Weather Plagues Euro Event in Spain

By Sports NetworkApril 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
European TourMADRID, Spain -- Stuart Little posted a 3-under 69 on Friday to move into sole possession of the lead during the suspended second round of the Open de Espana.
 
The Englishman, who started the week as the fourth reserve, finished 36 holes on Friday at 8-under-par 136. Little is one ahead of first-round leader Nick Dougherty (71), Mark Foster (69) and Charl Schwartzel (68) at Centro Nacional de Golf.
 
This tournament is very far behind schedule after heavy rain on Thursday forced a suspension of nearly eight hours. Friday also saw a stoppage, a two- hour delay for lightning, and half of the field has yet to tee off in round two.
 
They will play as much golf as possible on Saturday, although inclement weather is once again in the forecast.
 
Englishmen Simon Dyson (69) and Andrew Raitt (70) are in the clubhouse at 6- under-par 138.
 
Marcus Fraser and Richard Bland are tied for seventh place at 5-under par, but have not completed their second rounds. Gregory Bourdy is at minus-5 and has not yet teed off in the second round.
 
Little did not hit a ball in competition on Thursday and played his opening 18 in 5-under 67. The left-hander began his second round after a 30-minute break and teed off on No. 10.
 
He birdied his first two holes of round two, then parred his next three. Little bogeyed the 15th, a hole he birdied in round one, but answered with a birdie at 16, a hole he bogeyed in the opening round.
 
Little bogeyed 17, but got back to 7-under par for the championship with a birdie at the first. He rattled off back-to-back birdies at four and five, both from close to 9 feet, to become the first player to reach 9-under par.
 
Little did not last long at 9-under par. He bogeyed the seventh, another hole he birdied in the first round, but stands on top after a very long Friday at the course.
 
'It's been a very, very long day,' said Little. 'To come away after 36 holes at 8-under par has been enjoyable. We only had to stop once during the second round so in terms of our breaks from golf, it hasn't been too bad compared to the other side of the draw.'
 
Little lost his playing privileges last year after a 2005 season that saw him finish 65th on the Order of Merit. Last year, he finished 150th and could not get his card, so he knows he has to take advantage of his chances.
 
'I've got to seize the opportunity,' said Little, who will play a combination of the European Tour and Challenge Tour. 'It won't be easy as we all know. I'm looking really forward to putting a good performance into the weekend.'
 
Foster combined four birdies and a bogey in round two, while Schwartzel mixed an eagle, three birdies and one bogey.
 
Dougherty had an interesting first round as both playing partners, Peter Hedblom and Jose Manuel Lara, withdrew. He finished the round as a single, then Dyson joined him in round two.
 
'It was a unique experience, especially behind three-balls,' said Dougherty. 'It made me slow my timing and tempo down. All in all, I don't think it was a disadvantage.'
 
Defending champion Niclas Fasth (72), Graeme McDowell (69) and Terry Price (70) are in the clubhouse at 4-under-par 140. Fredrik Andersson is on the course at the number, while Notah Begay III, Luis Claverie and Graeme Storm are at minus-4, but have not teed off yet.
 
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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.