Jimenez in Familiar Spot in Hong Kong

By Sports NetworkDecember 3, 2004, 5:00 pm
European TourNEW TERRITORIES, Hong Kong -- Miguel Angel Jimenez fired a 6-under 64 Friday to surge into the lead after the second round of the Omega Hong Kong Open. Jimenez's 36-hole total of 11-under-par 129 left him two shots clear of fellow Ryder Cup member David Howell.
 
Defending champion Padraig Harrington, who was also part of the European's Ryder Cup win at Oakland Hills, posted a 2-under 68 to finish alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Alessandro Tadini at 7-under-par 133.
 
Jimenez won four times on the European Tour in the 2004 season and is halfway to kicking off the new campaign with another victory. The Spaniard was one stroke behind Adam Groom to start the day at Hong Kong Golf Club but quickly moved to 6 under with a birdie at the par-5 third.
 
While Howell was pacing the field throughout the day, Jimenez made his move down the stretch with back-to-back birdies from the 12th. He added a birdie at the 15th and matched Howell at minus-10 with a birdie at the par-4 17th.
 
Jimenez then birdied the par-4 18th to take sole possession of the lead.
 
'I try to be myself on the golf course, try to hit good shots and enjoy myself,' Jimenez said. 'I feel great on the golf course, I feel in the right mood. The game is there.'
 
Howell was on fire early on with an eagle at the third and a birdie at the par-4 fourth. The Englishman continued his fine play early on the back side with a birdie at the par-4 10th and another birdie at the par-5 12th.
 
The 29-year-old cooled off from that point on, however, and stumbled home with a bogey at the last for a round of 66.
 
Harrington picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-4 fourth but gave that shot back with a bogey at the very next hole. The Irishman recovered with a birdie at the sixth and managed a birdie at the 12th to stay within four of Jimenez.
 
'Miguel is probably the last player in the field I wanted to be four behind,' said Harrington. 'A lot of times you don't pay attention to the 36-hole leader, but I'm sure he is hoping that we are all paying attention to him.'
 
Groom had a roller-coaster round with an eagle, three birdies and five bogeys. He carded a 70 to join Gregory Havret, Lian-Wei Zhang and Bryan Saltus at 6-under-par 134.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 2-over-par 142 with 81 players surviving for the weekend.
 
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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.