Watson Wins in Wailea

By Sports NetworkFebruary 1, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 WendyMAUI, Hawaii -- Tom Watson won the Champions Skins Game on Saturday, taking the final five skins and $260,000 with a par on the third hole of a playoff. Watson, the leader after the first nine holes with $70,000, finished the two-day event with $400,000 and 10 skins.
 
The 2003 Champions Tour player of the year tapped in for par and won when defending champion Lee Trevino three-putted from 25 feet for bogey.
 
Arnold Palmer, who failed to win a skin the past two years, was second with $140,000, Jack Nicklaus made $60,000 and Trevino was shut out.
 
Watson, 54, was the youngest of the foursome and the longest hitter, hit the green with his approach shot on the third extra hole then two-putted from 35 feet for the win.
 
Watson has won 39 times on the PGA Tour, including eight majors. He won the Senior British Open and the Tradition last year, two majors on the Champions Tour.

Palmer, playing in his 50th professional season, began the day in third place with $50,000.
 
Palmer, 74, and Nicklaus were eliminated on the first extra hole after failing to birdie. It was the 16th Skins appearance for Palmer, who won the event in 1990, 1992 and 1993. Nicklaus, the 1991 winner, entered for the 14th time.
 
Using a cross-handed putting grip for the second day, Palmer holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 167-yard No. 11 to take three skins and $90,000. That pushed his winnings to $140,000 and gave him his first lead - $70,000 lead over Watson.
 
Watson threatened to regain the lead on the next hole by sinking a winding 25-foot birdie putt. But Palmer calmly rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt to halve the hole.
 
It was Palmer's fifth birdie in seven holes.
 
'I'm going cross-handed tomorrow,' Trevino said.
 
Watson tied Palmer for the lead by sinking a 10-foot eagle putt on the 530-yard 13th hole. The birdie, set up by a fairway wood shot from 255 yards, earned Watson earned two skins and $70,000.
 
On the final hole in regulation, Watson missed an 8-foot birdie putt, setting the stage for Palmer. But Palmer couldn't sink his 7-foot birdie putt, sending it into a playoff.
 
Nicklaus, sixth last week in the season-opening MasterCard Championship after turning 64, began the day in second place with $60,000.
 
He struggled with his tee shots Saturday and failed to pick up a skin on the back nine.
 
Trevino, 64, was visibly bothered by a left hip injury he suffered a few weeks ago when he fell in a bunker in Texas.
 
Last year, Trevino holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole to finish with six skins and $240,000, preventing Hale Irwin from claiming his fourth straight title.
 
This year's quartet has combined to win 258 events on the PGA and Champions tours, including 39 majors and more than $51 million.
 
The first six holes were worth $20,000, Nos. 7-12 $30,000, the next five $40,000 and No. 18 $100,000.
 
Saturday's gallery was estimated at 4,000, double Friday's crowd. One of the biggest draws was 14-year-old Michelle Wie, who played in Nicklaus' group in the pro-am.
 
Conditions at the course were ideal and windless for the second day. The 6,835-yard Wailea Gold Course on Maui island runs along the base of the dormant volcano Haleakala and has 93 white-sand bunkers.
 
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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.