New Zealand Takes Lead Americans Tied for Fourth

By Sports NetworkNovember 16, 2001, 5:00 pm
Michael Campbell and David Smail teamed up to shoot a 6-under 66 that lifted New Zealand into the lead at 15-under-par 129 after Friday's alternate-shot second round of the WGC-EMC World Cup.
The Japanese tandem of Toshi Izawa and Shigeki Maruyama delighted the home fans at the Taiheiyo Club's Gotemba Course by grabbing a share of second place with Scotland at 11-under. The hosts combined for a 69, while Andrew Coltart and Dean Robertson, who fired a better-ball 62 Thursday to put Scotland atop the leaderboard with Canada and Sweden, posted a 71.
Defending champions Tiger Woods and David Duval of the United States, tied for 11th at the start of the day, produced a 68 and moved into a tie for fourth at 10-under par with Thomas Bjorn and Soren Hansen of Denmark (69), and Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain (71).
The Canadians and the Swedes matched 73s to drop back into seventh place in the 24-country field with Argentina (68), France (68), Fiji (69) and South Africa (71).
Campbell, the 30th-ranked player in the world with four career wins on the European Tour, has tallied 15 birdies over the two days with Smail. Smail, the world's 136th-ranked golfer, competes on the Australasian Tour and has experience playing the 7,232-yard Gotemba layout.
'It's definitely an advantage,' Smail - the winner of last year's Canon Challenge - said. 'I know the grass types here and what it's like to play in Japan this time of year. I've played this course three or four times in the past and am quite familiar with it.'
Woods and Duval, the most formidable pairing rankings-wise at Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, struggled a bit in Thursday's best-ball format, taking a penalty when Duval rolled a practice putt on the 16th green after Woods had holed out.
The U.S. representatives got their act together on the back nine Friday, birdieing three of the first four holes after the turn.
After Duval knocked his approach to 10 feet at the par-4 10th, Woods sank the putt to convert the birdie. At the par-5 11th, Duval hit his team's third shot to six feet and Woods managed to connect again.
Although he missed a five-footer for birdie at the 12th, Woods came through at par-3 13th after Duval's tee shot set up another six-foot birdie try.
Duval missed the green at the par-3 17th and Woods made the situation worse when he chipped short of the hole. They needed two more putts to get down for bogey but fashioned a birdie at the closing hole to negate the dropped shot.
'It could have been a really low number today, but that's just the way it goes,' said Woods, who is looking to be part of a third straight victory for the U.S. at the World Cup.
'This format is awfully difficult to get into a rhythm, and we found it a little bit in the middle of the round. But we just made our share of mistakes a little bit, too.'
Before successfully joining forces with Duval in Argentina last year, Woods teamed up with Mark O'Meara to win the event in Malaysia in 1999.
The U.S. has won 23 of the 46 World Cups held since the event's inception in 1953.
The World Cup is the final World Golf Championships event scheduled for 2001. Steve Stricker captured the WGC-Match Play Championship in Australia back in January, and Woods won his third straight WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone in August after an epic seven-hole playoff with Jim Furyk.
The third tournament in the series, the WGC-American Express Championship, was scheduled for September 13-16 but was cancelled in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11.
Click Here for Full-Field Scores From the WGC-EMC World Cup
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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.