James Takes Solo Lead at Ford

By Sports NetworkJuly 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
DEARBORN, Mich. --Former European Ryder Cup captain Mark James fired 5-under 67 Saturday to take a three-stroke lead through three rounds of the Ford Senior Players Championship. James completed 54 holes at 14-under-par 202.
Jose Maria Canizares and Gary McCord, the overnight co-leaders, managed rounds of 1-under 71 to take second place at 11-under-par 205. Jim Ahern and Bruce Fleisher each carded 3-under 69s and are one stroke further back at minus-10.
James, a tour rookie who turned 50 last October, opened with three straight pars. At the fourth, James dropped in a birdie try and came right back at the fifth to make it two in a row.
The Englishman parred the final four holes of his opening nine at TPC of Michigan. Around the turn, James birdied the par-4 10th for the second straight day to get to 12 under.
James collected his fourth birdie at the par-3 12th. He came back with a birdie on the 14th to move to 14 under. He parred his final four holes to remain at minus-14 and close out a bogey-free round.
'The greens are too hard to be too aggressive,' said James. 'You have to balance getting it near the pin with not adding a long putt, which is very difficult on this course, the long putts are fiendish. The fact that I'm leading doesn't make any difference. I know I'm going to have to get to minus-17 to win.'
James, who owns 22 worldwide wins, has never won a major championship title despite plenty of Ryder Cup success.
'It would be fantastic. It would be brilliant. I would be over the moon,' said James of his potential win. 'Just to come over and keep my card would be great, finish top-30, that would be a bonus. So to do really well and keep my card and win majors, that would be even better. Whatever comes along, I'll take it. I'm glad to be here, really.'
McCord, who is taking a week off from his CBS broadcasting duties, was steady out of the gate. He ran off eight consecutive pars to open his round.
The 56-year-old birdied the par-4 ninth to get to 11 under. After a pair of pars around the turn. McCord dropped a stroke at the 12th. He came right back to birdie the following hole.
McCord faltered to another bogey on No. 14. The two-time winner on the Champions Tour picked up his final birdie at the 17th to secure his share of second place.
'The day was interesting,' McCord said. 'I had not been there in a while, in the last group and I had never been there when CBS was doing it, so you can understand there's a little bit of trepidation. Today was a day of wandering aimlessly, walking on marbles trying to figure out if my golf swing can hold up under the gun, if I can manage myself, if I can get the putter straight and if I can get the ball in the right positions and everything else.
'So it was a day of a bunch of conundrums, and I got through it okay. I didn't want to lose any ground. I wanted to see if I can handle where I was and still stay patient and do all of the things I was trying to do. So there was a lot of stuff going on there for me today.'
Canizares birdied three of his first six holes to get to 13 under. He tripped to a bogey at No. 7, but atoned for that error with a birdie at the 12th.
The Spaniard really struggled down the stretch. He stumbled to a double-bogey at the par-3 15th. He tried to fight back with a birdie at the 17th, but closed with a bogey at the last to join McCord at minus-11.
Quigley birdied each of his first two holes, and moved to 12 under with a birdie at the fifth. Around the turn, Quigley moved into a share of the lead with birdies at the 10th and 11th.
Things went downhill for the ironman though. Quigley, playing his 250th consecutive event for which he was eligible, knocked two balls into the water at the par-5 17th en route to a quadruple-bogey. He also bogeyed the closing hole to close a round of even-par 72.
With his late struggles, Quigley fell into a share of sixth place at 9-under-par 207. He is joined there by Ed Fiori, Bruce Lietzke, Dana Quigley and Jim Thorpe. Allen Doyle is one shot behind that group at minus-8.
Craig Stadler, the defending champion, struggled to a 1-over 73. He stands at 6-under-par 210 in a tie for 14th place.
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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."

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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.