Sergio Tough Act to Follow at Quail Hollow

By Sports NetworkMay 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sergio Garcia survived a windy Friday to shoot a 1-under 71 and maintain his lead after the second round of the Wachovia Championship. He stands at 7-under-par 137 and leads by two at Quail Hollow Club.
Vijay Singh (69), defending champion Joey Sindelar (71) and D.J. Trahan (67) share second place at minus-5.
Tiger Woods, playing for the first time since capturing his fourth green jacket three weeks ago, managed an even-par 72. He is tied for 13th place at 2-under-par 142.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is five off the pace after an ever-par 72 on Friday.
Woods collected three birdies in his first four holes, including a near ace at the par-3 third. He struggled on the later part of his front nine with two bogeys and a three-putt par at the par-5 seventh.
The No. 1 player in the world birdied 10 and 11, but dropped a shot at the 12th. Woods' approach at 14 spun back into water and it was another bogey. He bogeyed the 16th to polish off his even-par 72.
'It was a frustrating finish; as well as I drove it all day today, I didn't take advantage of it,' said Woods. 'Hopefully tomorrow I can get off to the same start and just keep it going.'
Heavy wind blustered from every direction on Friday making play extremely difficult.
Garcia struggled out of the gate on Friday. At the second hole, Garcia hit an 8-iron too far left of the flag and the ball bounced in the bunker. He played a poor shot out of the sand to 12 feet and missed the par putt.
The Spaniard parred his next four holes before driving into the right rough on the par-5 seventh. Garcia's 3-iron second shot sailed left into a greenside bunker, but this time he blasted out to 5 feet and rolled in the birdie putt.
Garcia gave himself a good look at birdie from 6 feet at the eighth but missed. At the difficult par-4 ninth, Garcia split the fairway with his drive, but still had 243 yards to the hole. His 3-wood went right of the green, then Garcia hit his chip too hard and went through the green. Garcia had a makeable chip, but just missed left and tapped in for bogey.
On the second nine, Garcia played a solid drive down the 12th fairway. He hit a punch 7-iron into a hill on the green and the ball took the slope toward the hole and stopped 6 feet from the cup. Garcia rolled in the birdie putt to reach 6-under par for the tournament.
Garcia nearly went into the water on 14, but saved par. He found a front bunker with his second at the par-5 15th and blasted out to 12 feet. Garcia converted that birdie putt for his two-stroke lead.
'The course was playing a bit tougher today and it was a lot windier. Some of those fairways are almost impossible to hit,' said Garcia. 'It felt good to go out there and only make two bogeys as tough as it was playing and make a couple birdies here and there. I missed a couple good chances at birdies, but my putter behaved a little bit better, that's for sure, and I made some key par putts to keep my round going a little bit.'
Garcia, ranked ninth in the world, has three top-10s this season on the PGA Tour, but has yet to seriously threaten the top of the leaderboard. He feels his biggest weakness, his short game, is coming around and could put him in position to claim victory, but the winless start is not bothering him.
'I really think that my short game is becoming much, much better every week. So I think I'm on the right track,' said Garcia, who has his first second-round lead on the PGA Tour since 2001. 'I would love to win this week, but if I don't, it's not going to be a problem. At least I'm giving myself chances.'
Singh started quickly with a birdie at the first, then added another at the fifth. He collected his third birdie at the 10th, and sank a 5-footer for birdie at 12.
Singh, No. 2 in the world, missed the green badly at the 13th and made bogey. He traded a birdie and a bogey at 15 and 16, but still posted one of only 12 rounds under 70 on Friday.
'At times you think it's calm and you're going to be making contact with the ball and the wind comes up,' said Singh. 'The ball can go anywhere. There's no one consistent type of wind. It's blowing steady and then all of a sudden there will be nothing there. If you take the right club, you don't know if it's the right one or not.'
Sindelar mixed four birdies and three bogeys in his round on Friday, while Trahan birdied five of his last eight holes in the second round to shoot his 67, which tied for lowest round of the day.
Scott Verplank and Brett Quigley each posted rounds of 3-under 69 and are tied for fifth with Richard Johnson, who shot a 72 on Friday. They are knotted at 4-under-par 140.
Chris DiMarco, who lost in a playoff to Woods at the Masters, also fired a 67 in round two and shares eighth place with Jeff Sluman (70), Jim Furyk (72), Per-Ulrik Johansson (71) and Greg Owen (67). The group is tied at minus-3.
The 36-hole cut fell at 4-over-par 148 and among the notable players who missed the cut were: Mike Weir (149), Davis Love III (150), David Toms (153) and Zach Johnson (160).
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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."