Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Thomas Pieters Leads Half-Way.

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Thomas Pieters of Belgium has the half-way lead in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Thomas Pieters / getty

Thomas chipped in for a birdie on his last hole to sign for a second round -7 under par 65, and lead the  Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by one shot at -12 under par;

“We have a decent game plan, I’ve done well here in the past and it suits me.”

“We hit driver wherever we can and the rest of it, it’s good ball-striking and going at a couple flags with wedges when you have them that you need to do that.”

“It was nice to hole one on the last after two terrible shots. But the rest of it was decent today. Ball-striking was good.”

“I hit most of the middle of the greens. If I had a wedge, I went at the flag and I think I got up-and-down or made birdie with a wedge in my hand three or four times.”

“It wasn’t really that fancy today but a very good round.”

Jorge Campillo, Spain, shot -8 under par 64 to move into second place at -11 under par;

“It was perfect , no wind, the greens are perfect, and every time I look up, everyone is making a putt.”

“The rough is a little lower than normally. I mean, it’s perfect to shoot low. You still have to do it but it’s a great day to play golf.”

Three players are tied in third place at -10 under par, 1st round leader and defending Champion Tommy Fleetwood, -4 under 68 today, Ross Fisher, -5 under 67, both from England, and Alex Levy, France, with -7 under 65.

Rory McIlroy , Northern Ireland, -6 under 66 today is in of a four-way tie at -9  under, while World Number One Dustin Johnson, USA, a shot further back at -8 under after shooting that score in his second round 64.

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Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Tommy & Hideto Tied at the Top.

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Defending Champion Tommy Fleetwood, England, is tied at the top of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship leaderboard with Hideto Tanihara of Japan.

 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Tommy Fleetwood / getty

In defence of his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title Tommy hit all 18 greens in regulation to card a bogey free first round -6 under par 66 to share the lead with Hideto, who was also bogey free at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates.

Tommy said he played well, especially off the tee and capitalized with good putting;

“It’s a good golf course to hit 18 greens around, just a good ball-striking round and nice to start the year off like that.”

“Had control of my ball really from the get-go. Just sort of did what you need to do well around here to get a good score.”

“I drove it well, got away with a couple of tee shots.” 

“Eighteen greens doesn’t happen very often so nice to do it around here.”

“My pace putting was really good. I didn’t put myself under any stress at all. So all in all, a very good morning.”

Hideto played smart golf and also had a good day with the putter;

“It’s a tough course here, I’m thinking more about playing smart golf and making good putts.”

“Aoki, he won on the European Tour, and I’m just trying to focus on winning on the European Tour.”

Five players share third place at -5 under par after their rounds of 67; Fabrizio Zanotti, ParaguaySam Brazel, AustraliaRoss Fisher, EnglandThomas PietersBelgium and Bernd Wiesberger of Austria.

Rory McIlroy played alongside Tommy and world number one Dustin Johnson, for his first outing of the season and carded a respectable -3 under 69. 

Rory was happy with his performance;

“It was nice, I sort of knew what I was expecting out there but at the same time, you never really know.”

“First competitive round in over a hundred days, so it’s a little bit different. But I did well.”

“I played very solid. I think only missed one or two greens, so gave myself plenty of chances. Drove the ball well. Iron play was pretty good.”

“So just need to keep doing that over the next three days and I should have a chance. I was excited to get going.”

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Tournament of Champions. DJ Wins By 8.

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DJ. World #1 Dustin Johnson of the USA wins the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii by 8 shots, totally destroying the rest of the field.

Sentry Tournament of Champions - Final Round : News Photo

DJ /getty

DJ cruised to victory in the Tournament of Champions with a final round -8 under par 65, to post a -24 under par total on the Plantation Course. At this rate Dustin should easily win every tournament he enters this year; scary;

“When I’m out there playing the only thing I’m focused on is the shot that I got to hit next. If my mind’s wandering and thinking about other things, then I’m not going to have a good day.”

“But if I can stay focused just on what I’m supposed to be doing, the shot I want to hit, and the next shot that I’m going to hit, then that’s how I have success.”

“Golf is so funny, it really doesn’t matter what you did yesterday.”

“This game, it changes very, very easily. So, for me, it’s just all about pushing forward, and you can’t change anything that happened in the past. You can only control what you’re going to do.”

For the record Jon Rahm, of Spain claimed second place at -16 under par, he carded a last round -4 under 69.

Brian Harman ended up with third position, a final round -1 under 72 no way near where he should have been, but at least he can console himself with 3rd position at -15 under par.

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Tournament of Champions. DJ Leads by 2.

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DJ, Dustin Johnson, the World #1 leads the Tournament of Champions by two shots after 54 holes on the Plantation Course in Hawaii.

Johnson holds two-shot lead at Sentry TOC

DJ in full swing / getty

DJ fired a third round -7 under par 66 to top the Tournament of Champions leaderboard in Hawaii, throwing in an Eagle 2 at the par four 12th hole for good measure. He has a two shot lead going into the final round tomorrow, at -16 under par, but the wind will be at it’s worst.

Brian Harman is those two shots back at -14 under par, and very much in contention in this tournament, carding -4 under par 69 today;

“I can’t control what Dustin does. He’s a fabulous player.”

“He’s going to be really hard to beat tomorrow, but trying to do something I’m not capable of is not the way to do it.”

Getting everyone’s attention was third placed Jon Rahm, from Spain, who went birdie, Eagle,  birdie, par, birdie in his last five holes to also post -7 under par 66 today, claiming third position on his own at -12 under par.

Jon wants to start better tomorrow, but bogey free like today would be good;

“Being bogey-free, it shows I haven’t made many mistakes, and the mistakes I made I was able to fix.”

“Hopefully, I can play good down the stretch like I’ve been doing, just start a little better on the front nine.” 

“I told my caddie when we first started working together that I don’t play well on Bermuda.”

“I had a hard time reading the greens, chipping. I had to change the way I chipped for Bermuda.”

Ricky Fowler and Jason Dufner are a further shot back tied at -11 under, and if the wind does play havoc tomorrow, could be in with a chance. Ricky carded -5 under 68 for his third round while Jason signed for -4 under 69.

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Tournament of Champions. Two Tied at the Top.

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Two players are tied at the top of the Tournament of Champions leaderboard after 36 holes at the Plantation Course in Hawaii, Marc Leishman, Australia and Brian Harman, USA, share the honor.

Practice makes perfect for Leishman at SentryHarman, Leishman tied atop the leaderboard at Sentry

Marc and Brian / getty

Marc was bogey free today with his -4 under 69, while Brian carded -5 under 68, which included two bogey’s, to join him at the top of the Tournament of Champions leaderboard at -10 under par for the two rounds completed.

Marc likes to win;

“I don’t really need to change anything. Certainly, going to play to win.”

“I mean that’s what we are here for and after last year getting a taste for it, it would be nice to do it again as soon as possible.”

“It would be nice to just keep playing the way I’m playing and hopefully seal up the TOUR Championship earlier so you can go into the FedExCup Playoffs not thinking about getting into the TOUR Championship, you’re thinking about winning tournaments.”

World #1 Dustin Johnson, USA, holds third place at -9 under par following his second round -5 under par 68, and he is happy with the way he is playing;

 “It sets up well. It’s windy, so you really have to strike the ball well.”

 “I think that’s a big factor out here, especially with all this wind. You hit solid shots, you can control it and you can hit some good ones. It’s the miss-hits when the wind’s blowing this hard that can really take it way off-line.”

“So I feel like I strike the ball very well and I control my distance pretty well. And it’s a lot of feel around here. You hardly ever hit full shots, I feel like. So I kind of like it.”

Three players then share fourth spot at -8 under, Pat Perez, and Chris Stroud, both recording 7 under 66 today, and both from the USA, they are joined by Jhonattan  Vegas from Venezuela, he signed for a second round -3 under par 70. 

Pat was upset at a couple of mistakes he made today;

 “Stupid double on eight, that pissed me off.”

“Didn’t make a birdie on nine, which sucks.”

“Didn’t realize I shot six under on the back.” 

“I still can’t believe what’s transpired in the last 17 months, but I’m just trying to enjoy every day of it. I’m having a blast.”

 

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Tournament of Champions. Marc Leishman Leads 1st Round.

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Marc Leishman leads the Tournament of Champions after the 1st round at the Plantation Course in Hawaii.

Leishman thrives in windy first round at Sentry

Marc Leishman / getty

Marc shot an opening round -6 under 67 to lead the Tournament of Champions by one shot, on a very windy day in Hawaii.

Marc is used to the wind, coming from the coastal town of Warrnambool in Australia;

“Every day it was windy down there. It would be a calm day down there and I wouldn’t know what to do and would play terrible,”

“Just basically every round of golf I played until I was 15 was in a really strong wind.”

“I just didn’t know any different and it actually took me some time when I got over here to find my feet when it wasn’t windy.”

Sharing second place at -5 under after rounds of 68 are Brian Harman, USA, and Jhonattan Vegas, from Venezuela.

Brian was bogey free on the day;

“Whenever you get to count on your birdies, you’re doing something good, especially in tough conditions.”

“I’m very happy with it. Did I expect it? Most rounds I don’t go bogey-free, so I did not expect it.”

“But you have to dial it back just a little bit on days like today to make sure that you stay in play and I was able to do that.”

World #1 Dustin Johnson is tied in fourth place with Rickie Fowler, both from the USA and Si Woo Kim, South Korea, all three at -4 under par with rounds of 69.

Dustin had a poor day with the putter;

“Definitely missed some putts, but I felt like I hit good putts, just didn’t have quite enough speed and lipped out a few on the low side.”

 “But other than that, it was really solid.”

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Hero World Challenge. Tommy Fleetwood Leads On Day 1

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Tommy Fleetwood, England, leads the Hero World Challenge on day 1 at Albany Golf Club in The Bahamas.

Hero World Challenge

Tommy Fleetwood / getty

Tommy is suffering from jet lag, and his baby son Frankie awake at 4am;

“Frankie woke up so then I feed him and then got him back down, so I just puttered about.”

Sharing second place at -5 under par after their opening rounds of 67 are Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar, both from the USA.

Four players are then tied in fourth place at -4 under, World #1 Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and  Kevin Chappell, all from the USA, and Justin Rose, England.

Of course all anybody really wants  to talk about is the third comeback appearance of Tiger Woods, who carded a first round -3 under par 69, to be T8;

“For me, I thought I did great.”

“To come out here and score like I did, it was nice.”

“All I’m trying to do is just keep plodding along. Today if I take away the two sixes and play the round correctly, then I’m probably tied for the lead.”

 “So it’s just little things like that I need to clean up and hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”

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