Strange Ups Lead to 4 Harrington MC

By Sports NetworkMay 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
European TourNEWPORT, Wales -- Scott Strange shot a 5-under 66 on Friday to extend his lead to four shots after two rounds of the Wales Open.
 
Strange, who opened with a 63 to take a one-shot lead on Thursday, was at 13-under-par 129 overall.
 
Benn Barham fired a 7-under 64 and climbed into a tie for second place with Robert Dinwiddie (65), Jeev Milkha Singh (68) and Alvaro Velasco (68) at 9-under 133.
 
Rafa Echenique (67), Raphael Jacquelin (68), Ross McGowan (68), Edoardo Molinari (70) and 2006 champion Robert Karlsson (67) were the only other players within five shots of Strange's lead. They each stood at 8-under 134.
 
Colin Montgomerie (5 under) and Darren Clarke (4 under) had their work cut out for them, while reigning British Open champion Padraig Harrington, playing in his first Wales Open, missed the 1-under cut line by three shots.
 
Strange followed his stunning 63 in the first round with a flawless effort on Friday that included five birdies and 13 pars. The 31-year-old Australian said he wasn't used to the soggy conditions players faced in the second round.
 
'But I guess you just have to try to adapt to what you've got,' said Strange, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour who is seeking his first victory on the European Tour.
 
'Playing here is different than playing in Asia,' he said. 'It's a lot cooler and there's more moisture in the grass, but I'm adapting quite well.'
 
Strange birdied four of his first nine holes to keep the lead, then protected it with one birdie and eight pars the rest of the way. His 129 total was five shots better than his previous best 36-hole score this season.
 
It all had Strange looking forward to winning on the European Tour for the first time.
 
'It's going to have to happen and you have to learn to deal with it and come Sunday, if you've sort of been around it enough and know how to deal with it, you'll have a better chance of pulling one off,' said Strange.
 
Paul McGinley, Bradley Dredge and Paul Lawrie were among the players who joined Harrington in missing the cut.
 
Only four Welshmen moved on to the weekend: Jamie Donaldson, Kyron Sullivan, Garry Houston and Phillip Price. Dredge was among the 13 more who missed the cut.
 
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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.