Local Shares Lead in Singapore

By Sports NetworkMarch 9, 2006, 5:00 pm
European TourSINGAPORE -- Singapore's Mardan Mamat and Australia's Marcus Fraser each fired rounds of 7-under-par 65 on Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the OSIM Singapore Masters.
Wade Ormsby, Prayad Marksaeng, Boonchu Ruangkit and Unho Park are knotted in third place at 5-under-par 67 at the Masters Course at Laguna National Golf and Country Club.
Mamat began on the back nine Thursday and birdied the 11th hole when he ran home a 10-footer. He knocked a 5-iron to 12 feet to set up birdie at the par-3 12th, then played a 9-iron to 10 feet at the next hole to polish off three birdies in a row.
'That good start really gave me the push,' acknowledged Mamat.
Mamat parred 14 and 15, but returned to form on 16. At the 445-yard, par-4 hole, Mamat hit an 8-iron to 25 feet and holed the birdie putt from the fringe. He collected another birdie at the par-3 16th when his 5-iron tee ball stopped 12 feet from the hole.
Mamat, a former winner on the Asian Tour, which is co-sanctioning this event with the European Tour, found trouble off the tee at the par-4 18th. His 3-wood drive found water and he could not save par.
The bogey at 18 must have shaken Mamat as the 38-year-old parred the first five holes of his second nine. At the sixth, Mamat wedged his approach to 3 feet and kicked in the short birdie putt.
Mamat hit a 4-iron to 20 feet and rolled in yet another birdie putt at the par-3 eighth. He drove into a bunker at the ninth and needed a rules official to confirm it was a waste bunker. The official did that, meaning Mamat was allowed to ground his club. He hit a 7-iron inside 2 feet and tapped in the birdie to reach minus-7.
'If you shoot 65 anytime, it's always good and it'll give me confidence,' said Mamat. 'My putting worked for me today. I'm very happy with my performance today.'
Fraser played the course from the first tee and recorded his first birdie at the par-4 fourth. He made it two in a row with a birdie at five, then added one more birdie at the par-5 seventh.
The 27-year-old birdied the par-5 11th and par-4 13th to get within two of Mamat's lead. He joined Mamat atop the leaderboard with an eagle at the 563-yard, par-5 15th.
Fraser parred out to remain tied with Mamat.
A pair of Australians, Peter Fowler and Marcus Both, were joined in seventh place by Englishman Gary Evans on Thursday. The trio finished 18 holes at 4-under-par 68.
Defending champion Nick Dougherty headlines a group tied for 10th place at 3-under-par 69. Wei Chih Lu, Miguel Angel Martin, Anders Hansen, Fredrik Widmark, Gary Murphy and Malaysian Open champion Charlie Wi joined Dougherty four shots off the pace.
Dougherty is not terribly concerned about his first-round deficit as he faced worse last year. Colin Montgomerie shot a 65 in the first round in 2005, while Dougherty only managed a 68.
'I am one shot worse than last time when Monty was on 7 under, this time it is Mardan,' said the 23-year-old Dougherty, who is paired with Mamat for the first two rounds. 'I am in good shape and it is also good to be playing with someone who is in the lead at the moment.'

Related Links:
  • European Points List
  • World Points List
  • Full Coverage - Singapore Masters at Laguna
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
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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. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."