US Trails Paraguay by 10 in South Africa

By Sports NetworkJanuary 19, 2007, 5:00 pm
WomenSUN CITY, South Africa -- Led by ADT Championship winner Julieta Granada, Paraguay opened up a four-shot lead Friday after the first round of the Women's World Cup of Golf.

Granada combined with Celeste Troche to shoot a 5-under 139 in the singles format, giving the two-woman Paraguayan team a commanding advantage over second-place South Korea.

Ji Yai Shin and Young Kim were the only other players who combined to break par, posting a 1-under 143 at Gary Player Country Club.

The remaining 20 teams -- including Americans Pat Hurst and Juli Inkster -- will head into Saturday's foursomes carrying hefty scores after a challenging first round.

Granada and Troche were over-par for just two holes when Troche's double-bogey at the par-5 fifth left them a combined plus-one.

But Troche, six years the senior to 20-year-old Granada, rallied with back-to-back birdies at the seventh and eighth and her partner added another at the ninth to move Paraguay to 3 under.

Granada bogeyed No. 10, but the duo collected two birdies at the 11th and were already moving well clear of the field.

Troche closed out her round with two birdies, at 12 and 18, to shoot at 3- under 69. Granada had a birdie at 15 and another bogey at 17 to post a 2-under 70.

'Our goal was just to have fun,' said Troche, a non-exempt player on the LPGA Tour. 'We practice and play a lot together so we know each other and our games. It's all about having fun. If you can enjoy yourself and enjoy each other's company, that's what it takes.'

Added Granada, who won $1 million at the ADT last season, 'We're just going to go and have fun and hit the best shots we can. We're not going to get upset with each other.'

Italy and Scotland carded 1-over 145s to share third place -- one shot ahead of New Zealand (146) and two in front of Australia (148) and Wales (148).

Hurst and Inkster posted a 5-over 149 for the United States and were joined in eighth place by the team from Denmark. They combined for nine bogeys in the round (Hurst had a 2-over 74, and Inkster was a shot worse).

The first two tournament champions, Japan (155) and Sweden (157), struggled mightily on Day 1 and are tied for 14th and 16th place respectively.

Rounding out the field are Finland and Taiwan (150); Brazil and England (154); Japan and Spain (155); France, South Africa and Sweden (157); Ireland and Norway (160); Germany (165); and Kenya (169).

Norway's Suzanne Pettersen retired due to sickness and was replaced by Lill Kristin Saether.

After Saturday's foursomes, the event will conclude Sunday with a better ball format.

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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.  

    Getty Images

    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.