Stile-ish Victory in Knoxville

By Sports NetworkJune 30, 2002, 4:00 pm
FARRAGUT, Tenn. -- Darron Stiles holed out two approach shots and drained an eight-foot birdie putt on the 71st hole to post a one-shot victory over Aaron Baddeley and Steve Ford at the Knoxville Open. He shot a 4-under 68 Sunday to finish the tournament at 16-under-par 272.
Ford fired a 65 on Sunday while Baddeley carded a 66 and the two were already in the clubhouse as Stiles completed his round.
Stiles, one of three overnight leaders, was 2-under-par on his round when he reached the 15th. He birdied No. 1 and then holed a pitching-wedge from 122 yards out at the third for eagle.
Stiles trailed by one when he hit his 3-wood off the tee at the par-4 15th. He had 164 yards to the flag and hit an 8-iron then watched as his ball landed in the cup for an eagle, giving him a one-shot lead.
Unfortunately for Stiles, sole possession of first did not last long. At the 212-yard, par-3 16th, Stiles three-putted from 50 feet to drop a stroke and move back into a share of the lead with Baddeley and Ford.
Stiles used a 7-iron at the 17th hole and landed the ball eight feet from the cup. He rolled in that birdie putt to take the outright lead and parred No. 18 to earn his third win on the Buy.Com Tour.
'I've holed my share of shots, but two in one round - I've never done that,' said Stiles, who won $76,500 for the victory. 'You're on an emotional high after an eagle. Everyone was going berserk.'
Stiles captured the 1999 Buy.Com Dominion Open and followed up with the Tri-Cities Open the following season. With this victory, Stiles moved to sixth on the 2002 Buy.Com Tour money list.
Baddeley, the young Australian who won the European Tour's Greg Norman Holden Invitational in a playoff against Sergio Garcia last year, was flawless Sunday.
He birdied four of his first five holes and added a four-footer for birdie at the 13th. Baddeley drained a nine-foot birdie putt at the 16th and could have reached 16-under-par, but his 15-foot birdie try at the last did not fall.
'It was a good week. I hit it great all week,' said Baddeley. 'I'm disappointed not to win because I was right there today, but it's good to see good work paying off.'
Ford tallied eight birdies and one bogey Sunday for his round of 65.
Todd Barranger was alone in fourth place at 13-under-par 275, followed by Tag Ridings and overnight co-leader Jason Caron, who tied for fifth at minus 12.
Patrick Sheehan, the final co-leader after Saturday, carded a 1-over 73 Sunday and shared seventh with Patrick Moore, who needs one more win this season to earn an immediate promotion to the PGA Tour. The pair came in at 11-under-par 277.
Full-field scores from the Knoxville Open
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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.” 

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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 contacted 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.