Mundorf Takes Medalist Honors at US Amateur

By Sports NetworkAugust 21, 2001, 4:00 pm
Chris Mundorf of Greensboro, North Carolina fired a nine-under-par 63 on Tuesday and captured stroke-play medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur with a two-day total of eight-under 134.
The 23-year-old Mundorf's round of 63 at the Druid Hills Golf Club tied the U.S. Amateur record for stroke play, set Monday by Robert Godfrey of Clemson, South Carolina. The previous record for lowest 18-hole score in qualifying was 64, set by Phil Mickelson in 1990 and matched by Hank Kim in 1994.
Mundorf played the back nine first on Tuesday and was four-under after just seven holes.
'After that, I thought I'd be pretty safe to make the cut for match play,' said Mundorf. 'But I told myself, 'Don't start cruising or anything. Keep firing at it.''
Mundorf didn't let up and played the back nine in five-under par. He made three more birdies and eagled the par-five ninth hole to close out his 63.
Godfrey had a 63 at the par-70 East Lake Golf Club on Monday and managed an even-par 72 on Tuesday at Druid Hulls to finish tied for second in the stroke- play portion of the event at seven-under 135.
Michael Sims of Bermuda also finished tied for second in stroke play at seven- under after posting a six-under 66 on Tuesday at Druid Hills.
James Driscoll, last year's U.S. Amateur runner-up, tied for fourth at six- under after carding an even-par 72 Tuesday at Druid Hills. He opened with a six-under 64 at East Lake on Monday.
Defending champion Jeff Quinney, who sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the 39th hole to defeat Driscoll in the final last year at Baltusrol in New Jersey, earned a spot in the match-play field of 64. He finished tied for 35th in stroke play at even-par, playing both East Lake and Druid Hills in even-par.
Each player in the 312-man field played one round of stroke play at East Lake and Druid Hills. The remaining five days of play will be contested at East Lake.
The top 64 players in two rounds of stroke play gained spots in the match-play field.
The cut came at two-over 144 and 15 players were tied for the final two spots in the match-play field. Seven of the 15 players were eliminated on the first playoff hole.
Darkness then set in and the eight remaining players will vie for the final two spots when the playoff continues on Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. (et). The first round of match play will then begin.
Former champion John Harris was among those to miss the cut. The 1993 winner fired a three-under 69 Tuesday at Druid Hills, but it was not enough to overcome his seven-over 77 on Monday at East Lake.
Trip Kuehne, who lost in the 1994 final to Tiger Woods, also missed the cut with a two-day total of four-over 146.
Ty Tryon, the 17-year-old Florida high school junior who has indicated that he might turn pro after the Amateur, also missed the cut. He carded a four-under 68 on Tuesday at Druid Hills after stumbling to a 10-over 80 on Monday at East Lake.
Tryon became the youngest golfer in 44 years to make the cut in a PGA Tour event after he Monday qualified for the Honda Classic in March. Only 16 at the time, he finished the event in a tie for 39th.
He also played in last month's B.C. Open on a sponsor's exemption, shooting a 65 in the first round to tie for the lead. He posted 72-72-70 over the next three days and wound up tied for 37th.

Round Two Scores
Chris Mundorf,Raleigh, N.C.,71e-63d--134
Robert Godfrey,Clemson, S.C.,63e-72d--135
Michael Sims,Bermuda,,69e-66d--135
James Driscoll,Brookline, Mass.,64e-72d--136
Nick Watney,Fresno, Calif.,69e-67d--136
Camilo Villegas,Colombia,,68d-68e--136
John Engler,Augusta, Ga.,70e-66d--136
Oliver Wilson,England,,68d-69e--137
Jerry Courville,Milford, Conn.,68e-69d--137
D.J. Trahan,Inman, S.C.,69e-68d--137
Lucas Glover,Greenville, S.C.,64d-74e--138
Ben Portie,Westminster, Colo.,66d-72e--138
Brock Mackenzie,Yakima, Wash.,69e-69d--138
Mike McCoy,West Des Moines, Iowa,73e-65d--138
Jamie Elson,England,,70e-69d--139
Paul Simson,Raleigh, N.C.,69d-70e--139
Steve Sokol,Oxford, Conn.,71e-69d--140
Mike Plate,Ogallala, Nebr.,72e-68d--140
Wayne Raath,South Africa,,72d-68e--140
Atsushi Takase,Japan,,70d-71e--141
John Robertson,Olympia, Wash.,72e-69d--141
Bubba Dickerson,Hilliard, Fla.,69e-72d--141
Chez Reavie,Mesa, Ariz.,67d-74e--141
Matt Hendrix,Aiken, S.C.,72d-69e--141
Michael Carlisle,Aiken, S.C.,74e-67d--141
David Griffiths,England,,70e-71d--141
Jay Morgan,Choctaw, Okla.,71d-70e--141
Nicholas Thompson,Coral Springs, Fla.,69d-72e--141
Chris Wisler,Dover, Del.,66d-75e--141
Graeme McDowell,Northern Ireland,,66d-75e--141
Brian Quackenbush,Fairfax, Va.,71e-70d--141
Robert Hamilton,Carmichael, Calif.,67e-74d--141
Andrew Svoboda,Stamford, Conn.,73e-68d--141
Brian Nosler,Lake Oswego, Ore.,72e-69d--141
Simon Nash,Australia,,74e-68d--142
Casey Yates,Fouke, Ark.,70e-72d--142
Scott Hailes,West Bountiful, Utah,73e-69d--142
Andy Doeden,Fargo, N.Dak.,71e-71d--142
Kris Mikkelsen,Woodstock, Ga.,75e-67d--142
Daniel Summerhays,Farmington, Utah,68d-74e--142
Billy Harvey,Las Vegas, Nev.,75e-67d--142
Jeff Quinney,Eugene, Ore.,72d-70e--142
Steve Paramore,Ashland, Ohio,74e-68d--142
Manuel Merizalde,Colombia,,72d-70e--142
Sandy Horacek,Los Angeles, Calif.,74e-68d--142
Ryan Blaum,Coral Gables, Fla.,71d-71e--142
Michael Webb,Elberton, Ga.,71e-71d--142
Daniel Ozley,Birmingham, Ala.,74e-69d--143
Scott Abbott,Dallas, Texas,70e-73d--143
Brad Morris,Clay City, Ky.,68e-75d--143
John Carlson,Bagley, Minn.,75e-68d--143
Taichiro Kiyota,Japan,,70d-73e--143
Nick Cassini,Athens, Ga.,73d-70e--143
Chris Nallen,Hackettstown, N.J.,73e-70d--143
Scott Wingfield,Las Vegas, Nev.,69d-74e--143
Craig Steinberg,Los Angeles, Calif.,69e-74d--143
Brooks Kelly,Sierra Vista, Ariz.,69e-74d--143
Alan Morgan,Lake Charles, La.,72e-71d--143
Richard McEvoy,England,,68d-75e--143
Cameron Yancey,Blackstone, Va.,71d-72e--143
Jay Childs,Kennesaw, Ga.,74e-69d--143
Steve Christophel,Vacaville, Calif.,74e-69d--143
* Scott Feaster,Columbia, S.C.,69d-75e--144
* Greg Earnhardt,Greensboro, N.C.,73e-71d--144
* Advanced in Wedneday Morning Playoff
Notables Who Failed to Qualify
** John Davis,Mesa, Ariz.,73d-71e--144
** Thomas Lee,Guttenberg, N.J.,72e-72d--144
** Mike Booker,The Woodlands, Texas,70d-74e--144
** Matt McQuillan,Canada,,72d-72e--144
** Jeff Jenkins,Van Buren, Ark.,70d-74e--144
** Jonathan Dismuke,Calhoun City, Miss.,72e-72d--144
Chan Wongluekiet,Bradenton, Fla.,70d-74e--144(4)
Kevin Na,Diamond Bar, Calif.,71d-74e--145
Trip Kuehne,Dallas, Texas,74e-72d--146
John Harris,Edina, Minn.,77e-69d--146
Ty Tryon,Orlando, Fla.,80e-68d--148
Erik Compton,Miami, Fla.,75d-74e--149
David Eger,Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.,77e-76d--153
** Failed to advance in Wednesday morning playoff
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Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.

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McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, five shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”