Harrington moves into contention at Abu Dhabi

By Associated PressJanuary 27, 2012, 1:45 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - After going winless in 2011, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington is sensing a victory is just around the corner.

Harrington shot a 3-under 69 Friday in the second round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. His 140 total has left him in a tie for ninth place so far, only three strokes behind clubhouse leader Thorbjorn Olesen in a tournament that features the world’s four top-ranked players and Tiger Woods.

“I’ve been telling you it’s coming for a good while,” said Harrington, who last won in November 2010 at the Johor Open. “So I’m always optimistic but I’m seeing some great signs out there. I’m getting a quality strike on a lot of shots and as I said, I seem to be rolling the ball nicely so just kind of have to get used to it now and run with it.”

Harrington said he has started working with Dave Alred, who was credited with helping No. 1-ranked Luke Donald find his current form.

Describing his role as a practice coach, Harrington said he was “trying to get the biggest transfer from the practice round to the golf course.”

“He’s making me more diligent in my practice,” Harrington said. “As I said all through last year, I felt I played well in practice and just never took it to the golf course. He’s all about taking your practice to the golf course. Really we time the practice, we count the balls. There’s a lot of things … it’s really putting a lot more precision into the practice.”

Winning in Abu Dhabi would be especially satisfying for the 40-year-old Irishman, who led going into the second round last year but was disqualified for signing an incorrect card after a slow-motion replay revealed that his ball moved ever so slightly after he replaced his marker.

The Royal & Ancient and U.S. Golf Association have since decided to revise the rule so that players who learn of a violation after they sign their cards can be penalized without disqualification.

Harrington said he was especially happy with his putting Friday in what he called a “solid round.” At one point, Harrington had four birdies in a row and closed out the round with five birdies and two bogeys.

“Certainly a little bit better into the groove but my irons, maybe I was better off the tee today,” Harrington said. “Showed a lot of good signs. I rolled the ball really nicely today. Nearly every putt I took, I gave the hole a run. Certainly scared it a few times. So, yeah, I was happy with that.”

But Harrington isn’t getting ahead of himself, knowing he still will need several good rounds this weekend to give him a legitimate chance of winning.

“Eight under par, if it’s only one guy, it’s not too far behind,” Harrington said. “But if there’s a whole six or seven guys or eight or nine guys on 6, 7, 8 under par, 4 under is a little bit of work to do.”

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Otaegui wins Belgian Knockout by two

By Associated PressMay 21, 2018, 1:20 am

ANTWERP, Belgium – Adrian Otaegui beat Benjamin Hebert by two shots in the final of the Belgian Knockout to win his second European Tour title.

The hybrid format opened with two rounds of stroke play on Thursday and Friday, before the leading 64 players competed in nine-hole knockout stroke play matches.

Otaegui and Hebert both finished three shots off the lead at 5 under after the first two days and worked their way through five matches on the weekend to set up Sunday's final at the Rinkven International Golf Club.


Full-field scores from the Belgian Knockout


''I'm very happy, very relaxed now after the last nine holes against Ben that were very tight,'' Otaegui said. ''I'm just very proud about my week.

''I just tried to play against myself. Obviously your opponent is just next to you but I just tried to focus on my game.''

Scotland's David Drysdale beat James Heath of England by one shot in the playoff for third spot.

Herbet said he was ''just a little short this week.''

''Adrian is a very good player, especially in this kind of format,'' he said. ''He's already won one tournament in match play last year. This format is fun, it puts you under pressure almost every hole because everything can happen. I think it's a great idea.''

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Spieth looking forward to Colonial after T-21

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:10 am

DALLAS – Jordan Spieth finally got a few putts to drop at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but after a frustrating week he’s looking forward to heading across town.

Spieth shot a 4-under 67 amid soggy conditions at Trinity Forest Golf Club, his lowest score of the week but one that still left him in a tie for 21st at 11 under par. His frustrations had a common theme throughout the week, as he ranked seventh among the field in strokes gained: tee to green but 72nd in strokes gained: putting.

“Felt like I played better than I scored,” Spieth said. “Just burned the edges or barely missed, and I misread a lot of putts, too. Overall just struggled a little bit matching line and speed and kind of getting it all together out here.”


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth remains in search of his first win since The Open in July, but his results in the interim haven’t exactly been a struggle. This marks his seventh top-25 finish in his last nine starts as an individual.

Spieth is in the midst of a busy part of his schedule, and will play his third of four events in a row next week at the Fort Worth Invitational. With runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017 sandwiched around a victory there two years ago, Spieth did little to contain his excitement for a return to venerable Colonial Country Club.

“It’s one of those courses where whether I have my A game or not, I seem to find my way into contention, which is really cool,” Spieth said. “It’s one of four or five places I go into, no matter where the game is at, I’m excited to get started and feel like I have a chance to win.”

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Razorbacks, Fassi scrambling to recover in NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 21, 2018, 12:56 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – We’re not even halfway through this NCAA Championship, and the top women’s player in the country is already worn out.

Indeed, it’s been three rounds of hard work for Maria Fassi as she tries to claw herself and second-ranked Arkansas back into contention at Karsten Creek.

“I haven’t been able to create momentum of any kind,” she said after a third-round 73 left her at 16-over 232, 23 shots off the individual lead and outside the top 90. “I’ve been fighting every single hole. It’s just been exhausting.”

It’s been that way for her teammates, too.

Arkansas entered nationals as one of the pre-tournament favorites. The Razorbacks won the SEC Championship for the first time. They won seven events, including a regional title in which they shot 26 under par on the University of Texas’ home course. They were comfortable knowing that they not only had Fassi, the top-ranked player and a six-time winner this season, but also a strong supporting cast that includes Baylor transfer Dylan Kim and Alana Uriell.

And then the first two rounds happened. The Razorbacks had shot a team score in the 300s just once all season, but they posted two in a row here at Karsten Creek (308-300).

Fassi’s play has been even more of a mystery. In the opening round she shot 81 – with two birdies. She followed it up with a second-round 78, then birdied her last two holes just to shoot 73 on Sunday. She thought she had a smart game plan – taking fewer drivers, putting the ball in play on arguably the most difficult college course in the country – and it just hasn’t worked out.

“I just need to stay really patient, be true to myself and keep fighting,” she said. “I know what I’m capable of doing, and if I play my game it’s going to be plenty good.”

So what’s been the conversation among teammates the past two nights?

“It involved a lot of cuss words,” Fassi said. “We know this is not Arkansas golf. We know this is not the game that we play.”

The top-15 cut line should have been an afterthought for a team as talented as the Razorbacks, and yet they needed a 1-over 289 just to play Monday’s fourth round of stroke-play qualifying.

“Backs against the wall, they had to go get it done and they did an awesome job,” said Arkansas coach Shauna Taylor. “In our locker room we call it ‘Do the Possible.’ It’s doing what you’re capable of doing.”

And now the Razorbacks sit in 11th place, just six shots off the top-8 cut after their two worst rounds all season. They still have a chance to advance.

“You can’t panic,” Taylor said. “We’ve played great golf all year. We’ve put ourselves in a hole and it was time to go to work and dig yourselves out of it.”

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Watch: Elvis returns, whiffs golf shot at Tiger Jam

By Grill Room TeamMay 21, 2018, 12:18 am