OMeara Stays One Back in Florida

By Sports NetworkFebruary 24, 2007, 5:00 pm
2005 ACE Group ClassicNAPLES, Florida -- Allen Doyle shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to take a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Bobby Wadkins heading into the final round of the ACE Group Classic.
Doyle, the reigning two-time U.S. Senior Open champion, holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole to break a tie with O'Meara and Wadkins. He is at 12-under 132 overall.
Wadkins, the overnight leader, followed up his first-round 64 with a 3-under 69. O'Meara had a 4-under 68 to join him in a tie for second place at 11-under 133.
Mike Reid had his second-consecutive 67 and stands alone in fourth place at 10-under 134. Ireland's Des Smyth (67) and Argentina's Eduardo Romero (69) are a shot further back at 135.
Doyle played in a threesome with O'Meara and Wadkins, but was the last one to post a birdie. He made his first at No. 5, then followed it up with his only bogey of the round to fall two shots behind both O'Meara and Wadkins.
Over the last 10 holes, however, Doyle made his move by scattering five more birdies while his playing partners made just two apiece.
With his homespun swing, Doyle has won 11 Champions Tour titles since he broke through with a win at this event in 1999 -- this after never finishing better than seventh on the PGA TOUR.
The 58-year-old former amateur star is a career 5-5 when holding the lead heading into the final round of a Champions Tour event.
Sunday at Quail West, there will be 12 players within five shots.
O'Meara and Wadkins both posted bogey-free rounds, but they had just four and three birdies respectively.
Defending champion Loren Roberts is six shots back at 138 following a second- round 70. Roberts made this tournament his third straight win to begin last season -- a Champions Tour first.
He is tied for 14th place with five other players, including the man he battled -- and ultimately lost out to -- for last year's Charles Schwab Cup title, Jay Haas.
Peter Jacobsen (back) and Jay Sigel (ribs) both withdrew from the event before their scheduled tee times.
J.C. Snead made the first hole-in-one on the Champions Tour this season when he aced the 172-yard, par-3 12th with a 5-iron. Snead carded a 72 and is tied for 57th place at 1 over par.
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.