Veazey Eases into the Lead in Panama

By Sports NetworkJanuary 29, 2005, 5:00 pm
Nationwide TourPANAMA CITY, Panama -- Vance Veazey posted a 4-under 66 on Saturday to grab the lead after the third round of the BellSouth Panama Championship. Veazey's 54-hole total of 8-under-par 202 left him one shot clear of Jon Mills, Shane Bertsch and Steven Alker.
Camilo Villegas, who held the top spot heading into the weekend, struggled with a 71 to finish two shots off the pace at 6-under-par 204. Former U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes followed at 5-under-par 205 along with Ryan Hietala and Jim McGovern.
Veazey was three shots back Saturday at Panama Golf Club and picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-4 second. He kept on rolling with a birdie at the par-5 fourth and reached 7 under with a birdie at the par-3 second.
The strong start pushed Veazey to the top of the leaderboard, but the 39-year-old could not pull away from his competitors with a string of 11 consecutive pars.
'I didn't make a bogey today and that was the key to my round,' said Veazey. 'I played steady all day and once again made some putts. The putter has gotten me to this position this week.'
Veazey's steady play concluded with a birdie at the par-4 18th and a slim advantage with one round to play.
'I want to go out tomorrow and play every shot the best I can and when it is over we'll add them all up,' said Veazey, who is seeking his third career victory on the Nationwide Tour and first since the 1999 Carolina Classic. 'This golf course presents a new challenge every day. So I've got a lot of work ahead of me tomorrow.'
Mills tallied a birdie and a bogey over his first nine holes to make the turn at 5 under. The Canadian collected two straight birdies from the 10th and parred his way in for a round of 68.
Bertsch had an up-and-down front nine with three bogeys and a pair of birdies. He countered on the inward half with a trio of birdies for a 68 of his own.
Alker carded a round of 69 that featured three birdies and two bogeys.
Bryce Molder shot a 65 to move into a tie for ninth place along with Chris Couch, Bubba Dickerson, Chris Tidland, Jason Schultz and Robin Freeman at 3-under-par 207.
Related Links:
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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.