Monty Wins Hong Kong Title Kingston Folds

By Sports NetworkDecember 4, 2005, 5:00 pm
European TourHONG KONG -- For the second straight year, James Kingston was looking victory in the eye at the Hong Kong Open. And for the second straight year, the 18th hole at Hong Kong Golf Club refused to yield the South African his maiden European Tour win.
Playing in the final pairing and needing only a par to beat Colin Montgomerie, Kingston hit into the trees off the 18th tee and instead carded a double bogey six that gave Montgomerie the victory.
It was a similar ending to last year's event, when Kingston's drive on 18 landed next to a fence, leading to a bogey and a win for Miguel Angel Jimenez.
But last year Kingston and Jimenez were tied heading to 18. This year, the 40- year-old was one shot clear of Montgomerie heading to the final hole.
For his part, Montgomerie scrambled for a tough par at the 16th and then added two more par putts to finish off an even-par 70 round. His 9-under-par 271 for the tournament was good for a one-shot lead over Kingston and four other players.
Ever the classy player, Montgomerie was less than happy with the way he won his 30th European Tour title. In fact, the Scotsman looked downright depressed as Kingston walked off the 18th green.
'Everyone's heart goes out to James Kingston there on the last,' sighed Montgomerie, who just wrapped up his eighth European Tour Order of Merit title at the end of the 2005 season.
'That should have been a playoff at worst, to be honest, and then we would have had more drama coming down that last hole (in a playoff). It's a shame and I think we all feel for him -- every golfer who's ever played the game feels for someone that doubles the last to lose with a one shot lead.'
Indeed, things looked to be falling into place for Kingston to earn his first win. Playing partner and overnight leader Simon Yates stumbled to a double bogey on the first hole and a bogey at the fifth to fall back.
And with no player really taking charge of the final round, Kingston led around the turn after a birdie at No. 3 put him at minus-10.
He reached 11 under with his second birdie of the day at 15, but then began exhibiting jitters at the 16th, where an errant tee shot into the rough led to his first dropped shot since the second round.
But Kingston caught a break when Montgomerie missed a 12-foot birdie putt ahead at 17 that would have tied him with the leader.
Montgomerie played it conservative with an iron off the tee at the par-4 18th. He then missed an uphill birdie putt after his approach shot left him short of the cup.
Kingston also pulled an iron for his tee shot at the final hole. Only instead of hitting the fairway like Montgomerie, he sliced his ball into a group of moderately-spaced trees off to the right.
The only shot he had was sideways back onto the fairway, which he took. Then, in an aggressive move, Kingston attacked the pin with his third shot.
But the ball landed short of the hole on the right side of the green and spun back off the putting surface. A horridly short chip shot then left Kingston with an 8-foot knee knocker that he missed.
The double bogey left Kingston with a 1-over 71 for his final round and an 8-under-par 272 for the tournament. He shared second place with K.J. Choi (69), Keng-Chi Lin (69), Edward Loar (69) and Thammanoon Srirot (68).
First round leader Kang Wook-Soon, the last Asian player to win here when he titled in 1998, shot a final-round 71 and led a group of three players tied for seventh place. He was joined at minus-seven by Thongchai Jaidee (70) and Damien McGrane (71).
Finishing one stroke further back and alone in 10th place was Yates, whose final-round 75 included two double bogeys and two bogeys.
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Scores - Hong Kong Open
  • Full Coverage - Hong Kong Open
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    McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

    The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

    McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

    And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

    “I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

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    Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

    No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

    Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

    With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

    “This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

    Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. 

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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?