy,' said Goin, 52, who is in his second season on the Senior Tour and looking for his first victory. 'It's nice to get off to a good start this week.'
All of Goin's birdies came from inside 10 feet. He had a great opportunity to finish with an eagle after reaching the 522-yard, par-5 18th in two, but wound up missing a five-foot putt.
Goin finished in the top-10 three times in 2001, with a tie for fifth at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Match Play Championship his best result to date. His tie for seventh in his first start of the season, the Royal Caribbean Classic, has been his only top-10 of 2002.
The only other time Goin has held at least a share of a first-round lead as a member of the 50-and-over set was at last month's Senior PGA Championship. He jumped out of the gate with a 68 to tie for the top spot at Firestone but posted 76-79-73 the rest of the way to finish joint 60th, his second-worst showing of the season.
Irwin was the last player to have sole possession of the lead after one round of this event. At Kemper Lakes Golf Club in 1998, Irwin opened with a 10-under 62 -- the lowest round in tournament history -- en route to a three-stroke victory.
He also won at Kemper Lakes in 1999 and at Stonebridge Country Club in 1995.
Irwin, who went back to using an old putter this week, took 26 putts on Friday. His closing stretch featured an eight-foot birdie putt at the 15th, a 15-footer at the 16th and a four-footer at the 18th.
'I'm not one to change equipment very much. I just needed a different look,' Irwin said. 'I'll probably be back to the other putter in time.'
Irwin, who currently leads the Senior Tour money list, was also runner-up in this event in 1997 and a top-five finisher the last two years.
Seven players were two shots back with 68s, including 61-year-old Jim Colbert, Doug Tewell and Jay Sigel, who finished second last year.
Defending champion Dana Quigley added to his Senior Tour record by playing in his 189th consecutive event for which he's been eligible. But it wasn't the start he was looking for in his title defense, as the senior ironman triple bogeyed the first hole on his way to a 6-over 78.
'It knocked my feet out from under me,' said Quigley, who also suffered three bogeys and a double bogey to fall to eight-over after 12 holes. He finished with two straight birdies.
Orville Moodie celebrated playing in his 500th Senior Tour event Friday by carding a 2-under 70, his low round of the year. The 68-year-old Moody, an 11-time winner on the elder circuit, stands third behind Miller Barber (576) and Harold Henning (520) in career starts.
Full field scores from the SBC Senior Open
McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.
The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.
McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.
''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''
Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.
''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''
McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.
''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.
''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''
The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.
Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel
If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.
Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:
When in the Middle East... pic.twitter.com/lNv1Lh79E0— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 16, 2018
If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:
Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."
Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."
I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H
And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.
Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational
Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.
The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.
Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.
“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”
Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews
Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.
Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.