S African Golf Donald Uncovered

By Tom AbbottMarch 6, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editors Note: Tom Abbott is the host of Golf Central UK. He will be filing a bi-weekly column on thegolfchannel.com with news, opinions and his inside knowledge of the European Tour.
 
The Next Generation of South African Superstars
In 10 years time, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen will be moving on toward the senior circuit, coming to the end of their tenure at the top of world of golf. Step-in the new generation of South African superstars, namely Charl Schwartzel, Richard Sterne and Anton Haig.
 
Schwartzel has already established himself on the European Tour, winning the 2005 dunhill championship and recently deciding to skip the WGC Accenture Matchplay in order to capture his third successive Sunshine Tour Order of Merit title, matching the record of Mark McNulty. Sterne already has a victory of his own on the European Tour, winning the Open de Madrid in 2004; at 25, hes three years older than Schwartzel and five years the senior of Haig, but he most certainly fits into the category of young players to watch. Finally, Haig added his name to the list with his victory at the Johnnie Walker Classic last week. Haig was a promising amateur before turning professional at the tender age of 18, but he confirmed it was a good decision with a win at the Asian Tours Pulai Springs Malaysia Masters last season and now hes a European Tour winner.
 
Donald Uncovered
For those of you who saw our Spotlight on Sunday evenings Golf Central Primetime you will have seen my interview with Luke Donald, his fianc Diane and brother Christian. We were lucky to see another side of the English superstar, and it was a great pleasure spending some time with the three of them down in Palm Beach Gardens. The interview was shot in the brand new Ralph Lauren store during an event to promote Donalds venture into clothing design. Hes been associated with the company for a number of years and now they are involving him in their design process. He takes more of a consultancy role than actually designing the garmets, but Donald tells me it's something he feels is important.
 
Despite the clothing design and his passion for art, the 29-year-old is still very focused on golf; but hell be taking a break from the tour in June when he weds longtime girlfriend Diane Antonopoulos in a ceremony in Greece. The pair will honeymoon in Italy. Donald met Diane when he was in his final year at Northwestern; she was still only a freshman and admits shed never heard of his legacy on the golf course. Having lived together for three years, Donald told me he was ready to make the next step and we certainly wish them all the very best.
 
Rushing for Glory
Englishman Ed Rush has silently made his way into the rookie-of-the-year race on the European Tour. The man from Sussex, who spent time as an assistant professional at the East Sussex National Golf Club, former home of the European Open, has already had some stellar finishes on the tour. He came home tied for 11th in his first outing of the season at the Dunhill Championship and then added a tie for sixth at the Joburg Open. The 27-year-old, whos a winner on the Challenge Tour, is currently spending a few weeks in Florida with coach Jonathan Yarwood preparing for the meat of the season. Rush obtained the 30th card at the Q-school so hes made the most of his limited early season starts. His next outing will be the Maderia Island Open in March.
 
Fulke Hangs-Up the Spikes
Swedens Pierre Fulke has announced his retirement from the game. The 2002 Ryder Cup team member has been plagued by injuries lately, limiting him to just three starts on the tour in 2006. He will now devote his time to other interests including his course design business.
 
Tom Abbott will host the LPGA Tours Mastercard Classic Honouring Alejo Peralta this week, live coverage begins on Friday at 5:30 p.m. GMT on The GOLF CHANNEL UK (Sky Digital Channel 423)
 
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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.