Haas Cruises to Third Champions Title

By Sports NetworkApril 23, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Liberty Mutual Legends of GolfSAVANNAH, Ga. -- Jay Haas poured in an eagle and three birdies on the back nine Sunday to pull away and win the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf by five shots. He closed with a 5-under 67 to end at 15-under-par 201.
Haas' total established a new 54-hole record for this event. The old mark of 204 was set in 1993 by Harold Henning, Don January and Tom Weiskopf.
The win for the 52-year-old Haas was his third on the Champions Tour.
'I switched to a new driver last week and that really seemed to help me,' said Haas, who collected $395,000 for the win. 'I really felt comfortable and hit some clutch drives down the stretch. I made a lot of putts too and you have to do that to win out here.'
Craig Stadler bogeyed the final two holes to close a round of 2-under 70. He finished alongside Peter Jacobsen at 10-under-par 206 in second place. Jacobsen posted a 5-under 67 in the final round at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort and Spa.
Hale Irwin, the all-time wins leader on the Champions Tour and 2004 winner here, moved into fourth place at minus-9 with a Sunday 68. Des Smyth, the 2005 champion, fired a 6-under 66 to take fifth at 7-under-par 209.
Haas played the opening nine at even par with a birdie on the first and a bogey on No. 8. The leaderboard got crowded around the turn, though.
Jacobsen had collected birdies on the fourth, seventh and ninth to move to minus-eight. He poured in a 35-foot birdie try at the 10th and made it three in a row with a two-putt birdie on 11. That gave him a share of the lead with Haas at 10 under.
Stadler posted his lone front-nine birdie on the fourth. He also two-putted for birdie on 11 to briefly make it a three-way tie for the lead at 10 under.
However, it was all Haas from there. He sank an 11-foot eagle effort on 11 to jump two ahead. Haas stuffed his approach shot within 3 feet at the 13th and then kicked that in for birdie.
The three-time Ryder Cupper two-putted for par on the next two holes. Haas converted a 17-foot birdie try on 16, then made an 11-footer for birdie at the next to get to 15 under. Haas calmly two-putted for par and the win at the last.
'Craig made a nice birdie at 15 and got within one,' Haas said. 'I lipped in about a 6- or 7-footer for par. The next two holes were key. I made a nice birdies and Craig let me off the hook a little bit with a bogey at 17.'
Stadler, who was playing alongside Haas, nearly holed his short approach shot on the 13th. That shot stopped two inches from the hole and he tapped in for birdie to remain two behind Haas.
The 1982 Masters champion ran in a 29-footer for birdie on 15 to get within one, but trouble loomed. Stadler missed the 17th short and could not get up and down for par. He closed with a three-putt bogey at the last to drop into a share of second.
Jacobsen got up and down for birdie at the short par-4 14th to get to 11 under, which put him two behind Haas. The 2004 U.S. Senior Open champion parred his next two before a three-putt bogey on 17 dropped him to 10-under.
Recent World Golf Hall of Fame electee Larry Nelson closed with a 3-under 69. He shared sixth place at 6-under-par 210 with Tom Jenkins (70), Mark Johnson (70) and Jerry Pate (73).
Three-time winner this season Loren Roberts closed with a 70 to end in 10th place at five-under-par 211. Brad Bryant and Gil Morgan were one stroke further back at minus-4.
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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.