Romero Caps Major Season with Win

By Sports NetworkAugust 27, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Jeld-Wen TraditionALOHA, Ore. -- It took one extra hole, but Eduardo Romero picked up his first Champions Tour win Sunday as he won the JELD-WEN Tradition with a birdie on the first playoff hole.
Romero, who finished well ahead of the final pairing of Lonnie Nielsen and Bobby Wadkins, posted the low round of the week with his 7-under 65. That got him into the clubhouse at 13-under-par 275.
Eduardo Romero
Eduardo Romero kisses his first trophy on the Champions Tour.
Nielsen, who like Romero was going for his first Champions Tour win, birdied the 18th hole to join Romero at minus-13 after a final-round 70.
Wadkins had a chance to get into the playoff, but he posted just one birdie to go with 17 pars. That left him one stroke out of the playoff at 12-under-par 279.
In the playoff, Nielsen found a fairway bunker off the tee and did not have a good lie. His second shot hit the lip of the bunker and kicked into the trees right of the fairway.
Nielsen had a good look though from there. He hit a fairway wood from nearly 275 yards just short of the 18th green at Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club.
Romero, after watching those two shots, knocked a fairway wood of his own onto the green, 18 feet from the hole.
Nielsen pitched on, but could only two putt for bogey from 16 feet out.
Romero, who had rolled his eagle putt to 2 feet before Nielsen putted, tapped in for birdie and his first tour win. He joins Jack Nicklaus, Tom Kite and Loren Roberts as those who made this event their first Champions Tour win.
'It feels very strange (to finally get this win). I'm very happy though, I played good all week,' Romero said. 'This is my first victory on the Champions Tour and I'm very, very, very happy. I hope there will be more to come. I'm very excited, I don't know what to say.'
Mark James (67), Tom Kite (71), Larry Nelson (70) and Tom Purtzer (70) finished in a tie fourth place at 9-under-par 279.
Romero caught fire early on the front nine. He holed out for eagle on the par-4 fourth, then birdied each of the next two holes to move to 10 under. A birdie on the par-4 eighth moved into a share of the lead with Nielsen and Wadkins.
The Argentine cooled with seven straight pars.
Meanwhile, Nielsen traded a birdie for a bogey from the sixth. Birdies on nine and 12 moved Nielsen to 13 under. However, he gave a stroke back with a bogey on No. 13.
Romero birdied the par-5 16th to move into a tie for the lead again at 12 under. At the par-5 18th, Romero found a greenside bunker with his second. He blasted out to 15 feet and sank that birdie putt to end at minus-13.
'I've been working hard to get a good result for next year,' said Romero of gaining exempt status for 2007, which he earned with the win. 'Today, the key was my putting. It was good today. I hit my driver well and today was my best day thinking.'
Nielsen parred four straight from the 14th. At the last, he got a good bounce over a bunker. He then pitched to two feet and tapped in for birdie to force the extra session.
Wadkins' lone birdie came on the 12th. So he stood at minus-12, but was unable to make another birdie the rest of the way. At the last, his second shot bounced hard off the green and into very thick rough. He pitched onto the fringe and two-putted for par when he needed a birdie.
'I was pretty well hosed. I think we could have put the greatest player in the world there, Tiger Woods, and he would have had a hard time getting up and down,' Wadkins said of his shot from over the 18th green.
'I hit a drive as good as I could hit it and a 3-wood the way you draw it up on the practice tee. Everything about it looked good, but it didn't work out. I didn't do what I had to do today.'
Andy Bean ended in eighth at minus-8, while five players were one stroke further back.
Roberts, the 2005 champion, struggled to a 4-over 76 Sunday and ended in a tie for 14th at 6-under-par 282.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - JELD-WEN Tradition
  • Full Coverage - JELD-WEN Tradition
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.''

    Getty Images

    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. 

    Getty Images

    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.