Kaymer takes three-shot lead at Abu Dhabi Championship

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2011, 8:35 pm
2009 European TourABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Germany’s Martin Kaymer moved into contention for a third Abu Dhabi Golf Championship title after opening a three-shot halfway lead on Friday.

On an unusually gloomy and wet day at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National course, Kaymer shot a 7-under 65 to reach 12-under 132 after two rounds. Overnight leader Charl Schwartzel of South Africa added a 71 to his opening-round 64 and is second at 135.

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was third, a shot behind Schwartzel after a battling round of 70.

Ireland’s three-time major winner, Padraig Harrington, was second on the opening day after a round of 65 but was disqualified after a television viewer e-mailed European Tour officials to report an infraction. Harrington failed to replace a ball that had moved a fraction of an inch when he picked up his marker during Thursday’s first round.

Masters champion Phil Mickelson shot one better than his opening-round 71 and was nine shots off the pace.

The second round was halted Friday with three groups still out on the course when play was suspended because of poor light, but England’s Ian Poulter and Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, both at 1-over 145 look set to miss the cut, expected to fall at even-par 144.

Kaymer shot a bogey-free round, going out in 31 and adding two more birdies on the back nine. He wasn’t hitting the ball well, but made up for his inconsistency off the tee with strong putting.

Kaymer, who could move past Tiger Woods into second in the rankings with a win, said: “I think I had a very good day. I made early birdies and was 5 under par for the front nine, which gave me the hope and the belief that I can play well again.

“My ball striking was OK. I missed a few drives hit it way left twice on the eighth and way right on the 10th. So it was spraying a little bit, but my putting always was consistent and good. And if your short game is sharp, you can get a little bit more confidence than usual.”

Mickelson said he used a new putter in the second round and was finally happy with the way he putted on the back nine.

“I tried something new. I needed to do some something different. I made a couple on the back, but I’m still leaving a lot of shots out there. The greens are in perfect shape and they are really rolling nice. But today on the back nine, I made three or four of them and it felt good,” Mickelson said.

“I’m hitting some pretty good shots, so I’m not displeased. I’m encouraged. These are the first two rounds of the year, and I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball fairly well. And I just need to get a low score, because the only thing that matters is shooting a low number.”

The 'Golf Central' crew takes a look at the rules infraction which resulted in Padraig Harrington's disqualification from the Abu Dhabi Championship.

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It was the second time that Harrington has been disqualified from a tournament. In May 2000 at the Benson and Hedges International at the Belfry, England, Harrington led by five shots after three rounds but had failed to sign his first-round card and was disqualified on Sunday morning.

Harrington’s disqualification is the latest to be sparked by a viewer.

Two weeks ago, Camilo Villegas was disqualified from the Tournament of Champions after a viewer pointed out that he had swatted away loose pieces of grass while his attempted chip up a slope rolled back toward him – removing objects that could have influenced the movement of the ball.

Villegas handled the disqualification with grace but not all golfers were happy. Ian Poulter, who lost a playoff at the Dubai World Championship after being penalized for dropping the ball on his marker, wasn’t so kind.

“An armchair official tweeted in to get Camilo DQ, what is wrong with people have they got nothing better to do,” he tweeted back then. “Yes, the rules r the rules it was a mistake on Camilo’s behalf, he didn’t know he had done wrong, but people calling in, no 1 likes a snitch.”
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Country singer Owen shoots 86 in Web.com debut

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:51 pm

Country music star Jake Owen struggled in his Web.com Tour debut, shooting a 14-over 86 in the opening round of the Nashville Golf Open.

Owen, who played as a 1 handicap earlier this year while teaming with Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, put three balls out of bounds over his first nine holes, including two en route to a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 18th hole. After making the turn in 46, Owen came home in 40 without making a single birdie.

Owen is playing as an amateur on an unrestricted sponsor exemption, the same type used by NBA superstar Steph Curry on the Web.com Tour last year and by former NFL quarterback Tony Romo this year on the PGA Tour. Curry missed the cut after rounds of 74-74 at the Ellie Mae Classic, while Romo shot 77-82 at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship.


Full-field scores from the Nashville Golf Open


Owen tallied nine pars, six bogeys, two doubles and a quad in his opener and was the only player from the morning wave who failed to break 80. The closest player to him in the standings was two-time major champ Angel Cabrera, who opened with a 79.

While Owen struggled against a field full of professionals, he took the setback in stride and even took to Twitter in the middle of his round to fire back at some of his online critics:

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New putter propels Hoffman to Fort Worth lead

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:30 pm

After sitting at home last week, Charley Hoffman decided it was time for a change.

The veteran estimated that he has been using the same version of a Scotty Cameron putter for the last five years, but heading into this week's Fort Worth Invitational he wanted to shake things up.

"I had an idea on Sunday literally coming out here that I wanted to have a little more weight in my putter," Hoffman told reporters. "I went with one that was sort of in my bag of putters at home that I could add some weight here."

The swap provided immediate results, as Hoffman opened with a 7-under 63 while picking up more than two strokes over the field on the greens to take a one-shot lead over Emiliano Grillo, Jhonattan Vegas and Andrew Putnam. It was an all-around effort Thursday for Hoffman, as he missed only two greens in regulation and never faced a par putt longer than 5 feet.

"I was able to knock in some mid-range putts and played very solid," Hoffman said. "It was a nice, very stress-free round. It was fun to play."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Hoffman had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, capping it with a Presidents Cup appearance and a runner-up finish at the Hero World Challenge in December. While he has made nine cuts in 12 starts this year, his T-12 finish at the Masters remains his best result as he has struggled to turn top-20s into opportunities to contend.

Hoffman is making his seventh straight appearance at Colonial, where he tied for 10th in 2015. But he had never shot better than 65 before Thursday, when his decision to switch to a heavier Scotty Cameron model seemingly put a magnet on the bottom of the cup.

"Putting is a fickle part of the game," he said. "So hopefully the good mojo continues."

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McIlroy shoots 67, two off BMW PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 6:56 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Rory McIlroy walked off the 18th green in disgruntled fashion, shaking his head and looking down at the ground.

Shooting a 5-under 67 at Wentworth can rarely have felt so unsatisfactory.

The four-time major winner pushed his approach shot from the middle of the fairway into the overhanging trees at the par-5 last, saw his chip clip the flag pole, then missed a 3-foot putt for birdie for a disappointing end to his first round at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday.

McIlroy also missed out on a birdie on the par-5 17th, too. Hence his unhappiness immediately after his round, although he was only two shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard (65).


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


''Walking off the 16th green and going to No. 17 at 5 under par, it was good after being 1 over after three (holes),'' McIlroy said, before diverting away from revisiting the end of his round.

''I played really well, gave myself plenty of chances, drove it well, for the most part hit my irons a lot better than I have done, so it was nice to get off to a good start.''

McIlroy is playing the European Tour's flagship event for the first time since 2015. He won it in 2014, the year he won The Open and the PGA Championship – his most recent major victories.

After bogeying No. 3, the former top-ranked McIlroy reeled off seven birdies in 13 holes and later said the greens were in the best condition he'd seen them.

Bjerregaard, whose only win came in Portugal last year, made seven birdies in a bogey-free round – his last at No. 18 giving him the outright lead over South Africans Dean Burmester and Darren Fichardt.

Burmester earlier played his last eight holes in 6 under par – including making eagle at the 15th – to draw level with compatriot Fichardt, who was also bogey-free.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished 7-6 on the two par 5s to drop from the outright lead at the time to 4 under.

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Stricker opens with 65 at Colonial despite back pain

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 6:45 pm

After four holes of the Fort Worth Invitational, things were looking bleak for Steve Stricker.

The ageless veteran was already 1 over when he tweaked his back playing his approach to No. 13, his fourth hole of the day at Colonial Country Club. He ended up making another bogey, but at that point his score took a backseat to the health of his ailing back.

"I tried to hit a pretty solid 6-iron and got right into the impact area, and actually felt my lower back crack right where I had surgery back in 2014, pretty much right on the spot," Stricker told reporters. "Tried to walk to the green and that wasn't going so well. Kind of tightened up on me. I thought I was going to have to stop and just stand there for a minute, which I did a couple of times. It didn't look or feel very good for a while."

Slowly but surely, Stricker's back began to loosen up, and with it came a turnaround on the scorecard. Stricker had a four-hole stretch in the middle of his round that he played in 5 under, highlighted by a hole-out from the greenside bunker for eagle on the par-5 first hole. Despite the rocky start, he ended up shooting a 5-under 65 to sit two shots off the early pace set by Charley Hoffman.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I just kept plodding along," Stricker said. "I knew there were some birdie holes out here if you can get it in the fairway. There are some short irons."

Stricker had a spot in one of the marquee early-round groups, but his score bettered both Jordan Spieth's 1-under 69 and defending champ Kevin Kisner's 2-over 72. Stricker told reporters that he planned to get his back checked after the round.

Stricker continues to straddle both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions while crafting a unique schedule, and his appearance this week in Fort Worth came at the expense of skipping the Senior PGA Championnship, a major on the over-50 circuit. But Stricker won at Colonial in 2009 and has now played four straight years on what he described as one of his favorite courses.

"I like to play here. I know I'm going to play John Deere, another favorite tournament of mine, and FedEx St. Jude looks like I am going to try to play in a couple weeks, try to get in the U.S. Open," Stricker said. "So it's just kind of picking them as I go, and seeing where I want to go and seeing what feels good to me at the time."