Poulter in the Hunt Lefty Misses Cut

By Sports NetworkJuly 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Barclays Scottish OpenGLASGOW, Scotland -- Frenchman Gregory Havret fired a 7-under 64 on Friday to take the lead midway through the Scottish Open. He stands at 9-under-par 133 and is one ahead at Loch Lomond Golf Club.
First-round co-leader Phillip Price shot a 2-under 69 and is tied for second with a pair of Englishmen. Ian Poulter (67) and David Howell (64) joined Price at minus-8.
Although Havret played a spectacular round on Friday, the bigger story might be who will not be around on the weekend. The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 142 and some big names in golf will sit out on Saturday and Sunday.
Reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson shot an even-par 71 and missed the cut by a stroke at plus-1 143. Darren Clarke, one of the favorites for next week's British Open at Royal Troon, only managed a 73 on Friday and came in at 2-over-par 144.
Ben Curtis, whose first title defense comes next week at Troon, finished with three consecutive bogeys for a 1-over 72. He made it through 36 holes at plus-3 145.
But Havret, 27, stole the show on Friday. He tallied four birdies on his front nine, including three in his last four holes.
Havret's second nine started terribly as he parred No. 10, but dropped shots at the 11th and 12th. He rebounded with an eagle at the 13th and birdied three of last four, including back-to-back birdies at 17 and 18.
Havret played in exclusive company on Friday. His playing partners were U.S. Amateur champion Nick Flanagan and 1973 British Open champion and course designer Tom Weiskopf.
And for the last few holes Prince Andrew was an onlooker.
'It has been a beautiful day, to play with Tom Weiskopf and, although I didn't see Prince Andrew, I hear he was watching me play,' said Havret, whose only win on the European Tour came at the 2001 Italian Open. 'Tom is a really nice guy and helped me quite a bit during the rounds. It's a great course and I didn't even know he had designed it before yesterday. It is good to play with one of the legends of the game.'
Price had a 3-foot birdie chance at his last hole, but missed, leaving him in a tie for second.
'I didn't have my 'A' game today but I putted and chipped nicely and got myself out of trouble,' said Price, who shocked the world with a 3-and-2 drubbing of Mickelson in the 2002 Ryder Cup. 'Sometimes you have to do that. I don't think anybody hits it great for all four days and I am pleased with a battling 2 under. I seem to be in a very good frame of mind. I am very patient and doing some good things.'
Poulter began on the second nine Friday and tallied only one birdie on the back side. He birdied three and four for the second time in as many days and reached 8-under with a birdie at No. 7.
At his last hole, Poulter drove into a sand-filled divot. His second landed 8 feet over the hole but he missed the birdie putt. Poulter now has gone through two rounds at Loch Lomond without a bogey.
'It's always good to have a couple of clean scorecards and to roll in a few putts as well,' said Poulter, who is in the hunt for his first Ryder Cup team. 'No mistakes - that's good.'
Howell's last victory on tour came five years ago at the Dubai Desert Classic. The Englishman is starting to get frustrated that a second win has not come yet.
'I suppose I would have imagined I would have won again by now but it hasn't happened,' said Howell. 'Technically I am doing everything better now and my levels have come up tremendously. I am doing everything I can in my life to get that little white ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. I've just got to keep the faith.'
Tom Lehman, the 1997 winner at Loch Lomond and 1995 British Open champion, carded a 3-under 68 and is tied for fifth place. Thomas Bjorn (67), Christian Cevaer (68), Roger Chapman (66), Kenneth Ferrie (68), Marcus Fraser (68), Peter Hedblom (68) and Tetsuji Hiratsuka (65) joined Lehman at 7-under-par 135.
Eduardo Romero, another of the first-round co-leaders, struggled to a 1-over-par 72 and is part of a group tied for 15th place at minus-5. Colin Montgomerie is part of that logjam as well after a second-round 68.
Defending champion Ernie Els posted a 3-under 68 and is tied for 24th at minus-4.
Jose Manuel Lara, the remaining first-round leader, managed a 75 on Friday and is part of group tied for 39th at 2-under-par 140.
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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. 

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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."