Lonard Reclaims Lead in Hilton Head

By Sports NetworkApril 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. --Australia's Peter Lonard fired a 5-under 66 on Saturday to overtake Darren Clarke for the third-round lead of the MCI Heritage. Lonard stands at 11-under-par 202, which is good for a one-shot lead over Clarke.
 
Clarke brought a six-shot lead into Saturday's third round, but tallied four bogies in his first seven holes. By No. 7, Clarke lost his entire lead, but the No. 17 player in the world is only one back heading into the final round.
 
Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke tried to stay calm as he saw his six shot lead evaporate.
'Today I certainly made a lot of mistakes, and at the same time Peter played fantastic,' admitted Clarke. 'I'm not surprised to find myself one shot behind, but that's not a bad place to be going into tomorrow.'
 
These two separated themselves from the field, but a few players have a chance on Sunday. Rod Pampling shot a 3-under 68 and is alone in third place at 6-under-par 207.
 
Five-time Heritage winner Davis Love III carded a 2-under 69 and has sole possession of fourth place at minus-5.
 
They will be chasing Lonard on Sunday.
 
He broke into red figures with a birdie at the par-5 second, then chipped in for birdie at the fourth. Lonard collected his second birdie in a row at six when he missed the green at the par-5 hole, but chipped his third to tap-in range.
 
While Lonard was playing steady golf, Clarke could not find a fairway. He finally found the short grass for the first time at the eighth, but by that time Clarke tallied four bogeys and a birdie and was tied with Lonard for the lead.
 
Clarke seemed to get back in gear at nine when his sandwedge approach stopped 3 feet from the cup. He sank that putt, then tapped in a short birdie putt at 10 to go two clear of Lonard.
 
Clarke's putter let him down on No. 11 as he three-putted for bogey from 20 feet. Lonard drew even once again at 13 when he ran home a left-to-righter from 4 feet.
 
The par-5 15th hole proved to be a turning point. Neither played the hole well but had a pair of birdie putts. Lonard drained his 56-footer to reach 11-under par, but Clarke had 45 feet to match his playing partner. Unfortunately Clark hammered his putt 7 feet past the hole, then missed the comeback putt to fall two off the pace.
 
Clarke answered at 16 with a 12-foot birdie putt, but Lonard recaptured his two-shot advantage with a 10-foot birdie putt at 17.
 
Lonard made a mess of Harbour Town's closing hole. His 5-iron approach came up short and right of the green, then he chipped to 15 feet. Lonard two-putted for bogey, giving him the one-shot edge going into the final round.
 
'It all fell into place, so it was a good day,' said Lonard, who is winless on the PGA Tour and took the 54-hole lead for the first time in his career. 'Yesterday I did what Darren did today. I didn't drive it that great early on, and I got a little frustrated and held it together. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.'
 
Clarke still has a good shot at getting his third win on the PGA Tour. His previous victories came at World Golf Championships events, but the Ulsterman hopes Saturday was just one bad day.
 
'If you ask most guys in a tournament, they'll have three days where they play well and one day where they play a little bit not too well,' said Clarke. 'Hopefully this is my day when I played not so well.'
 
Jose Maria Olazabal (69), Stephen Ames (69) and Loren Roberts (68) share fifth place at 4-under-par 209.
 
Jim Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, shot an even-par 71 and is tied for eighth place with Joey Snyder III (69), Bart Bryant (70) and Jimmy Walker (71). They are knotted at 3-under-par 210.
 
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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.