Isenhour Long Share Lead

By Sports NetworkMay 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Tripp Isenhour fired his second straight 6-under 66 to grab a share of the lead after three rounds at the VB Open at the TPC of Virginia Beach. Isenhour shares first place with Michael Long, who shot 2-under 70 Saturday. The duo stands at 9-under-par 207.
 
Zach Johnson and Craig Lile share third place 8-under-par 208. Johnson, one of the hottest players on tour, is seeking his fourth straight top-four finish.
 
The field has had to battle the weather all week. Saturday's action saw wind gusts of up to 30 mph and wind chills in the 40s. Sunday's forecast calls for wet weather most of the day.
 
'Mentally this is really tough weather,' said Long. 'Par is a good score on a day like this.'
 
Isenhour began the day five shots off the pace and had an up-and-down start to his round. He opened with a birdie at the par-4 first when he stuck a sand-wedge within a foot. After finding the rough off the tee at the next, he was unable to save par.
 
Isenhour, who won the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs two weeks ago, rolled in a six-footer for birdie at the third. He again followed with a bogey when he was unable to sink a five-foot par save at the fourth.
 
'I hit some squirrelly shots on the first four holes, but then I hit it really solid the rest of the way,' Isenhour said. 'I was able to stay patient.'
 
He settled down from there. Isenhour sank a three-footer for birdie at the par-3 seventh and two-putted for birdie at the par-5 eighth.
 
Around the turn, Isenhour holed a pitching-wedge from 120 yards out at the par-4 11th for eagle.
 
'I hit it perfect,' Isenhour said of his pitching-wedge. 'I knew it was going to be good, but to hear it rattle in was nice.'
 
He closed with birdies at 15 and 17 to grab a share of the lead. He also made a 10-foot par save at the last.
 
'I made the key putts today and that is what I've been doing lately,' said Isenhour. 'When you are going well, it seems like you make the putts like I made on 18.'
 
Long started his round one shot behind overnight leader Fran Quinn. Long got his round going with a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-3 third. He later two-putted for birdie at the par-5 eighth.
 
On the back side, Long rolled in a six-footer for birdie at the par-5 12th to get to minus-10. However he could not save par at the last and fell into a tie for first.
 
'I tried to be patient all day,' said Long. 'It was tough reading putts today with the winds gusting. I tend to play reasonably well in the wind.'
 
Eduardo Herrera and Blaine McCallister share fifth place at 7-under-par 209. Quinn, Vaughn Taylor, Roland Thatcher, Omar Uresti and Russ Cochran are one-stroke back at minus-6.
 
Related Links
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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.