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Beginning off No. 10 tee, World No. 32 Matt Kuchar styled a 7-under-par 33-30-63 in the second round of the Sony Open in Hawaii to post 14-under 126, up two places on the day and good for the 36-hole clubhouse lead by four over Chez Reavie and Stewart Cink. UPDATE: With R2 completed, Kuchar leads Andrew Putnam by one.

The 40-year-old opened with bogey-free 63 after being the only player at last week's Sentry TOC to record multiple bogey-free rounds (R3/R4). He opened today with four birdies in his first five holes (10-12, 14), before a lone bogey-5 at 15, his first blemish in his last 62 holes dating to last week. The Georgia Tech alum found eight (of 14) fairways and 13 greens in regulation, eking out a 0.338 SG: Tee-to-Green. However, he hung up a 4.817 SG: Putting, converting three scoring tries from between 11 and 28 feet, including eagle-3 at 18 (from 27'3") as he made the turn, and three par-savers in the 5-to-6 foot range. If the lead holds up, it would be Kuchar's 13th lead/co-lead after 36 holes in 430 events, previously 2-for-12 converting, including at Mayakoba two starts ago.
Jan 11 - 5:52 PM

Shane Lowry crafted a bounce back lap of 2-under-par 36-34=70 to set a new clubhouse target of 12-under 132 after 36 holes of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Despite landing just four fairways in round one the Irishman had thrashed the Peter Harradine-designed Abu Dhabi GC in a mere 62 blows and early in his second circuit it seemed there was a regression to mean in the offing. He played the first, second and third holes in five strokes more than he needed Wednesday, taking a bogey-6 at the second and bogey-5 at the third. But he arrested the slide in fine fashion, ticking the fifth and seventh before the turn, then the 12th (from kick-in range) and 15th after it to re-establish the lead he had lost. When signing his card he had a one shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen (11-under) and two over Lee Westwood and Richard Sterne (10-under, the latter had two holes to play). Through these two rounds he is 6-under on the par-3s. T4 on debut at this course in 2010, this performance is a minor bolt from the blue because he missed the cut in his next three visits (and broke par just once in six laps).
Jan 17 - 8:29 AM

An early start didn't stop jet-lagged Ian Poulter keeping up his bid for the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as he pieced together a 3-under-par 32-37=69 on day two to reach 9-under 135 at the midpoint, just a shot behind clubhouse leader Lee Westwood and T2 on the live board with the afternoon session in play.

After flying in from Hawaii, Poulter said after his opening 66 that he felt tired towards the end of his first round. A very similar story played out today. Starting at 07:30 from the 10th, the Englishman made four birdies in his first seven holes after ticking 10, 13, 15 and 16. That put him into a tie for the lead but the spark went after that. The World No. 38 parred the next ten holes and then found water at the par-4 9th, suffering a walk-off bogey. However, two strong rounds mean Poulter will have a late tee-time in Friday's third round so he has plenty of chance now to catch up on some shuteye.
Jan 17 - 4:09 AM

Lee Westwood crafted a bogey-free 4-under-par 34-34=68 in his second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates, posting the 36-hole lead of 10-under 134 after the completion of the morning wave on day two.

Right now, that puts the Englishman in a tie for the lead with overnight leader Shane Lowry, who has just started, while it's one clear in the clubhouse of Ian Poulter and Scott Jamieson. Westwood birdied his opening hole, the 10th, but couldn't match the blistering start he enjoyed in yesterday's 66. In fact, over the next 15 holes his only deviations from par were a pair of birdie-2s at 15 and 4. But with no bogeys on his card today and just one all week, every birdie counted and he added a final red circle at the par-5 8th. It's very unlikely he'll end the day on top but Westwood is in a great place for another big weekend challenge.
Jan 17 - 4:00 AM

Ben Martin has withdrawn ahead of his appearance at this week's Desert Classic. Tyrone Van Aswegen will take his spot in the field.

Martin missed the cut last week in his return from a back injury. He opened with a 73 but rebounded with a 2-under 68 on Friday. He's playing on a Minor Medical Extension and currently has six starts remaining to earn 111.322 FedExCup Points. A very manageable number but it will help to be selective. Martin's history in Palm Springs included a 2-for-5 record with finishes of T34 and T57 in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Martin had finished inside the top 125 in four straight seasons before injuries derailed him in 2018. Gamers should wait for a clean bill of health before reinvesting in fantasy leagues.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 16 - 5:45 PM

World No. 1 and reigning FedExCup champ Justin Rose, idle since a T17 at the Indonesian Masters five weeks ago as defending champion, makes final preparations for this week's Desert Classic and heads out in Round 1 at 8:40 am local time with Zach Johnson at La Quinta Country Club.

The Englishman (9/1) is the bookmaker's second fiddle to defender Jon Rahm (7/1), despite not playing the event in nine years. His last, a missed cut in 2010, was when the tourney was still a 90-hole event. In fact, all of The Bahamas resident's visits were 90-hole stints, including top 10s in 2006 (T10), and 2007, where he led/co-led after 36, 54 and 72 holes, respectively, before finishing 3rd. He'll have Gareth Lord on the bag this week, better known as Henrik Stenson's former caddie, as his regular bag man, Mark Fulcher, is scheduled to have heart surgery this Thursday. The 38-year-old leads the TOUR in consecutive top-10 finishes (3-4-P2-2), not including a 3rd at the unofficial Hero, and also won the Turkish Airlines Open (playoff) 11 weeks ago.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 16 - 1:37 PM

Playing the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the first time since 2011, World No.26 Louis Oosthuizen hung up a 7-under-par 35-30=65 to finish the opening morning in T2, three back from leader Shane Lowry.

The South African made light of his eight-year absence by making birdie at half the holes at Abu Dhabi GC although he'd earlier slipped to +2 after starting his day with four pars and a double bogey-5 at the 12th. A birdie-2 at 15 proved the catalyst and from there Oosthuizen ran up red numbers at 16, 18, 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9. The former Open champion has a spring in his step right now after finally winning his home South African Open last month. He's also done well at this event before with a second (2009) and a fifth (2010) from his four visits. Today's 65 was just a shot higher than the closing 64 he carded when finishing runner-up ten years ago. Oosthuizen won the SA Open after a 62 in round one so he'll hope to cash in on this fast start too.
Jan 16 - 5:01 AM

Matching his career-low round, Shane Lowry thrashed a bogey-free 10-under-par 31-31=62 on the opening morning of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates to take a three-shot clubhouse lead over Louis Oosthuizen and Mike Lorenzo-Vera. UPDATE: Richard Sterne and Pablo Larrazabal joined the T2 pack, but no-one in the afternoon wave got nearer Lowry's early mark.

Lowry's lap equalled the course record previously set by Henrik Stenson in 2006. The Irishman started his day with a pair of pars but then hit the birdie trail by splashing red at four of his next five holes (12, 13, 15 and 16). A superb approach to 18 set up a short eagle try which he missed but another birdie ensured an outward 31. Keeping up the relentless pace, he ticked 1, 2 and 3 to make it four-in-a-row, holed from 20 feet for another at 7 and rolled in a final par breaker at 8. Lowry finished fourth on his debut at this event in 2010 but missed cuts in 2012, 2013 and 2014 before dropping it from his schedule. This is some return although not unexpected given that he's finished second (2017) and fifth (2014) at the DP World Tour Championship so has a bank of desert form. Talking of which, his only other career R1 leads came in that same 2014 DP event and the 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Jan 16 - 4:23 AM

Jon Rahm is keeping the same schedule formula as last year ahead of his chance to defend his crown at this week's Desert Classic in La Quinta, California.

The Spaniard finished T34 in his 2017 Desert Classic debut. Last year he finished runner-up at the Sentry Tournament of Champions before resting a week and pegging it here at PGA WEST. That formula worked out nicely as he opened his week with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta CC to lead by himself. He hovered near the top of the board for the next two rounds before twirling a bogey-free 67 at the Stadium Course on Sunday. That was good enough for a playoff with Andrew Landry and Rahm walked away victoriously just before the sun disappeared. When asked about his love of California he said the main reason he doesn't live in San Diego is due to the taxes. Other than that, he loves everything about the Golden State. This time around Rahm arrives with a T8 at the Sentry TOC. He should be one of the favorites to hoist the hardware this week in the Coachella Valley.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 15 - 8:58 AM

Dustin Johnson is the bookmakers favorite in this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi GC in the U.A.E..

His game looked in decent enough shape in Kapalua for the Tournament of Champions (12th for Greens in Regulation, first for Total Putting), maybe it just needed a little rust knocking off and perhaps that bodes well for this week? What is true is that if the putter remains hot he’s in the ideal place to take advantage because he averages 1.63 putts per GIR in his 144 holes on the Peter Harradine creation (ranking sixth for Putt Average both the last two years). Key factor for him to address? Breaking par in round one. A pair of 72s on those previous visits left him eight and six shots off the pace in T75 and T69. He recovered to T2 and T9, but the effort of doing so probably left him too much to do to grab the win.
Jan 15 - 7:09 AM

Prior to the start of the event, Joel Dahmen has withdrawn from this week's Desert Classic.

Dahmen posted a T22 last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He was seen toting some PXG clubs which have been in the bag since the fall based on a response to a fan via Twitter on October 30th. Dahmen is 7-for-7 to kick off the new season. He gained 2.8 strokes off-the-tee last week at the Sony as well as +2.3 strokes approaching-the-green. Gamers shouldn't worry too much about this pre-tourney WD and be ready to keep riding the form train when he returns to action.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 14 - 4:00 PM

Graeme McDowell had a change of heart and removed his name from the field at this week's Desert Classic.

G-Mac was seen in the early field list on Friday but he's been removed today. The Northern Irishman went 3-for-4 during the fall with a T11 at The RSM Classic being the clear highlight. He's been out of action since then, although he did have a close call in the (exhibition team event) QBE Shootout where he was paired up with Emiliano Grillo. This would have been only his second appearance at the Desert Classic (MC in his 2003 debut).
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 14 - 3:55 PM




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