Westwood Out in Front in Spain

By Sports NetworkOctober 24, 2002, 4:00 pm
MADRID, Spain -- Lee Westwood fired a 7-under-par 64 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Open de Madrid. Westwood finished one shot clear of Padraig Harrington, Brian Davis and Maarten Lafeber.
Defending champion Retief Goosen was two shots back after an opening-round 66. Goosen was joined by Trevor Immelman, Markus Brier, Andrew Coltart, Nick O'Hern and Stephen Scahill in a tie for fifth.
Westwood, who won five times in 2000 on his way to the Order of Merit title, has seen his fair share of struggles without a single top-10 finish this season. However, the Englishman, fresh off a solid performance at the Ryder Cup in September, showed signs of his old form at Club de Campo.
'I've worked very hard at home for the last two weeks and I feel it's all coming together,' said Westwood. 'I was looking forward to playing this week and got here early on Tuesday to prepare well.'
He collected three birdies on the front nine and added another at the 10th to move to 4-under. After a birdie at the 12th, Westwood had an eagle opportunity at the par-5 14th, but his putt came up short. Nonetheless, he tapped in for birdie to grab a share of the lead.
Westwood took sole possession of first place at the par-3 17th. He knocked his tee shot within tap-in distance and converted for his best round of the year.
'It's been a long time since I shot a 64,' said Westwood. 'I think this is my lowest score for two years, so it's very satisfying. I've worked hard for it.
'I've been working hard for the last two years, but golf is a strange game. Sometimes you just need to find the key and the confidence can come back as quickly as it left.'
Harrington, who is looking to dethrone Goosen as Order of Merit champion, picked up his first birdie at the fourth and added another at the eighth. He ran home three consecutive birdies starting at the 10th before a birdie at the 15th for a round of 65.
Goosen, who became the first South African to win the Order of Merit with a victory at this event last year, currently leads the European Tour money list.
Adam Scott, a two-time winner on tour this season, had seven birdies and three bogeys to finish three shots back at 4-under-par 67. Scott was joined by Roger Chapman, Diego Borrego, Carlos Balmaseda, Sam Torrance, Christopher Hanell, Patrik Sjoland and Marten Olander.
Fredrik Jacobson, Gary Orr, Anders Hansen, Graeme McDowell, Tomas Jesus Munoz, Henrik Nystrom, Jorge Berendt, Steen Tinning, Jose Rivero, Anthony Wall and Gary Evans are tied at 3-under-par 68.
Seve Ballesteros, a three-time winner of this event, withdrew before the start of the tournament due to the death of his mother. Ballesteros was replaced in the field by Peter Fowler.
Full-field scores from the Telefonica Open de Madrid
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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).

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 phoned 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. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.