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Rickie Fowler outscored playing partners Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer by nine and eight shots respectively in an opening even-par 36-35=71 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Fowler's ability to keep calm and scramble his way out of trouble served him well in tough conditions at Royal County Down on Thursday. He started out with birdies at 10 and 11 and found two more par breakers at 4 and 8 although four bogeys on his card meant he had to settle for a 71. However, that was just two shots off the clubhouse lead and in stark contrast to McIlroy (80) and Kaymer (79), who failed to card a single birdie between them. The key for Fowler was his short game as he went 7-for-11 in scrambling after hitting only seven greens in regulation.
May 28 - 10:02 AM

Graeme McDowell bogeyed the final three holes in an opening 1-over-par 35-37=72 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The Northern Irishman, who knows Royal County Down so well, used plenty of local smarts in Thursday's lap and picked off birdies at 12, 17, 18 and 1 against bogeys at 13 and 15 to move to 2-under with three to play. A trio of closing pars would have given the 2010 U.S. Open champion a share of the lead but he dropped a shot at all three. McDowell split 9 (of 14) fairways and hit 11 greens in regulation but his short game (3-for-7 in scrambling) failed to kick at the finish.
May 28 - 9:42 AM

England's Matt Ford smoke-and-mirrored his way to a 1-under-par 34-36=70 in today's opening round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down.

That's just a swing behind the clubhouse lead held by Danny Willett, Søren Kjeldsen and Emiliano Grillo. In tough weather conditions, Ford managed to hit just nine greens on the par 71 but limited the damage by going 7-for-9 in scrambling and taking just 26 putts. Ford did suffer bogeys at 4, 13 and 15 but was never over par at any point and secured his 70 thanks to birdies at four of the par 4s (3, 6, 11 and 16).
May 28 - 9:35 AM

Chris Wood authored a 1-under-par 35-35=70 to sit just a shot off the clubhouse lead after his opening lap at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Wood, who made his name with back-to-back top fives in the 2008 and 2009 Open Championships, was in his element at windswept Royal County Down on Thursday. While others struggled badly from tee to green, the tall Englishman split 10 (of 14) fairways) and hit 15 greens in regulation. The only disappointment was that he finished 0-for-3 in scrambling which led to bogeys at 13, 17 and 4. Wood wiped those out and ensured a valuable under-par round with birdies at three of the four par 5s (12, 18 and 1) and another par breaker at 16.
May 28 - 9:27 AM

Emiliano Grillo toughed out a 2-under-par 35-34=69 in his opening round to join Danny Willett and Søren Kjeldsen at the top of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open leaderboard.

On a day when Rory McIlroy couldn't break 80, Grillo kept battling away at windy Royal County Down and posted birdies at 17 and 18 to move into a tie at the top. He had three other par breakers on his card, at 1, 11 and 12, while he squared bogeys at 5, 15 and 16. The Argentine youngster split 8 (of 14) fairways, hit 12 greens in regulation and was 3-for-6 in scrambling.
May 28 - 9:16 AM

Søren Kjeldsen suffered a walk-off bogey-6 at 18 but a 2-under-par 33-36=69 was enough to secure a share of the clubhouse lead on day one of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The Dane managed to hit 14 greens in regulation in the cold and blustering conditions at Royal County Down and that paved the way for a rare sub-70 lap on the iconic links. For now he's tied for the lead with England's Danny Willett and Argentine Emiliano Grillo. Kjeldsen started fast with three birdies in his first six holes. He wobbled with bogeys at 9 and 10 but got those shots back at 12 and 16 to climb back to 3-under. He split 9 (of 14) fairways and was 3-for-4 in scrambling, the only time he failed to get up and down coming at the last, the resulting bogey denying him the lead on his own.
May 28 - 9:04 AM

Rory McIlroy failed to card a single birdie in a miserable 9-over-par 39-41=80 in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

In harsh weather conditions at Royal County Down, McIlroy was blown completely off course and currently sits 108th and last in the field. His brutal morning lap featured nine bogeys and nine pars while his stats were a car crash. The four-time major champion split just 6 (of 14) fairways, hit only nine greens in regulation, was 1-for-9 in scrambling and took 36 putts. Credit to him, therefore, for speaking after his 18 holes of turmoil. "Nothing went well at all," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "I felt off the tee it was okay but as I got closer to the green the worse it got. My putting... my speed was off, I wasn't reading them properly and just lost confidence on the greens as the round went on." Today's round of 80 followed on from the 78 he carded on day two of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. The last time McIlroy shot 80? That infamous Sunday meltdown at the 2011 Masters.
May 28 - 8:55 AM

Danny Willett dug out a 2-under-par 34-35=69 to post the early clubhouse lead in round one of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

In brutally tough conditions at Royal County Down, any round under par is worth its weight in gold and Willett bagged his by trading four birdies against just two bogeys. The Englishman, who finished T3 in this event, circled par breakers at three of the four par fives and also made a rare birdie at the 11th. He split only 7 (of 14) fairways but hit 12 greens in regulation. He kept his scorecard tidy by going 4-for-6 in scrambling.
May 28 - 8:41 AM

Harold Varner III finished with a share of runner-up honors at the 2014 Rex Hospital Open and returns for another crack at it this week.

HV3 arrives this week ranked 14th on the Web.com Tour money list, largely thanks to a runner-up finish at the Panama Claro Championship to open the season. He's been quiet as of late, finishing outside the top 40 in each of his past four starts. Raleigh is just 80 miles away from East Carolina University, so Varner III would love to take advantage of his knowledge of the area this week.
Source: PGATOUR.com
May 27 - 7:52 PM

Dustin Johnson readies for soggy conditions at this week's AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.

The weather in Irving, Texas, has been less than ideal to put it lightly. The 7,166 yard track will be playing much longer this week, and that should play right into the hands of bombers like DJ. He settled for a T63 in his 2008 Byron Nelson debut, but has secured top 20s in all four trips since. Johnson should be considered an elite option in all formats this week.
Source: PGATOUR.com
May 27 - 7:44 PM

Robert Garrigus enters this week's AT&T Byron Nelson Championship with five top 30s on his course resume.

Garrigus bowed out at the Zurich Classic when the second round restarted on Saturday morning which may tell us his patience for rain delays is thin. He's missed the cut in his two starts since that mid-round WD. On the season he is 6-for-15 and is still in search of his first top 30. Gamers can ignore his course history this week as his current form is just too far gone to remotely trust.
Source: PGATOUR.com
May 27 - 7:43 PM

Zack Sucher arrives at this week's AT&T Byron Nelson Championship ranked 245th in the FedExCup standings.

The PGA TOUR rookie has earned 0.94 more FEC points than us gamers sitting at home. He grabbed those points with a 73rd-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, missing the cut in all eight of his other starts. The UAB product posted six top 10s on the Web.com Tour last year and is too talented of a golfer to keep missing cuts at this rate.
Source: PGATOUR.com
May 27 - 7:41 PM

Scott Verplank hoisted the hardware at the 2007 AT&T Byron Nelson Championship and returns for another look at TPC Four Seasons.

Verplank was the final winner here before TPC Four Seasons became the exclusive course in 2008. He finds his way into the field with a career earnings exemption. Verplank has missed the cut in three of his five starts here since his victory and gamers shouldn't be surprised if that becomes 4-of-6 after this weekend. After all, he's just 1-for-8 on the season entering the week.
Source: PGATOUR.com
May 27 - 7:40 PM

Chris Smith has been added to the published field of this week's AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.

He started the week as the 13th alternate, but snuck into the field of 156 when Louis Oosthuizen withdrew and Tommy Gainey passed on a spot in favor of the Rex Hospital Open on the Web.com Tour. Smith hasn't played the PGA TOUR since missing the cut at the Valspar Championship where he gained entry on a top-10 exemption for a T10 in Puerto Rico. He's 201st in the FedExCup standings, but that's to be expected from a guy in the Past Champions category with only two paydays in four starts.
Source: PGATOUR.com
May 27 - 2:21 PM

Louis Oosthuizen has withdrawn from this week's AT&T Byron Nelson Championship due to his neck injury. NOTE: Tommy Gainey, Kyle Stanley, Cameron Beckman, Dicky Pride and Lee Janzen have also withdrawn as alternates.

Not that you were on board after last week's WD, anyway, but at least he's given a guy another an opportunity to play. Oosthuizen is 72nd in the FedExCup standings in 11 starts. Frankly, that's more than he projected entering the 2015 portion of the schedule. Remain patient. But you already knew that.
Source: PGATOUR.com
May 27 - 2:10 PM


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