Harrington Reclaims Top Spot

By Sports NetworkDecember 4, 2004, 5:00 pm
European TourNEW TERRITORIES, Hong Kong -- Defending champion Padraig Harrington shot a 3-under 67 on Saturday to move into a share of the lead after the third round of the Omega Hong Kong Open. Harrington was joined by Miguel Angel Jimenez and James Kingston at 10-under-par 200.
 
Nick Faldo, whose last victory on the European Tour came at the 1994 Alfred Dunhill Open, posted a 65 to share fourth place with Thomas Bjorn, David Howell and Thammanoon Srirot at 9-under-par 201.
 
Harrington was four shots behind Jimenez to start the day at Hong Kong Golf Club and collected a pair of early birdies while his Ryder Cup teammate stumbled from the top of the leaderboard.
 
Jimenez picked up a quick birdie at the first, but struggled with three bogeys over his next five holes. The Spaniard dropped another shot at the ninth but recovered with an eagle at the par-5 12th to cling to a share of the lead.
 
'It was a very hard day,' said Jimenez, who managed a 71 on Saturday. 'I didn't hit it properly and couldn't find the hole, that was what happened the whole day.'
 
Harrington found trouble with a bogey at the par-3 eighth but countered with a birdie at the par-4 10th. He added another birdie at the 12th but gave that shot back with a bogey at the par-4 16th.
 
The Irishman then birdied the par-4 18th to secure a piece of the lead with one round to play.
 
'I'm not going to be running to the range to fix anything,' said Harrington. 'I'll get a bit of rest between now and tomorrow, hit a few shots and do a few things.'
 
While Harrington and Jimenez exchanged shots throughout the day, Kingston came from way back to join the logjam atop the leaderboard.
 
The South African ran off three consecutive birdies starting at the par-3 second and tallied a birdie at the par-3 eighth to move to 6 under. Kingston then birdied the 10th but stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole.
 
The 39-year-old answered with a birdie at the 13th and closed his round with three straight birdies from the 16th to complete a blistering 62.
 
First-round leader Adam Groom finished alongside Gregory Havret at 8-under-par 202. Louis Oosthuizen followed at 6-under-par 204.
 
Charl Schwartzel, Alessandro Tadini and Bryan Saltus were five shots off the pace at 5-under-par 205.
 
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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.

    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.  

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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).

    “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.” 

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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 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:

    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.