Logjam at Senior British Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Senior British OpenPORTRUSH, Northern Ireland. -- Don Pooley posted an even-par 72 Friday to remain one of four leaders after two rounds of the Senior British Open, the Champions Tour's third major of the season.
Pooley stands at 3-under-par 141 where he is joined by Carl Mason (71), Mark McNulty (69) and Pete Oakley (68).
Eduardo Romero (75), John Chillas (75) and Jim Rhodes (77) were the first- round co-leaders with Pooley. Romero and Chillas slipped into a tie for eighth at even-par 144, while Rhodes fell to plus-2 and a share of 13th place.
Tom Kite and Bill Longmuir each posted a pair of 1-under rounds of 71. They were joined in a tie for fifth place at 2-under-par 142 by Senior Players Championship winner Mark James, who shot a second-round 70 in windy, rainy conditions.
Pooley looked to take control of this championship with his early play, but he tumbled back to the field. He dropped in back-to-back birdies from the second to get off to a hot start.
The 52-year-old Pooley then birdied the par-4 fifth to climb to 6 under and three shots ahead of the field. Things quickly turned for the worse however.
Pooley dropped a shot at the sixth and faltered to another bogey at the ninth. He settled down to par his next eight holes, but a bogey at the last dropped him to minus-3.
Mason, the runner-up to Tom Watson last year, picked up a birdie at the par-3 third to go along with nine pars over his first 10 holes. He then birdied the 11th, but struggled to bogeys at 12 and 14. A birdie at the 16th at Royal Portrush Golf Club moved the Englishman back into a tie for the lead.
'Leading up to this week, I was a little wary of my back and I wasn't quite swinging it the way I should have been,' said Mason. 'I was protecting it a little bit, but thankfully my good friend, Derrick Cooper, got me back on track this week with some swing tips and at long last I feel like I'm swinging the club properly.'
McNulty opened his round at even-par and burst out of the gate with birdies at the first two holes. He ran off six straight pars before picking up his third birdie at the ninth.
Around the turn, the Irishman birdied the par-3 11th. McNulty climbed to 5 under with a birdie at the 15th, however, he faltered to bogeys at the 16th and 18th to drop back to 3 under.
'I think if you take the whole picture, if somebody had said to me playing the first hole with the way that the showers were coming in, that I was going to shoot 69 then obviously I would be delighted,' McNulty said. 'But all us golfers are in the same league, we all bitch and moan about things. I was obviously disappointed to finish with three fives, but that is golf.'
Oakley used a hot front nine to climb into contention after an opening-round 73. He ran off three straight birdies from the second to jump to minus-2.
The 1999 PGA Senior Club Professional Champion reeled off five straight pars before a birdie at the 10th got him to 3 under. The rest of Oakley's round was up-and-down.
He bogeyed the 11th, but came right back to birdie the 12th. After bogeying the par-5 13th for the second time in two rounds, Oakley birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to get to 4 under. He fell back into a share of the lead with a bogey at the par-4 16th.
'I played well and did not get too nervous,' said Oakley, whose brother, David, plays on the European Seniors Tour. 'I have never been in this position before and it was gratifying to come through and play well instead of folding up my tent and going home.'
Tom Watson, the defending champion, has been battling a shoulder injury, but made the cut after rounds of 75-74. That put him at 5-over-par 149, where he shares 33rd place.
The cut line fell at 9-over-par 153 with 70 players qualifying for the weekend.
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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."