Tiger Ties Mark Trails Singh

By Sports NetworkOctober 24, 2003, 4:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Vijay Singh shot a 7-under 65 on Friday to surge into the lead after two rounds of the FUNAI Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort. Singh finished 36 holes at 15-under-par 129, one stroke clear of Bob Estes.
John Rollins posted a 65 of his own to share third place with David Peoples at 13-under-par 131.
While Singh looks to carry his momentum into the weekend to make a run at the money title, it was the current money leader who took another step towards immortality on Friday.
Tiger Woods posted a 5-under 67 to finish at 11-under-par 133 for his 113th consecutive cut made, tying the old mark set by the legendary Byron Nelson.
Woods was steady in his round on the Magnolia Course and picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-5 fourth. Woods then birdied the par-5 eighth before taking on the par-5 10th.
The top player in the game hit a bad drive but bounced his second shot from the rough off the putting surface and into a bunker behind the green. Woods got up and down for the birdie and concluded his perfect play on the par-5s with a birdie at the 14th.
At the par-4 18th, Woods landed his approach within 10 feet of the cup and converted the birdie putt to finish four shots off the lead.
'I'm very proud. It's certainly not something that is easy to do,' said Woods. 'There are times when I obviously should have missed. With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, it certainly pays off in the end. I'm sure I will think about the record later. Right now I'm a little perturbed at myself for not making any putts today. That putt on 18 was the longest putt I made all day.'
Singh played the back side first at the Palm Course and managed only a birdie and a bogey over his first nine holes.
The 40-year-old caught fire on the front side, however, and vaulted to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a run of five straight birdies starting at the par-5 first.
Singh then eagled the par-5 seventh to put a stranglehold on the 36-hole lead.
'I was fighting my swing today a little bit,' said Singh, a three-time winner in 2003. 'I guess it is all momentum. If you have the momentum going on your side then it flows and it is going to go good.'
The Fijian has made a case as a contender for the money title, but Singh is well aware that the race will most likely remain undecided until the final round is over at the Tour Championship.
'I think I have a very good chance,' said Singh. 'The last week will be big. I think whoever wins that one will win the money title.'
Estes started at Magnolia's 10th hole and jumped out of the gate with birdies on each of his first two holes. Estes found trouble with a bogey at the 13th but responded with three consecutive birdies from the 14th to make the turn at 9-under.
At the par-4 second, Estes knocked an 8-iron inside four feet for the first of three straight birdies.
Estes then dropped his tee shot within five feet of the hole at the par-3 sixth for a birdie before rolling in a 15-footer for a birdie at the seventh.
'You have to keep making birdies at this tournament and I just tried to keep making birdies,' said Estes. 'I wasn't overly aggressive on every single shot I hit. It is just kind of hard to know what to say really sometimes when you play a round like that. I drove it okay. I hit it pretty good and made some shots.'
Davis Love III posted a 65 to join Bob Tway, Scott Verplank, Rocco Mediate and Brent Schwarzrock at 12-under-par 132.
Retief Goosen, Tom Carter, Tim Clark, Briny Baird, Dan Forsman and Fred Couples were two shots further back at 10-under-par 134.
The 36-hole cut fell at 5-under-par 139. Among those who failed to qualify for the weekend were Lee Janzen, Curtis Strange, Chris DiMarco, Peter Jacobsen and 2002 champion Bob Burns.
Related Links:
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up right where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    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, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “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 of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, 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, and Hideto Tanihara.

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

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “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 more than three 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.