Three Lead Annika Five Back Wie Six

By Sports NetworkJune 27, 2003, 4:00 pm
GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Laura Diaz shot a 6-under 65 Friday to hold a share of the first-round lead of the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Diaz was joined atop the leaderboard by Angela Stanford and Kris Lindstrom.
Juli Inkster, who is a two-time winner of this event, was one shot off the lead at 5-under-par 66.
Defending champion Annika Sorenstam, who also won this event in 1998, picked up two birdies over her first five holes before stumbling with a bogey at the par-3 seventh.
The Swede's problems continued around the turn with a double-bogey at the par- 4 10th. She followed that up with a bogey at the 11th to move to 2-over on her round.
Sorenstam was able to recover, however, and did so with two straight birdies from the 12th. She added a birdie at the 17th for a round of 1-under 70.
Michelle Wie, the 13-year-old phenom who won her first USGA title last week at the Women's Amateur Public Links, played the back side first and coasted at even-par over her first nine holes.
Wie jumped into red figures with a birdie at the par-5 13th but bogeyed the par-4 sixth en route to an even-par 71.

Diaz, who has gone without a top-10 finish since the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship, picked up her first birdie of the day at the par-5 third. She kept on rolling with a birdie at the fifth and hit a sand-wedge inside 10 feet for a birdie at the par-4 eighth to make the turn at minus-3 on the Bay Course at Seaview Marriott Resort.
She landed a 9-iron within nine feet of the cup at the par-4 10th for the first of back-to-back birdies. Diaz found a fairway bunker en route to a bogey at the 15th but responded with a birdie at the very next hole.
At the par-5 18th, Diaz reached the green in two and took two putts for a closing birdie.
The 28-year-old has been playing in pain this year because of a torn tendon in her ankle.
'I most likely will have surgery at the end of the year,' said Diaz. 'I've seen about four doctors and I'm going to see a physical therapist after the U.S. Open. I'm trying to play no more than three weeks in a row, then take a week off and we'll see what happens at the end of the year.'
Like Diaz, Stanford also tallied her first birdie at the third. She then hit a wedge to eight feet at the sixth and ran home a 15-foot putt at the seventh to make it two in a row.
Stanford collected two additional birdies on the inward half for her share of first.
'To tell you the truth, I don't know how I ended up there, I felt like I was all over the map,' said Stanford. 'Sometimes that's better for me because then I can focus on just that one shot at a time.'
Lindstrom scatted three birdies over her first nine holes to go out in 33. She reached 4-under with a tap-in birdie at the 10th after her approach stopped inside a foot of the hole.
The 29-year-old ran home a pair of birdies starting at the par-4 12th but faltered with a bogey at the 15th. Lindstrom recovered shortly thereafter with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 16th.
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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.