Stenson Leads DiMarco Just One Back

By Sports NetworkJanuary 21, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Abu Dhabi Golf ChampionshipABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Henrik Stenson, who injured his back in practice on Sunday, fired a course-record, 10-under 62 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Stenson completed 54 holes at 16-under-par 200.
'I wasn't feeling well at all Friday and it was a struggle,' said Stenson. 'I was tired coming up the last couple of holes yesterday, but I managed to finish birdie, birdie. And then I went and shot this score today, maybe I should keep this bug.'
World No. 11 and U.S. Ryder Cupper Chris DiMarco was hot himself. He posted a 9-under 63 to move within one shot of Stenson at minus-15. Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez carded a 64 to take third place at 14-under-par 202.
Ricardo Gonzalez is tied for fourth place at minus-13 after a 5-under 67. He was joined there by second-round leader Charl Schwartzel, who shot 68 on Saturday. Sergio Garcia is alone in sixth place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club at 12-under-par 204 after shooting 65 in the third round.
Saturday was a day for streaky golf. Stenson flew out of the gate and into the lead. He dropped in a birdie on the first and made it two straight with a birdie on the second.
Stenson kept going with birdies on three and four to get to 10 under. As he birdied No. 5 for his fifth straight birdie, Stenson took the lead at minus-11. Garcia, meanwhile, posted three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the second to move to 8 under.
Garcia birdied the eighth to keep up with Stenson. The Spaniard then birdied 10 and 11 to forge a tie for the lead at 11 under. Jimenez made it a three-man tie for the lead as he birdied five of six holes from the third.
Stenson moved out in front again with a birdie on the eighth, but dropped a shot on nine with a three-putt bogey. He sank a 3-foot eagle putt on the 10th to go one clear of Jimenez, who had birdied the 10th.
The Swede birdied No. 13 to move to minus-14. Jimenez, playing one group behind Stenson, birdied 12 and 13 to join Stenson at 14 under. Jimenez closed with five straight pars to remain there.
DiMarco, playing alongside Jimenez, had to fight back from early trouble. The American double bogeyed the first to fall to minus-4. He got those two strokes back with birdies on two and four.
The 37-year-old came back with birdies on eight and nine. DiMarco, whose last win anywhere came at the 2002 Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour, drained a 40-foot eagle putt at the par-5 10th to jump to 10 under.
DiMarco ran off four consecutive birdies from the 11th to move to minus-14 and a share of the lead with Jimenez and Stenson. DiMarco, once five shots back of the leader after his double bogey, birdied the par-4 16th to take the outright lead at 15 under.
'At some point in a run like I had around the turn, you've got to go, okay, obviously I'm hitting it good, so you have to just try to continue hit it great,' DiMarco said. 'I am pleased with my performance and I am pleased with where I am going into the final round.'
While DiMarco closed with back-to-back pars, Stenson eagled the par-5 closing hole to jump into the lead at minus-16 through three rounds.
'Obviously my ball striking is good when it's on, and that's why I've had some really good results recently,' Stenson said. 'I've been gradually improving my short game over the last couple of years. I'm just happy to be up and playing well early on in the season because I had my best year last year, and when you have a bit of winter break, you never know how it's going to start.'
Scotland's Colin Montgomerie notched a 7-under 65 to move into seventh place at 11-under-par 205. World No. 2 Vijay Singh had five birdies and two bogeys en route to a 3-under 69. He is alone at minus-9.
David Lynn is one stroke further back at 8-under-par 208 after a third-round 70. Ian Poulter, Francois Delamontagne and Robert Karlsson are tied for 10th at minus-7.
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x