Kingston Leads Goosen in Hunt in South Africa

By Sports NetworkJanuary 11, 2002, 5:00 pm
James Kingston, who lost out on a chance to qualify for the European Tour when he missed Q-School in November, may have found another route onto the circuit after firing a 5-under 67 in Friday's second round of the South African Open.
 
Kingston, a 36-year-old from Rustenburg, South Africa, moved out to a two-shot lead with a 36-hole total of 11-under-par 133 at Durban Country Club.
 
England's Jonathan Lomas and Andrew Butterfield shot 67 and 69, respectively, to share second place at 9-under-par. Martin Maritz posted the day's best round of 64 and joined fellow South African Tim Clark (70) at 8-under.
 
U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, the 1995 winner of this event and one of the pre-tournament favorites, headed into the weekend four strokes off the pace after a 2-under 70 that featured a chip-in eagle at the 14th.
 
Also at 7-under 137 were India's Arjun Atwal (67), Alastair Forsyth (71) of Scotland and South Africa's Ashley Roestoff (71).
 
Seventeen-year-old South African amateur Charl Schwartzel (67) and 1999 British Open champ Paul Lawrie (70) led a group of seven players at 6-under.
 
Kingston, a four-time winner on the Asian Tour who also won twice in South Africa last fall, was set to compete in the European Tour Qualifying Tournament but had to sit out after misreading the instructions on the entry form.
 
'Obviously I am trying to win on the European Tour and it was frustrating that I didn't read the entry form as closely as I should have and missed out on that opportunity,' Kingston said. 'But I feel this is a nice way to get my card rather than going to the Tour School.'
 
Kingston's best finish in six European Tour starts last year was a tie for 26th at the South African Open, an event co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Southern Africa Tour.
 
'I didn't perform as well as I can in European Tour events I entered last season, but I'm hoping to do a little better this time,' he said. 'Who knows, with about 10 events I get into, I could get my card that way. I'm just going to play each shot as well as I can and if I get my card in the end, then so be it.'
 
Kingston caught fire during the middle of his round Friday, posting six birdies over a 10-hole span from the 5th through the 14th. He three-putted the 16th green for his only bogey, however, then failed to take advantage of the short par-4 18th when he missed a three-foot putt for birdie.
 
Sweden's Carl Pettersson, the overnight leader after a bogey-free 64 on Thursday, quickly plummeted from the top spot in round two due to a triple-bogey seven at the opening hole. He made five bogeys and just three birdies the rest of the way for a 77 that left him eight shots back.
 
Ernie Els, victorious at the South African Open in 1992, '96 and '98, had three birdies, two bogeys and an eagle in a 69. He finished tied for 37th at minus-two.
 
Defending champion Mark McNulty made the cut on the number at even-par 144.
 
Full-Field Scores from the Bell's South African Open
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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x