Marsh Out Front Watson Two Back

By Sports NetworkJuly 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Graham Marsh fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the Ford Senior Players Championship.
Tom Watson
Tom Watson had seven birdies and one bogey Thursday.
Tom Watson shot a 6-under 66 at the TPC of Michigan to join Isao Aoki and Ron Streck in a tie for second place. Dana Quigley, Jim Ahern and Wayne Levi were one shot further back at 5-under-par 67.
Marsh, who also led after the first round of this year's Senior PGA Championship, jumped out of the gate at the par-4 first after his second shot stopped 3 feet from the hole. Marsh added a birdie at the par-5 third and dropped his tee shot inside 2 feet for a birdie at the par-3 fourth.
'If you're on with your short game, which I happened to be earlier this morning with the wedges and so forth, I was able to get them in close,' Marsh said. 'A lot of those were kick ins. All of a sudden you make a couple of long putts, you're up and sailing.'
The Australian played his approach to 8 feet for a birdie at the par-4 sixth. but three-putted for a bogey at the very next hole. Marsh responded with a birdie at the par-3 eighth to make the turn at 4 under.
Marsh continued his fine play on the inward half and picked up the first of three consecutive birdies at the par-4 11th after his approach came to rest 6 feet from the hole. He then knocked his tee ball within 15 feet for a birdie at the par-3 15th and rolled in an 8-foot putt for a birdie at the par-5 17th to get to minus-9.
The 61-year-old, whose last Champions Tour victory came at the 1999 Tradition, suffered a bogey at the closing hole, but the slew of birdies he picked up before was more than enough to secure the opening-round lead.
'The golf course is in absolutely superb condition. It was there for the offering this morning,' said Marsh. 'It's the kind of golf course that is very much orientated towards target golf.'
Watson ran off birdies on each of his first three holes and moved to 4 under with a birdie at the seventh. He stumbled to a bogey at the eighth, but recovered with a birdie at the 11th.
He followed that up with a birdie at the par-5 13th and added a birdie at the 15th to get within two of the lead.
'I hit the ball pretty close to the hole all day,' said Watson. 'It was an easy day to score. The wind wasn't blowing. The TPC of Dearborn, when the conditions are soft like this, if you're driving the ball half decently, you're going to do pretty well.'
Aoki, who tied for second at this event in 1997, collected back-to-back birdies from the second, but found trouble with a bogey at the fourth. Aoki countered with a birdie at the fifth and two straight birdies starting at the seventh to go out in 32.
The 62-year-old from Japan added a pair of birdies on the back nine to join Watson in second place.
Streck earned his first Champions Tour victory last week at the Commerce Bank Championship and has carried that momentum to the Senior Players Championship. Streck birdied three of his first four holes and added another birdie at the par-4 ninth.
The 50-year-old birdied the 12th and converted a 6-foot birdie putt at the 13th to move to 6 under. Streck bogeyed the 14th, but responded with a birdie at the 15th.
Jerry Pate, Andy Bean, Larry Nelson, Bruce Fleisher, Morris Hatalsky, Don Reese, Gary McCord, Tom McKnight and Hale Irwin share eighth place at 4-under-par 68.
Defending champion Mark James is six shots off the pace after a round of 70.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ford Senior Players Championship
  • Full Coverage - Ford Senior Players Championship
  • Getty Images

    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.  

    Getty Images

    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.” 

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.