Watney Moves into First in Miami

By Sports NetworkOctober 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Miccosukee ChampionshipMIAMI -- Nick Watney fired a 7-under 64 on Saturday to move two strokes clear of the field after three rounds of the Miccosukee Championship. Watney completed 54 holes at 14-under-par 199, which tied the 54-hole tournament record that Craig Bowden set last year.
 
Chris Tidland matched Watney's 64 to climb into second place at 12-under-par 201. Tim Wilkinson, the leader after Round 2, struggled to an even-par 71. He shares third place at 10-under-par 203 with D.J. Trahan (68), Bryce Molder (69) and Ryan Armour (69).
 
Watney got off to a quick start as he birdied each of his first two holes to move to minus-9. He kept going with a birdie on No. 5 and came back with a birdie on the seventh at Miccosukee Golf and Country Club.
 
The Fresno State alum picked up his fifth birdie on the front side at the ninth, which got him to minus-12. At the 10th, Watney faltered to his first bogey since his final hole in Round 1.
 
Watney atoned for the error with a birdie at the par-4 12th. The three-time All-American moved to 13 under with a birdie at the 14th. Watney dropped in an 8-foot birdie putt at the 16th and parred his last two holes to finish at 14under.
 
'I'm just trying to plod along,' Watney said. 'I'm trying not to do anything stupid. That has been big for me this week, giving away as few shots as possible.'
 
Watney entered the event 36th on the money list with the top-20 gaining their PGA Tour cards for next season.
 
'A win would be life-changing, but I can't go into tomorrow thinking about that,' said Watney. 'I'm happy to be in this position. This is why you play, to be in this position.'
 
Tidland moved into red figures with a birdie at the par-4 second. He ran off three straight birdies from the seventh to get to minus-9. The 32-year-old dropped in the fifth birdie putt of his round at the 11th.
 
The Oklahoma State graduate two-putted for birdie on 14 and came back with a 5-foot birdie putt at the next to move to 12 under. Tidland could not save par from a greenside bunker at 17, but stuck his second shot within 2 feet of the cup at the last for a closing birdie to tie his career low round of 64.
 
'I played really good today. My irons were the key,' Tidland said. 'You have to hit a ton of mid-irons on this golf course. I made some 20-footers today. I need to continue to putt well tomorrow to have a chance.'
 
D.A. Points, a two-time winner this season, posted a 3-under 68 to move to 9-under-par 204. He shares seventh place with Kelly Sellers (68) and Virginia Beach Open champion James Driscoll (70). Tony Carolan and Mathew Goggin are one stoke further back at minus-8.
 
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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.