Tiger Phil Advance Weir Singh Fall

By Sports NetworkFebruary 27, 2004, 5:00 pm
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods, the defending champion, looked impressive Friday as he dispatched Trevor Immelman, 5 and 4, in his second-round match at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Woods, the No. 1 seed in the Bobby Jones bracket, and Davis Love III, the top seed in the Sam Snead bracket, will be the only No. 1 seeds to go to the third round as Love bested good friend Fred Couples, 3 and 2.
Vijay Singh, the highest-ranked seed in the Gary Player bracket, got bounced by eighth seed Jerry Kelly, 4 and 2. Mike Weir, the reigning Masters champion and winner of last week's Nissan Open, could not catch up to Stephen Leaney, also ranked eighth, falling by a 3 and 2 margin.
Kelly built a 2-up lead thanks to bogeys by Singh at four and five and held that margin until the 13th. Kelly sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the hole to go 3-up but Singh got one back with a two-putt par at No. 14.
Kelly answered with a short birdie putt at the 15th to go back up by three, then hit it close at the par-3 16th. Singh landed in a bunker and when he failed to hole out, Singh conceded the match to Kelly.
'I really wanted to beat the No. 2 player in the world,' admitted Kelly. 'I'm in great shape right now. I'm looking forward to 36 holes three days in a row, if it turns out.'
The second round was played Friday because heavy rain pounded La Costa Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The plan is to complete the third round Friday afternoon and get the tournament back on schedule, which includes the quarterfinals and semifinals Saturday and a 36-hole final match on Sunday.
Weir and Leaney, teammates for the International side at last year's Presidents Cup, were even through seven holes but Leaney won the next three holes, including a 25-footer for birdie at the 10th, to go 3-up.
Weir won the 11th with a birdie and thought he had a chance at a comeback but Leaney holed out from a bunker for birdie at the 14th to go 3-up. Leaney stiffed his tee ball at 16 and Weir missed his birdie try, then conceded the match to Leaney.
'I just didn't putt very well,' said Weir. 'When I had chances to creep a little closer, the putts I need to make, I just didn't make them today.'
In other second-round matches, Phil Mickelson equaled the record for shortest match at this event, when he trounced British Open champion Ben Curtis, 7 and 6. Mickelson will meet Chris DiMarco, who won the 19th hole to better Stuart Appleby.
Woods moved on to the third round and will face Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, who advanced thanks to a 5-and-4 thrashing of Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.
'I played well,' said Woods. 'I just need to go out there and do the same thing the rest of the week.'
The other third-round match in the Jones bracket will feature two seed David Toms, who beat PGA Champion Shaun Micheel, 4 and 3, in the second round, against third seed Padraig Harrington, who advanced with a 3-and-2 win over Bob Estes.
Leaney is the highest seed remaining in the Ben Hogan side and will take on 13th seeded Colin Montgomerie in the third round. Monty moved on with a 5-and-4 drubbing of Stewart Cink.
Ian Poulter, seeded 11th, dismantled Duffy Waldorf, 7 and 5, and will battle No. 15 John Huston, who beat Peter Lonard 1-up in Friday's second round.
Mickelson, No. 2 in the Snead bracket, and DiMarco, sixth, are half of the third-round bracket. Love will meet Adam Scott, who beat Robert Allenby on the 23rd hole when Allenby missed a two-footer for par.
Darren Clarke, the third seed in the Player bracket eliminated Alex Cejka, 6 and 5, and will take on Kenny Perry, the No. 2 seed. Perry nearly squandered a lead late but hung on for a 1-up win over Steve Flesch.
The other half of the Player bracket will feature Kelly versus fourth seed Chad Campbell, who disposed of Loren Roberts, 3 and 1.
Related Links:
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    Watch: 13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, part of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward the back-right hole location, about 25 feet away, closer than both Fleetwood and Johnson.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back after the opening round. He tied for second here a year ago.

    Johnson is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

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    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."