Goosen on Top at Grand Slam of Golf

By Sports NetworkNovember 23, 2004, 5:00 pm
PGA of AmericaPOIPU BEACH, Hawaii - Reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot a seven-under-par 65 on Tuesday to take the lead after the opening round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
 
Vijay Singh, who won the PGA Championship for the second time in his career in August, missed a short birdie putt that would have put him into a tie for first at Poipu Bay Golf Course. Singh finished at 6-under-par 66, two strokes clear of Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who eagled the last for a round of 68. British Open winner Todd Hamilton rounded out the elite field at 2-under-par 70.
 
Goosen, making his second appearance at this event, was on fire out of the gate and dropped his second shot inside two feet for a birdie at the par-4 first. He then birdied the second and ran home a long birdie putt at the third. At the par-4 fourth, Goosen knocked his approach to 13 feet and sank the putt to make it four in a row.
 
The South African kept on rolling with a birdie at the par-5 sixth but found trouble with a bogey at the eighth. Goosen countered at the very next hole and played his second shot to four feet for a birdie at the par-4 ninth to join Singh at 5-under.
 
Goosen then hit his approach within two feet of the cup for a kick-in birdie at the par-4 12th to take the outright lead. He three-putted for a bogey at the following hole, but got that shot back with a birdie at the par-514th.
 
Goosen hit a bad tee shot that found a bunker at the par-3 17th, but he hit out of the sand within inches of the hole. The 35-year-old then reached the green in two at the par-5 18th and took two putts for a closing birdie to secure sole possession of first.
 
'It was nice to get off to a good start,' Goosen said. 'I'm looking forward to tomorrow.'
 
Singh had a hot start to his round as well with birdies on each of his first two holes. He struggled to a bogey at the third, but landed his second shot inside three feet for a birdie at the par-4 fifth.
 
The World No. 1 then eagled the par-5 sixth and dropped his tee shot inside eight feet for a birdie at the par-3 seventh to move to minus-five.
 
Singh birdied the 14th to keep pace with Goosen and struck his second shot within 16 feet of the hole for a birdie at the par-4 15th to move into first place at 7-under. Singh then bogeyed the following hole and watched a six-foot putt for birdie lip out at the last to finish one shot back.
 
'I should have made that one on the last,' said Singh. 'But you just have to be patient. I'm looking forward to it.'
 
Mickelson had two of the shots of the day, starting at the par-5 second when he holed out with a wedge for an eagle. Mickelson then parred his next seven holes before he picked up his first birdie of the day at the 10th.
 
The left-hander hit a bad drive en route to a bogey at the 12th but responded with a birdie at the 14th. Mickelson managed a bogey at the 15th but redeemed himself at the closing hole.
 
After a monstrous drive, Mickelson's second shot to the par-5 18th almost dropped into the hole before rolling five feet past the pin. Mickelson converted the short eagle try to finish within three of the lead.
 
'That was an important shot,' said Mickelson. 'Because I hit that good drive I felt like I could go ahead and attack the pin.'
 
Hamilton collected a trio of birdies over his first seven holes but gave a shot back with a bogey at the 10th. Hamilton then bogeyed the 15th but two- putted for a birdie at the last to finish at 2-under.
 
This event features the winners of the four major championships.
 
Related Links:
  • Scoring - PGA Grand Slam of Golf
  • Full Coverage - PGA Grand Slam of Golf
  • Getty Images

    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

    Getty Images

    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.  

    <
    Getty Images

    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.” 

    Getty Images

    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.”