Singh Wins Season-Opener in Maui

By Sports NetworkJanuary 7, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)KAPALUA, Hawaii -- After two holes Sunday, it looked as though Vijay Singh was going to walk away with the Mercedes-Benz Championship title. Down the stretch, Adam Scott put some pressure on Singh, but the 43-year-old held off Scott.

Singh two-putted for par on 18 to cap a 3-under 70 and complete the season-opening event at 14-under-par 278. Scott birdied three of the last four holes, but his bogey on the 17th cost him a chance at a playoff. The Australian finished at 12-under-par 280 after a final-round 69.

Vijay Singh
Things are already looking up for Vijay Singh in the new PGA TOUR season.
'It's a great feeling and a wonderful start to the season,' said Singh, who posted his eighth straight top-8 finish at this event. 'This is a great start for me. I worked very hard. I was in Kona for two weeks just trying to practice and get used to the wind, but I never thought it was going to blow this hard.'

This is Singh's 30th PGA TOUR win and with that he reached three milestones. He became the 17th player with 30 or more wins in PGA TOUR history. The title was also his 18th since turning 40. That broke the tour record for victories over 40.

Finally, the $1,100,000 winners check pushed Singh over the $50 million mark in career earnings on the PGA TOUR. He is just the second player to break that plateau, joining Tiger Woods, who has over $65 million in career earnings.

'It's still going. It isn't one of those things that you don't really think about until you do it,' Singh said. 'I really proud to get 30 wins. There are a lot of tournaments to go and a lot of years to go and hopefully I can get up to 40 (wins).'

Singh seemed to put things away early. He sank a 5-footer for birdie at the first and made it two straight as his 11-foot birdie putt at the second found the bottom of the cup.

The Fijian led by six at that point and cruised around the turn with eight straight pars. His lead dropped quickly as Will MacKenzie birdied three straight from the second to move to 9 under and within four. MacKenzie fell back later on the front nine, but Scott started to make his move.

Scott slipped back to minus-6 with bogeys at the second and fourth. However, he bounced back with a 19-foot birdie putt on five and a 6-footer for birdie on six.

The Australian dropped in a 6-foot birdie putt at the ninth to make the turn at minus-9, four behind Singh.

Singh responded by converting a 12-foot birdie putt at 11 to push his lead back to four. He parred the next five to remain there.

Scott fought back into the picture with an up-and-down birdie on 15. He came right back with a 10-foot birdie on 16 to move within two of Singh.

The Australian stumbled to a three-putt bogey at the 17th and that dropped him three back.

Singh missed a 13-foot birdie attempt on 17 and two-putted for par at the last, but it was enough to hold off Scott.

'I love this place. I love Hawaii. It just reminds me so much of home,' said Singh, who hails from Fiji. 'Last year I came really close, but I wasn't totally convinced I had it until I hit that third shot onto the green at 18. I told my caddie, 'I think I can two-putt from there.''

Scott two-putted for birdie from just over 40 feet at the last to end two back.

'It was a good start to the year,' said Scott. 'I'm happy with my result obviously. It looked like earlier on I had no chance today, but I kind of had a sniff standing on the 17th tee, but unfortunately hit a poor second putt on 17. All in all, it was a good week and something to build on.'

South African Trevor Immelman closed with his second straight 1-under 72 to finish alone in third at 9-under-par 283.

Davis Love III, the 1993 winner, fired a five-under 68 to share fourth at minus-8 He was joined there by J.B. Holmes (72) and Mackenzie (72). Luke Donald took seventh place at 7-under-par 285 after his third straight 71.

Former PGA champion David Toms closed with the best round of the day, a 6- under 67, to end in a tie for eighth at minus-6. He ended alongside K.J. Choi and J.J. Henry. Stuart Appleby, who won this event the last three years, shared 13th as he closed with three straight rounds under par.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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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).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    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.”