Howell Holds Off Tiger in China

By Sports NetworkNovember 13, 2005, 5:00 pm
European TourSHANGHAI, China -- David Howell closed with a 4-under 68 on Sunday to cruise to a three-stroke win over Tiger Woods at the inaugural HSBC Champions tournament at Sheshen International Golf Club. Howell finished his third European Tour win at 20-under-par 268.
 
'I ate well and slept well last night. I knew I just had to come out and shoot a good golf score (today), and the rest would take care of itself,' Howell said. 'Obviously there was a little extra pressure playing with Tiger, but it can't affect you as long as you block it out mentally.'
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was unable to mount a serious threat in the final round of the inaugural HSBC Champions event in China.
Woods never seriously challenged Howell in the final round. Any chance Woods had at making a comeback was derailed by a three-putt bogey on the fifth and another bogey on the 16th after his tee shot found a hazard right of the green. Woods closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 17-under-par 271.
 
Nick Dougherty, who held a share of the lead after rounds one and two, closed with a 3-under 69 to share third place at 14-under-par 274. He was joined there by Nick O'Hern, who finished with a 1-over 73.
 
World No. 2 Vijay Singh managed a 69 on Sunday to end at minus-13, where he shared fifth place with Thomas Bjorn.
 
Howell led Woods by one stroke entering the round. He pushed the advantage to two strokes with a birdie on the second. Woods drained a 12-foot birdie on the third, but Howell kicked in a short birdie putt of his own on three to maintain a two-stroke lead.
 
'I started beautifully. I birdied the second and third,' said Howell. 'After a quick swing on the third tee, I was happy how my long game settled. I was able to pull away early on.'
 
The big turning point early in the round came at the fifth. Howell stuck his approach within four feet to set up birdie. Meanwhile, Woods stumbled to a three-putt bogey to drop four strokes back.
 
Woods knocked his second shot to 3 feet at the seventh. Howell, though, drained a 25-foot birdie try before Woods could make his birdie.
 
Howell missed the green short at the par-5 eighth and was unable to save his par. He three-putted for bogey at the next to slip back to 18 under and his lead was only two.
 
The 30-year-old managed to recover one stroke as he made an 8-foot birdie putt on the 10th. Woods, who missed makeable birdie putts at eight and 10, finally sank a 10-footer for birdie at 12 to move to minus-17.
 
Howell, who got a good bounce out of the rough off the tee, also birdied 12 to keep his three-stroke margin. He two-putted for par on each of the next three holes to stay three ahead.
 
Woods scrambled to three straight pars of his own before a poor tee shot on the 16th. The 29-year-old went for the green on the short par-4, but lost the tee shot short and right of the green in a hazard.
 
He took a drop and knocked his third within 6 feet, but missed the par putt to fall four back.
 
Howell two-putted for par on each of the last three holes to secure the win.
 
'My best score of the week -- a 65 on Thursday -- was when I was least happy with my game, strange game that it is,' said Howell, who was the only player to post four rounds in the 60s this week. 'Sometimes golf is like that. You do the right things and when you are not really flushing it, you just concentrate a bit more, play the percentages and that is what I did all week.
 
'As the week progressed, what you hope to do is try and start hitting the ball slightly better and that is exactly what happened. And when that happens, you generally have a good week.'
 
Woods missed a birdie try inside of 10 feet on the 17th, but did manage a two- putt birdie on the par-5 closing hole.
 
Paul Casey posted a 4-under 68 in the final round to end alone in seventh place at 12-under-par 276. Jean-Francois Remesy and Thaworn Wiratchant were one stroke further back at minus-11.
 
U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell faltered to a 1-over 73 on Sunday to take 10th place at 10-under-par 278. Former British Open winner Paul Lawrie was one stroke behind Campbell at minus-9 after back-to-back 70s on the weekend.
 
Related Links:
  • Scoring - HSBC Champions Tournament
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - HSBC Champions Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

    Getty Images

    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”