Two Share Lead at Suspended Malaysian Open

By Sports NetworkFebruary 28, 2002, 5:00 pm
Alastair Forsyth of Scotland and England's Barry Lane each fired bogey-free rounds of 8-under-par 63 to share an early two-shot lead Thursday at the Malaysian Open.
First-round play was suspended for two hours when a tropical storm hit Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur. The 36 players left on the course are scheduled to complete their first 18 holes prior to the start of round two.
Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez shot 65 to join Harmeet Kahlon of India in third place at 6-under. Another Indian, Jyoti Randhawa, led a quartet of golfers with 66s, while three more players were at 5-under with holes yet to play.
Forsyth, the 1999 European Tour Q-School medalist, missed out on keeping his tour card by one spot after finishing 116th on the final 2001 money list. He began his quest for earning exempt status by the winning route on an oppressively hot and humid day in the Malaysian capital.
'I don't know how I managed to play well but I played great from the word go,' said Forsyth, who's playing this week on a sponsors invitation. 'But the last few holes were a real struggle. On the 16th I didn't know where I was as my head was spinning and legs felt like jelly.
'I've travelled everywhere and experienced a lot but nothing compares to this. I need to find something to rehydrate.'
The 26-year-old Scot played flawlessly despite the conditions, posting birdies on four of the first six holes. He spread the wealth on the inward nine with birdies on the 10th, 12th, 15th and 17th.
'That is definitely one of the best rounds I have ever played.' he said. 'It was very consistent. Hit it down the fairway and kept hitting a lot of good iron shots and then knocked in a few putts.'
Forsyth's career-best round was a 62 that gave him the second-round lead at the Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years Open in his first year on tour in 2000. He wound up tying for sixth place in that event, one of five top-10 finishes in a successful rookie campaign.
He went on to tally just one top-10 in 2001 - a tie for fourth in the Portuguese Open.
Lane's 63 included a 10-foot eagle putt at the par-5 third and three birdie putts from 25 feet or more over his closing stretch of holes.
'Since last June I started to play better and thoroughly enjoyed the end of the year,' said Lane, whose top-10 showings at last year's Irish, Scottish and Dutch Opens propelled him to No. 41 on the money list. 'I am just really enjoying playing golf. I still feel I can win.'
He hasn't grabbed a trophy since the 1995 World Championship of Golf in Scottsdale, Ariz., a victory worth a hefty $1 million. The last of his four wins in Europe came at the 1994 Turespaa Open de Baleares.
Taiwan's Yeh Wei-Tze, the Malaysian Open champ in 2000, turned in a three-under 68 for a share of 18th place with last month's ANZ Championship winner Richard S. Johnson, and major winners Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam.
India's Arjun Atwal, who became the first Indian golfer to win on the European Tour with his triumph a week ago at the Singapore Masters, suffered three bogeys and a double-bogey Thursday on his way to a 3-over 74.
This event is co-sanctioned by the European and Davidoff (Asian PGA) Tours.
Full-field scores from the Malaysian Open
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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 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."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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.