McNulty Comes Back to Win Schwab Cup

By Sports NetworkOctober 24, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Charles SchwabSONOMA, Calif. -- Mark McNulty fired a 6-under 66 on Sunday to overcome a five-stroke deficit and win the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He finished at 11-under-par 277 and won by a stroke over Tom Kite, who held the lead after all three previous rounds, at Sonoma Golf Club.
Kite had a chance at the 72nd hole, but hit a poor approach. He needed a birdie at the last to tie McNulty, but Kite hit a terrible approach left of the hole and failed to chip in.
That gave McNulty his second consecutive victory after a title last week at the SBC Championship. He won his first week on the Champions Tour at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am and now looks to be a lock for the Rookie of the Year.
'Everyone has been giving a stink about this rookie business,' said McNulty, who pocketed $440,000 for the win. 'I'm not too sure about 'rookie' after 28 years. I think we should have 'Best Newcomer of the Year.' I'll take Rookie of the Year. That would be fantastic.'
Allen Doyle held the lead during Sunday's final round, but did not have enough at the end. He shot a 3-under 69 and took third place at 8-under 280, two strokes better than U.S. Senior Open winner Peter Jacobsen, who carded a 5-under 67 on Sunday.
Hale Irwin, who battled back and neck injuries all week, only shot a 3-over 75 on Sunday, but it was enough to win the year-long Charles Schwab Cup, which awards a $1 million, tax-free annuity.
Craig Stadler, a five-time winner this season, shot a 70 on Sunday and matched Irwin in a tie for seventh. He trailed by 39 points at the start of the tournament and that would be the final margin, although Kite had a chance if he won the tournament.
'It's a long year,' said Irwin, who won this competition in 2002. 'This is why we do it. Talk about the money, which is great, but putting this up in your trophy case - I'm just proud of this.'
McNulty made the turn at 1 under par after birdies at the first and eighth holes and a bogey at No. 3. His ascension up the leaderboard took place after he opened his back nine.
At the 11th, McNulty ran home a 40-footer for birdie to tie him for the lead with Doyle at minus-7. McNulty knocked his 5-iron approach to a foot at the 12th to set up birdie and go one clear.
He came up short of the green with his second shot at the par-5 13th, but pitched his third inside 2 feet. McNulty tapped in the birdie putt there and polished off four birdies in a row with an 8-footer at the par-3 14th. That birdie gave him a three-shot lead over Doyle and a four-stroke advantage over Kite.
But Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open champion, would fight back. He ran his second shot at the par-5 13th to 3 feet and made the eagle putt to get within two. At the 14th, Kite hit his tee ball to 4 feet and drained the birdie putt to close the gap to one.
Kite had an 18-foot look at birdie at the 15th, but missed left. McNulty hit his tee ball at the par-3 17th to 12 feet and stroked home the putt to reclaim a two-shot cushion over Kite. McNulty had 65 feet for birdie at the last and his lag putt came up five feet short. He converted the nerve-wracking par putt and waited as Kite, in the last group, was the only one who could catch him.
Kite did not go away. At the par-5 16th, Kite pulled out his 5-wood again and again the result was sensational. His second landed left of the hole on the fringe, then bounced 9 feet past the hole. Kite's eagle putt that would have tied McNulty for first skimmed the left edge, but did not fall. He tapped in for birdie and had two holes to make another birdie and force a playoff.
Kite had a decent look at birdie on the 17th, but his 20-footer from over the flag died left. At the 18th, a hole he birdied in all three rounds, Kite found the fairway off the tee. He badly pulled his second shot into the left rough and now needed to hole out not only to force extra holes, but to have any chance at the Charles Schwab Cup $1 million annuity.
His chip from the rough came up 4 feet short and McNulty joined Stadler as the only players to win back-to-back events on the Champions Tour schedule in 2004.
'I remember last year watching this tournament in England and watching Jim (Thorpe) win the tournament and I thought, man that would be a nice trophy to hang up in my shop,' said McNulty. 'It came very quickly and I'm very, very delighted.'
Kite tallied four bogeys in his first seven holes until the comeback late in the round. He shot an even-par 72 on Sunday and was disappointed he couldn't make the winner's circle.
'It was my tournament and all I had to do was play some decent golf,' admitted Kite, who won this year's 3M Championship. 'I wasn't able to do it until the last six or seven holes.'
David Eger (69) and Jose Maria Canizares (75) shared fifth place at 5-under-par 283.
Irwin and Stadler were joined in seventh place by Thorpe (69), Morris Hatalsky (72) and D.A. Weibring, who fired the lowest round on Sunday with a 7-under 65. That group came in at 4-under-par 284.
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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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.