International Team Takes Early Lead - COPIED - COPIED

By Sports NetworkSeptember 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PresidentGAINESVILLE, Va. -- The International side took a 3 1/2 - 2 1/2 lead after Thursday's six foursomes matches at The Presidents Cup at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.
 
The International side made a big statement in the opening match as two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen and Adam Scott dispatched world No. 1 Tiger Woods and Fred Couples, 4 and 3.
 
David Toms, Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman
Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman gave David Toms and Stewart Cink little to smile about.
The second match was halved between Americans Jim Furyk and Fred Funk and Internationals Vijay Singh and Mark Hensby.
 
Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco hung on for a full point for the U.S. side when they beat Nick O'Hern and Tim Clark, 1-up.
 
The fourth contest easily went to the American team of Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank. They trounced Peter Lonard and Stuart Appleby, 4 and 2.
 
Reigning U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera took out one of the best American teams, Davis Love III and Kenny Perry. The International captured the match, 2 and 1.
 
Thursday's final match was the most lopsided. The International team of Trevor Immelman, a surprising captain's pick by Gary Player, and Mike Weir, having one of his worst seasons, destroyed Stewart Cink and David Toms, 6 and 5.
 
'I think we're a little disappointed,' admitted American captain Jack Nicklaus. 'Tomorrow is another day. We're basically a half-point behind.'
 
Woods and Couples never got on track Thursday, specifically Couples, who hit only one fairway.
 
The International side won the fourth, then Couples missed a 3-footer at the sixth to drop the Americans 2-down. Scott rolled in a 7-footer for birdie at the seventh to go 3-up, but the Americans answered with a win at the ninth to make the turn 2-down.
 
Couples drained a 25-footer for birdie at the par-5 10th, but Goosen ran in a 15-footer on top of his to halve the hole. The Internationals won the 12th, then the U.S. pair was in trouble at 14.
 
Goosen, as he did all afternoon, lagged a long birdie try to tap-in range. Woods missed the green with his approach, then Couples duffed his chip. Woods had to hole his chip to halve the hole and extend the match, but his chip hit the back of the cup, but rimmed out.
 
'Some of the shortcomings for me come out in alternate-shot,' admitted Couples. 'Today I was out-classed by three guys and I couldn't help Tiger at all.'
 
The first match to make it the distance was the second match. Furyk injured his rib cage on the second hole, but recovered enough to help the U.S. take a 1-up lead at the turn.
 
The lead changed five times in the next five holes, but when Hensby stroked home a 3-footer for par, the International side led 1-up through 16.
 
Hensby went from hero to goat quickly as he lost his ball off the tee at 17. The Americans won with a routine par to square the match, then it was off to the closing hole.
 
At the 18th, Singh drove right in the trees, but Hensby failed to reach the green with the team's second. Funk barely got over a bunker with his second, but ended up with a great shot that stopped 20 feet from the hole.
 
Singh chipped to 3 feet, and Furyk barely missed his birdie try. The Americans conceded the Internationals very missable putt to give the sides a half.
 
The next match also went the distance, as Mickelson and DiMarco squandered a 2-up lead with seven holes to play. O'Hern hit a spectacular second shot to the par-5 12th to set up a short eagle putt by Clark. They squared the match one hole later.
 
The U.S. won the 14th to briefly go 1-up, but the Internationals won the next hole to draw even. Mickelson missed an 8-footer for birdie that would have given them a 1-up lead, but they got a reprieve when O'Hern's 3-footer for par did not fall.
 
DiMarco had a good look at birdie at 17 that would have closed the match, but both pairs left with pars. At 18, both teams had birdie putts from around 20 feet and neither converted, giving the U.S. their 1-up win.
 
'Chris and I were playing very well,' said Mickelson. 'We hit two bad shots on the back side that gave them a couple of holes. We were able to gut it out down the stretch.'
 
The fourth match went the Americans' way once they took the fourth hole. The sides traded wins at six and seven and when Appleby drove in a hazard at eight, the Internationals lost the hole and fell 2-down.
 
The Americans won No. 11 to move 3-up. The sides halved the next four holes and the Americans had two putts from 20 feet to win the match on 16. Verplank, the only rookie for Nicklaus' squad, rolled in the birdie putt to end the contest.
 
'We weren't quite in rhythm, but near the middle of the round, then at the turn, we started stringing together good shots and good putts,' said Verplank. 'I knew we were going to be a good team and today, we were.'
 
Love and Perry drew even when Perry sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the 11th. The two sides remained even until Campbell and Cabrera won the 14th. Perry missed an 8-foot par putt at the 16th and the U.S. were 2-down with two to play.
 
Perry atoned for the miscue at 16 with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 17th. Unfortunately for the U.S., Campbell ran home a 15-footer to halve the hole and win the match, 2 & 1.
 
'I think we gelled very well together as a team,' said Campbell. 'On the back nine, we holed a few crucial par putts, then I managed to finish off on 17.'
 
The anchor match was never close as Weir sank a 7-foot birdie putt on the first. The Internationals kept it going with wins at four, five, nine, 10 and 12 to make short work of the American team.
 
On Friday, there will be six four-ball matches with five foursomes and five four-balls on Saturday. All 12 players are in on Sunday for the singles matches.
 
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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. 

    Getty Images

    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.