Oakley Wins Senior British Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Senior British OpenPORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- Unheralded Pete Oakley, who qualified for the tournament on Tuesday, closed the Senior British Open with a 2-under 70 Sunday to win his first Champions Tour title by one stroke.
He finished the Champions Tour's third major with a winning score 4-under-par 284 in just his second trip to the Senior British Open. This was his 18th appearance in a major championship overall.
'I'm still trying to rationalize at the moment,' said Oakley, whose best previous finish in a major was a tie for 29th at the 2003 U.S. Senior Open. 'I'm not used to all of this attention, but it certainly is rewarding and I'm very much excited and looking forward to what's going to happen to me the next year, actually.'
Oakley, who is the director of golf at the Rookery in Delaware, was the winner at the 1999 American PGA Senior Club Professional Championship. He earned $295,212 for this win and also gains a spot in next week's U.S. Senior Open.
Eduardo Romero, who recently turned 50, put together a remarkable run of golf over the final 10 holes, but he fell just short. Romero carded six birdies in that span to close a round of 5-under 67, the best round of the tournament.
Romero shared second place at 3-under-par 285 with Tom Kite. Romero carded two of the tournaments 13 rounds in the 60's, but was done in by scores of 75-74 in the middle two rounds. Kite closed with a 3-under 69.
Oakley seemed unfazed to open his round. He birdied the par-5 second for the fourth time this week. However, things took a turn for the worse from there at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
The 55-year-old bogeyed the fourth and fifth to fall behind Ford Senior Players Championship winner Mark James. James then fell of the pace with a pair of bogeys of his own, and the lead fell to Don Pooley and Kite.
Kite, who had eagled the second, birdied the ninth and 10th to jump to minus-4 and two strokes clear of the field. Oakley moved back to 2 under with a birdie at the seventh, but he then bogeyed the eighth.
Kite, who won one major on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, began to struggle on the back nine. He bogeyed the 12th and 14th to slide back to minus-2.
Meanwhile, Oakley took control of the tournament. After his bogey at the eighth, Oakley rolled in a birdie at the ninth. He came right back to birdie the 10th.
Oakley climbed back into the lead at minus-4 with a birdie at the par-3 11th. He was not done there either. Oakley moved to 5 under as he birdied the par-3 14th.
Oakley fell back to 4 under with a bogey at the 16th, while Romero and Kite fought back into contention.
Romero spread two bogeys and two birdies over his opening eight holes to remain at plus-2. He started his climb up the leaderboard with three straight birdies from the ninth.
The Argentine slipped back to even par overall with a bogey at the par-4 13th, a hole which he played at plus-3 for the week. Romero kept battling though.
He rolled in three consecutive birdies from the 15th to get within one shot of Oakley. Kite, meanwhile, rolled in a birdie at the 17h to also get to minus-3.
Romero and Kite trailed by one standing on the 18th tee. Unfortunately for them, each man only managed pars to remain at minus-3.
'I played really well today,' said Kite. 'I got real aggressive on a first putt on No. 14, which I thought I could make and I zipped it right on by. I missed the one coming back to make bogey. That hurt me, but other than that and a bad swing on 13, I played a very, very good round of golf.'
In the meantime, Oakley parred the 17th as his competitors finished out at the last. He then calmly got up-and-down from a greenside bunker for par at the 72nd hole to earn the first major championship win of his career.
'Until I got in the bunker and couldn't see the flag from the bunker, I didn't think it was that difficult a shot,' Oakley said. 'When I stood there, I saw about a 9-foot wall in front of me and I could not see the flag.
'I wanted to make sure I got it out of the bunker. I knew it would come out. I was confident it would come out. I was able to hit the shot I thought I was going to hit, but it went farther past the hole than I was hoping. I've been putting the ball very well also, and just let what happened the entire week happen again. I rode it right in and won.'
James ended the tournament with a 2-under 70 to finish alone in fourth place at 2-under-par 286. Mark McNulty and Pooley carded matching rounds of even-par 72 to finish one stroke further back at minus-1.
Bill Longmuir finished alone in seventh place at 2-over-par 290, while Carl Mason posted a 3-under 69 in the final round to finish at plus-3.
Tom Watson, the 2003 champion, shot three straight rounds of 2-over 74 to finish in a tie for 22nd at 9-over-par 297.
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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.