Roberts Morgan Join Nielsen at Top

By Sports NetworkOctober 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Charles Schwab Cup ChampionshipSONOMA, Calif. -- Overnight leader Lonnie Nielsen ran home a 51-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Friday to shoot an even-par 72 and join Gil Morgan and Loren Roberts atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
 
Morgan and Roberts both posted rounds of 3-under 69 to get in the clubhouse at 6-under-par 138. Nielsen's heroics on 18 got him into the tie at Sonoma Golf Club.
 
Gil Morgan
Gil Morgan is trying to win at least one event on tour for the 10th straight year.
It is a crowded leaderboard in the season's final event.
 
Jay Haas, who has won his last two starts on the Champions Tour, carded a 3-under 69 and is tied for fourth place with Craig Stadler (70), Des Smyth (70), Tom Watson (70), Bruce Fleisher (71) and Jerry Pate (72). The group is one shot back at minus-5.
 
This title is not the only thing at stake this week. The $1 million annuity and the year-long Charles Schwab Cup title are on the line with Dana Quigley leading Hale Irwin by 345 points.
 
There are several players in the mix for the Cup, but Quigley has the advantage. He was alone in the lead at 7 under par, but fell apart with a bogey at 15 and a double bogey at the 16th.
 
Quigley shot a 1-under 71 and is tied for 10th with Tom Kite (68) and Morris Hatalsky (70) at 4-under-par 140. Irwin managed a 2-under 70 and is tied for 16th at minus-2.
 
Nielsen struggled early in Friday's second round. He bogeyed the third, fourth and fifth holes to fall down the leaderboard, but rebounded around the turn with a birdie at the ninth.
 
He birdied 11 to get to 1 over on the round, but dropped another shot at 15, only to make that bogey with a birdie one hole later.
 
At the closing hole at Sonoma, Nielsen hit a poor second shot well left of the flag. Nielsen, winless on the Champions Tour, holed the long birdie try to join the lead.
 
Morgan, the 1997 Charles Schwab Cup Championship winner, recorded birdies at four and five, then rolled in a 4-footer for birdie at the ninth. Morgan dropped a shot at the 14th, but took advantage of the last par-5, the 16th.
 
At that hole, Morgan sank a 6-foot birdie putt to reach 6 under par for the championship. His birdie putt from 21 feet came up one revolution short at 17, then the 23-time winner on the Champions Tour played solid golf on 18.
 
His approach landed in a greenside bunker, but he blasted out 12 feet short. Morgan calmly rolled in the par save to claim his piece of the lead.
 
'It's a nice feeling,' said Morgan, who needs a win this week to extend his streak to 10 consecutive years with a win on the Champions Tour. 'Obviously I'd like to keep the streak going, but if ends this week, so be it.'
 
Roberts, who collected his only Champions Tour win at The Tradition, made the turn at 1 under par thanks to a 4-foot birdie putt at the par-4 ninth hole.
 
He birdied the 10th. bogeyed 11 and 12, but birdied 13th to stay 1 under on his round. Roberts birdied the 16th to get to 5 under for the championship, then drained a 10-foot birdie putt at the 17th to join the lead at minus-6.
 
On the 18th, Roberts hit a 6-iron just off the green on the right side. He was able to get up and down for par and now has a good chance at his second win on the elder circuit in his rookie year.
 
'It's wide open with 15 people within three shots,' said Roberts. 'It's hard to separate yourself. We'll see what happens tomorrow and Sunday. I think it's going to be a shootout all week.'
 
Jim Thorpe (68), Brad Bryant (70) and Tom Purtzer (71) are the other players within three as they are knotted at minus-3.
 
Defending champion Mark McNulty posted his second consecutive round of even- par 72 and is tied for 21st place at 144.
 
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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).

    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 phoned 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. 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.