McIlroy, Mickelson chasing trio in Abu Dhabi

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2014, 1:12 pm

With ideal weather conditions in the United Arab Emirates, play got underway without issue Thursday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Here's how things stand after one round, where three players have separated themselves from a logjam at the top:

Leaderboard: Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-5), Romain Wattel (-5), Matthew Baldwin (-5), Marc Warren (-4), Paul McGinley (-4), Joost Luiten (-4), Dawie Van der Walt (-4)

What it means: The leaderboard remains a crowded after Day 1 in the desert, as 20 players will begin the second round within two shots of the lead. Among that group is McGinley, the current European Tour Ryder Cup captain who turned back the clock with a 68, while Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer headline the group of players at 2 under through 18 holes.

Round of the day: While three players were able to get around Abu Dhabi GC in 5 under, only Wattel was able to do so without dropping a shot. The Frenchman, who has notched top-five finishes in each of his last two worldwide starts, recorded three birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 4-8 before adding two more circles to his scorecard on the back nine, including the home hole. As a result, he'll hold a share of the lead heading into Friday's second round as he seeks his first career European Tour win.


Mickelson: No birdies; lots of missed fairways in Round 1

McIlroy pleased with bogey-free, opening 70

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Articles, videos and photos


Best of the rest: A winner in nearby Dubai two years ago, Cabrera-Bello bogeyed his opening hole Thursday but then bounced back in style. The Spaniard recorded six birdies from there, including three across his final five holes, to match Wattel and Baldwin with a 67. After struggling down the stretch in 2013, Cabrera-Bello has positioned himself well early to capture what would be just his second worldwide top-10 finish since July.

Biggest disappointment: Typically, a stop in Abu Dhabi means a healthy payday for Sergio Garcia, but the Spaniard is off to a rough start this time around. Garcia, who has never finished outside the top 20 in five career starts in this event, struggled to a 4-over 76 in the opening round and also battled a shoulder injury. The 34-year-old had just a single birdie on his card and suffered three straight bogeys from Nos. 13-15.

Main storyline heading into Friday: No disrespect to the trio atop the leaderboard, but the main focus remains on some of the bigger names in the chase pack. McIlroy and Kaymer, each with stellar records in Abu Dhabi, got off to solid starts, while Phil Mickelson has some work to do after a 1-over 71 and world No. 3 Henrik Stenson is one shot further back. Mickelson had 17 consecutive pars to start the day and one bogey to finish.

Getty Images

McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

Getty Images

Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

Getty Images

Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

Getty Images

Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.