Mickeson Ties Course Record at BellSouth

By Sports NetworkMarch 30, 2006, 5:00 pm
BellSouth ClassicDULUTH, Ga. -- Defending champion Phil Mickelson fired a 9-under-par 63 on Thursday to tie the course record and take a one-stroke lead after one round of the BellSouth Classic.
Mickelson's 63 matched that of Tiger Woods in 1998, Duffy Waldorf in 1999 and Ben Crane in 2003 as the lowest rounds on the TPC at Sugarloaf.
Gavin Coles, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, posted an 8-under-par 64 to take second place. Charles Warren, who owns three Nationwide Tour crowns, is one stroke further back at minus-7.
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson had 10 birdies and one bogey Thursday.
Ian Poulter carded a 6-under-par 66. He shares fourth place with Scott Parel and Joe Durant.
Mickelson came flying out of the gate with a birdie on the first. He came right back with a 3-foot birdie putt on the second.
The 35-year-old parred the third, but kept rolling with a two-putt birdie on the fourth. Mickelson hit a wedge to 5 feet at the fifth, and made that to get to 4 under through five holes.
Mickelson got up and down for birdie from over the green on the par-5 sixth. He dropped a pitching-wedge within 3 feet at the seventh to setup his sixth birdie.
The 2004 Masters champion faltered to a three-putt bogey on No. 8 to slip to 5 under.
'I hit a good putt, overplayed it and I should have known from watching another ball not break as much,' said Mickelson of his bogey. 'I just didn't pay attention and played three inches outside left edge, which was too much, but no complaints.'
Around the turn, Mickelson ran home a lengthy birdie putt to get back to 6 under. The former Arizona State star stuck a wedge 3 feet from the cup on 14 and dropped in that putt for another birdie. Mickelson's tee shot at the par-3 16th stopped 6 feet from the hole and he poured in that birdie putt.
Mickelson's approach shot at the 17th came to rest just over 25 feet from the hole. He drained the birdie putt, then missed a birdie at the last that would have given him the course record.
'Any round could have been better, but it could have been not nearly as good, either,' Mickelson said. 'I had a lot of putts that went in. I'll absolutely take it. I'm ecstatic with how it turned out. I hit a lot of good shots, but I also followed it with some good putts, and it was a good day overall.'
Coles was the early leader before Mickelson hit the course. Coles played the back nine first and picked up birdies on Nos. 10, 13 and 15. Then at the par-4 17th, he holed a 5-iron from 190 yards out for eagle.
The Australian came right back with a birdie on the par-5 18th to make the turn at minus-6. Coles made it two straight as he birdied the first around the turn.
Coles got to eight-under with a birdie on the par-4 fifth. He tripped to his only bogey on the seventh. Coles quickly atoned for that error with a birdie on the eighth. He closed with a par on No. 9
'I've been working hard with my coach, really hard,' Coles said. 'He's been over in the States working with Rodney Pampling obviously at Bay Hill, and I got to squeeze in a little time with him. I played last week, but didn't play very good until about the last five holes where I started to play quite nicely. My swing is getting better all the time.'
David Howell, who won the HSBC Champions Tournament on the European Tour in November, carded a 5-under-par 67. He shares seventh place with Brett Wetterich.
Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington each shot 68. They were joined in ninth place at minus-4 by Mark Wilson, Shane Bertsch, Matt Kuchar, Stephen Leaney, Boyd Summerhays and Danny Ellis.
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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 right 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."

    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.