Kite Soaring in Windy Hawaii

By Sports NetworkOctober 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
KAHUKU, Hawaii -- Tom Kite fired a 5-under 67 Saturday in windy conditions to take the lead through two rounds of the Turtle Bay Championship. Kite finished 36 holes at 6-under-par 138, two shots clear of Rex Caldwell.
'It was a little bit of a guessing game with the wind,' said Kite whose last win came one year ago at the Napa Valley Championship. 'It has blown every day since I've been here though. I don't think we'll see it calm down tomorrow either.'
Hale Irwin, the three-time defending champion, struggled to a 1-over 73. He shares third place with Dana Quigley at 3-under-par 141. Joe Inman is one stroke further back at minus-2.
Kite opened his round on the Palmer Course at the Turtle Bay Resort three shots behind Irwin, Caldwell and Quigley, who shared the first round lead. Kite fell farther off the pace as he three-putted for bogey at the par-4 second.
He rebounded with a tap-in birdie at the next hole and came back to birdie the par-4 fifth from 20 feet out. Kite closed out his opening nine with a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth.
Kite made his move on the back nine. He chipped in for birdie on the 11th to grab the outright lead and followed with another birdie on No. 12 to extend his lead. The 54-year-old moved to 6-under with a 10-foot birdie putt at the 14th.
However, he dropped a shot on the par-3 15th when his tee shot carried over the green. He stretched his lead back to two shots as he birdied the par-5 closing hole from 15 feet out.
'I've been playing well and I'm starting to make some putts,' said Kite, who owns six Champions Tour wins. 'I really feel like my putting stroke is very, very good, very solid. I know exactly what I'm trying to do. There's just a question of whether I do it or not.'
Caldwell stumbled out of the gate with a bogey at the first. He came back with a birdie on No. 3, but followed with a bogey at the next when his tee ball found water. He remained in the lead at that point at minus-3 with several other players.
As Kite was taking charge, Caldwell rolled off six straight pars. He dropped a stroke at the 11th to fall back to minus-2. Caldwell was able to climb back into a share of second place with birdies on the 14th and 18th to close out an even-par round of 72.
'It was tough out there as you can see by the scores,' Caldwell said. 'You try to play the best you can out there with the conditions. The wind blew a lot harder today than it did yesterday.'
Ed Fiori, Bob Gilder, James Mason and Tom Purtzer share sixth place at 1-under-par 143. D.A. Weibring, Butch Sheehan, Jim Colbert, Dick Mast and Lonnie Nielson are one stroke further back at even-par.
Graham Marsh, who is tied for 20th at 2-over-par 146, made tournament history on Saturday. He recorded the first hole-in-one in tournament history at the Palmer Course at Turtle Bay on the 140-yard eighth hole. It was the ninth of his career.
Marsh gained some company later in the day when Bob Murphy aced the fourth hole with a 6-iron. This marked the fourth time this season that there have been two holes-in-one in one round.
Jan Stephenson, a member of the LPGA Tour playing on a sponsor's exemption, had more trouble on Saturday. She stumbled to a 12-over 84 and is 20-over par for the tournament. She carded six bogeys and two double-bogeys on Saturday.

Related Links:
  • Full-field scores from the Turtle Bay Championship
  • Full coverage - Turtle Bay Championship
  • Getty Images

    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

    Getty Images

    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

    Getty Images

    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

    Getty Images

    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.