Woods Leads Grand Slam

By Sports NetworkNovember 26, 2002, 5:00 pm
KAUAI, Hawaii -- Tiger Woods shot a 6-under 66 Tuesday to take the lead after the first round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Woods finished three strokes ahead of Justin Leonard.
Woods, who won the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2002, is seeking his fifth straight title at this elite event that features the winners of the four major championships during the calendar year. Leonard and Davis Love III were added to the field because Woods won two majors and Ernie Els, the British Open champion, is not competing.
Woods got started with a 30-foot eagle at the par-5 second on the Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course. The top player in the world then knocked his approach to four feet for birdie at the fourth and drove the green at the par-4 fifth.
The 26-year-old left his eagle putt short and missed his birdie try right, but he responded with fervor and back-to-back birdies starting at the sixth to move to 5-under.
'The front nine is going to be the easier nine going out because it's downwind, and you have got to take advantage of those holes,' said Woods. 'I really did that.'
Leonard reached minus-4 with a birdie at the 11th but Woods padded his advantage with a seven-foot birdie at the par-5 14th en route to a bogey-free round.
'I thought I hit it really well,' said Woods. 'Didn't quite hit it as good on the back nine. But I putted well all day. I hit a lot of good, solid putts.'
At the par-3 17th, Leonard sent a 2-iron into a bunker for his first bogey of the day and a 3-under 69.
'It's disappointing. I don't know how to quantify that,' said Leonard. 'I think I'm disappointed in not taking more advantage of the opportunities that I had. You know, it's disappointing not to be any closer, not to have shot a better score.'
Love collected three birdies on the front side but struggled around the turn with four bogeys and a birdie on the inward half for an even-par 72.
'I didn't hit good wedge shots today and that's all there is to it,' said Love. 'I drove it pretty good starting out and then drove it in the rough coming in. I was getting it farther and farther from the hole. So it's a little disappointing to not get a better score out of it. It was my wedge game that cost me a lot of strokes.'
Rich Beem, the winner of the PGA Championship, finished alongside Love in a tie for third. Beem moved to 1-under with a birdie at the 14th but dropped a shot at the 16th to finish six shots off the lead.
Getty Images

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.  

Getty Images

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.” 

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.