Stal steals Abu Dhabi title after Kaymer collapse

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2015, 12:48 pm

After blowout victories in 2014, Martin Kaymer seemed like a lock to turn his big lead into another win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Not this time.

Despite ballooning his lead to 10 shots at one point in the final round, Kaymer dropped six shots in an eight-hole stretch Sunday and watched his massive lead evaporate.

Kaymer’s closing 75 – the worst round of the day, by anyone – left him two shots behind unheralded Frenchman Gary Stal, the 374th-ranked player in the world, who fired a bogey-free 65 on the final day to steal the title. It was the 22-year-old's first career European Tour win.

Kaymer finished alone in third at 17-under 271, one shot behind Rory McIlroy, who shot 66.

“A little shocked,” Kaymer said afterward. “Obviously, I didn’t play as good as the other days, but I didn’t make many mistakes; a couple of bad shots cost me. It’s difficult right after the round to say how I feel. It was definitely a very interesting day and one I need to reflect on.” 

It was a stunning collapse from a two-time major champion who made holding a lead look so easy a year ago. Sure, he let a comfortable lead disappear at The Players, but he showed resolve on the final two holes to stay in front. At the U.S. Open, he led in wire-to-wire fashion, rolling to an eight-shot victory.

So much for title No. 4 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Staked to a six-shot lead after 54 holes, Kaymer started hot with three birdies in his first four holes Sunday to build a 10-shot cushion, but he suddenly lost his form. He made a bogey on 6. He made a double on 9. He made a triple on 13. Couple that with Stal’s red-hot play – he made six birdies in an eight-hole stretch around the turn – and Kaymer couldn't muster the rally he needed.

Needing an eagle on the last to force a playoff, Kaymer had to lay up after finding a fairway bunker off the tee, then hit a pedestrian wedge shot to set up a two-putt par. He was the only player inside the top 20 to record an over-par score in the final round. 

After playing his first 58 holes in 23 under par, Kaymer went 6 over for his final 14. 

It was the second consecutive week that a major champion squandered a big lead on the European Tour. Last week in South Africa, Charl Schwartzel frittered away a four-shot lead with four to play. 

Kaymer has yet to win since his U.S. Open victory, and this was just his fourth top 10 overall since Pinehurst (16 events). 

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Watch: Woods uses computer code to make robotic putt

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 3:10 pm

Robots have been plotting their takeover of the golf world for some time.

First it was talking trash to Rory McIlroy, then it was making a hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale's famous 16th hole ... and now they're making putts for Tiger Woods.

Woods tweeted out a video on Tuesday draining a putt without ever touching the ball:

The 42-year-old teamed up with a computer program to make the putt, and provided onlookers with a vintage Tiger celebration, because computers can't do that ... yet.

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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.