McIlroy shoots course record to win Quail Hollow

By Doug FergusonMay 3, 2010, 1:31 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – All the buzz about Rory McIlroy came to life Sunday at the Quail Hollow Championship with one dazzling shot after another in a record round that made him the PGA Tour’s youngest winner since Tiger Woods.

Explosive as ever, the 20-year-old from Northern Ireland was 5 under over the final five holes to set the course record at 10-under 62 and win by four shots over Masters champion Phil Mickelson.

McIlroy finished in style, rolling in a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and thrusting his fist into the air.

“I suppose I got into the zone,” said McIlroy, who celebrates his 21st birthday on Tuesday. “I hadn’t realized I was going in 9, 10 under. I just know I got my nose in front and I was just trying to stay there.”

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy poses with his first PGA Tour trophy. (Getty Images)
It capped a big Sunday for golf’s young stars. Earlier in the day, 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa shot a record 58 in the final round to win on the Japan Golf Tour.

McIlroy delivered an awesome display of skill that left two-time major champion Angel Cabrera in his wake and thrilled thousands of fans on a steamy day at Quail Hollow.

With a one-shot lead, McIlroy hit a 5-iron from 207 yards up the hill to 3 feet for eagle on the 15th. From a fairway bunker on the 16th, he hit 7-iron to 5 feet for another birdie. Then came the finish, when he knocked in a 40-foot putt that made fans leap from their chairs and had made McIlroy’s freckled-face burst with joy.

He finished at 15-under 273 and won $1.17 million.

Woods, who missed the cut this week, was 20 years and 10 months when he won his first PGA Tour event in Las Vegas in 1996.

Mickelson was in the hunt until he had to play a right-handed shot from the woods on the 10th hole and made bogey. When he got around to making a charge, McIlroy already was too far ahead. Mickelson closed with a 68, which he figured would be good enough to win.

The roars he heard ahead of him told him otherwise.

“I’ve got to congratulate Rory,” Mickelson said. “He played some incredible golf. He’s an amazing talent. You knew he was going to come out and win out here. He is some kind of player.”

Cabrera was tied for the lead with eight holes to play until his putter failed him. The former Masters and U.S. Open champion missed five putts inside 10 feet on the back nine and shot 68.

Billy Mayfair, who had a two-shot lead going into the final round, lost the lead by hitting into the water on the par-5 seventh for a double bogey and closed with a 76.

McIlroy becomes the first player since Chris Couch at New Orleans in 2006 to make the cut on the number and win the tournament. McIlroy was two over the cut line on Friday with three holes to play until making an eagle on the seventh hole. He followed with a 66 on Saturday to get back in the hunt, then blew everyone away with a round that ranks among the best.

The previous course record at Quail Hollow was 64.

Padraig Harrington of Ireland closed with a 68 and hung around for two hours to congratulate the kid when he finished. He was growing concerned for McIlroy, under enormous pressure since turning pro when he was 18.

He won the Dubai Desert Classic last year at 19 and nearly won the Order of Merit. McIlroy had been struggling this year with lower back problems, alarming for someone so young. He had missed two cuts going into Quail Hollow, and had not had a top 10 since the first week of February.

“At home, no matter how he does, the focus is on him,” Harrington said. “When you’re not winning, not delivering, the focus becomes a burden. If he can get across the line here, he can go from strength to strength. He will be a lot more comfortable with who he is, a lot more patient. The win is significant – very significant – at this time.”

He crossed the line at full speed.

McIlroy shot a 128 on the weekend at Quail Hollow, considered one of the toughest tracks on the PGA Tour.

Everything was going his way.

“It’s been a crazy ride until this point,” McIlroy said. “I’m just delighted to get here. To get my first win in the U.S. is special.”

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

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Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.