Robbins and Bader Share Giant Eagle Lead

By Sports NetworkJuly 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
VIENNA, Ohio -- Kelly Robbins and Beth Bader set the early pace in Friday's rain-interrupted opening round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.
The pair fired 8-under par 64s to set the course record at Squaw Creek Country Club. The scores also tied the tournament's 18-hole mark and left Robbins and Bader one shot ahead of Mi Hyun Kim and Danielle Ammaccapane.
Rookies Natalie Gulbis and Jung Yeon Lee finished in fifth place with 5-under 67s.
Robbins, a nine-time winner in 10 years on the LPGA Tour, tallied six birdies and two bogeys Friday. She also made a pair of eagles -- the first when she holed out a 50-foot bunker shot at the 479-yard, par-5 5th hole, and the second with a four-foot putt set up by a driver and 3-wood to the green at the 486-yard eighth.
She used her wedges as weapons on Friday, with four of her half dozen birdies coming on putts inside six feet. In fact, three were from three feet and in.
'It's good to get off to a really nice start,' said Robbins, 32, who hasn't posted a victory since the season-opening event of 1999. 'I've been playing really well, I just haven't been making a whole lot of birdies.
'I just haven't done a lot of really good things to put me into any type of real contention.'
Robbins has logged two top-10 finishes in 2002 -- a tie for third at the Welch's/Circle K Championship and solo second at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship.
Her first-round 64 tied her career-low round. She reached the same score seven times previously.
Baders 64 was the best of her short career. The 28-year-old, who joined the LPGA Tour last year, shot a 66 for a share of the lead after one round of the Corning Classic back in May. She followed with 77 in the second round and in the end tied for a disappointing 65th.
'It's my second year,' Bader said. 'I need to chill out, relax and have fun with it. The more upset and frustrated you get, the harder it is to play. No point in pouting all day -- I decided to change my attitude a little bit.'
Bader birdied her first three holes, starting on the 10th, but three-putted for bogey at the par-5 13th. She rebounded with three more birdies at 14, 17 and 18, then went to 6-under by wedging her third shot to two feet for birdie at the par-5 second.
Though she failed to get up and down out of a bunker and bogeyed the fifth, another par-5, Bader cleaned up with birdies on three of her last four holes.
Eight of Bader's 10 birdie putts were holed from 10 feet and in.
Both Robbins and Bader were on the good side of the draw on Friday. Their morning tee times kept them ahead of the lightning and heavy rains that delayed play for more than two hours in the afternoon. As it turned out, only two of the top 14 scores were posted after the storm came through.
Jackie Gallagher-Smith, who earned her lone victory at the 1999 Giant Eagle, shot 68 and was part of an eight-way tie for seventh place at 4-under par.
Two-time defending champion Dorothy Delasin, looking to become only the seventh player to win the same LPGA tournament three years in a row, turned in a 3-under 69 and was tied for 15th.
Full field scores from the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic
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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 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."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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.