Yeah, I know Hump Day was yesterday, but due to some technical problems it has to be a little late. What a comedy of errors that identified the winner at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Congratulations to Pablo Larrazabal for his victory on Sunday, but you have to wonder what it could have been, had Rory McIlroy not made a rookie mistake, and Phil Mickelson had not tried to be……..Phil.
After making a drop at the par five second hole on Saturday, neither Rory, or his caddie remembered one of the basic rules of making a drop out of a hazard, if you are taking relief, you must take full relief. Trying to recover from an errant shot at the 16th hole on Sunday, Phil tried to hit the ball out of a hazard right-handed(Phil is a Lefty) and the ball made secondary contact with the shaft. Rory made a double bogey, and Phil a triple, and both finished in second place, one-stroke back.
We have to give some credit here to Pablo Larrazabal. The journeyman Spaniard held it together against two of the worlds best players, and made a clutch putt on the 18th hole to get the win.
Patrick Reed avoided a meltdown on Sunday, to win the Humana Challenge for his second career victory at the birdie-fest in the California Desert. Reed shot matching 63’s for the first three rounds, and began the final round on Sunday with a seven-shot lead.
He would let the lead get down to two strokes at one-time during the round, carding a 71 in the finale. He was able to hold off a hard-charging Ryan Palmer, who shot a final round -9 under par 63 and finished two strokes back, and Hyundai TOC Champion Zach Johnson who carded a -10 under 62 and finished three strokes back.
The new week got started yesterday on the European Tour with the Commercial Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Course in Qatar. After two rounds in the book, Raphael Cabrera-Bello has a two-shot lead over South African, George Coetzee, and three over a trio that includes Steve Webster from Scotland. The tournament began on Wednesday, and will finish-up on Saturday afternoon.
The big news this week is the Farmers Insurance Open from Torrey Pines with the return of Tiger Woods for the first time this season, and the LPGA kick-off event that gets underway today at the Pure Silk Bahama Classic.
Tiger Woods will defend his 2013 victory at Torrey Pines, and be seeking his record-tying, eight win at this event, and ninth at this venue. Tiger will tee it up at 1:40PM Eastern today with 2013 Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth, and two-time winner in 2014, Jimmy Walker.
Phil Mickelson has made the trip home from Abu Dhabi to play in this event, and will be seeking his first win at Torrey Pines since 2001. Phil won back-to-back in 2000 and 2001.
The LPGA gets started on the Golf Channel at 11:30 today with the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. They have finally figured out that they can avoid hurricanes in the Caribbean if they play there earlier in the year.
A full field of top LPGA players will tee it up on Thursday that will include Stacy Lewis, Na Yeon Choi, and new LPGA rookie, Lydia Ko. The only two big names that will not be in the Bahamas this week ate the Rolex Number one, and two. Inbee Park has elected to skip the Pure Silk, and Suzann Petterson withdrew for problems with her shoulder.
Jack Nicklaus, The Golden Bear celebrated his 74th birthday on Tuesday.
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