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    Player News: Week 17

    Player News: Week 17
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    Matchups: Gordon, Jeffery

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Henrik Stenson labored to a 36-hole total of 2-under 142 which saw him miss the cut on his 2019 debut in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi GC in the U.A.E..

The Swede was stymied by a pair of double bogeys in his first round (70), which wasted the four birdies he managed. In the second lap (72) he dropped just the one shot, but three par breakers was not enough with the course very susceptible to low scoring. It is his fifth missed cut in 14 starts on the course. Other notables that will join him in getting the weekend off include: 142- Robert Rock, Tyrrell Hatton, HaoTong Li … 143- Byeon Hun An ... 145- Thorbjorn Olesen ... 146- Paul Dunne ... 147- Kiradech Aphibarnrat ... 148- Andrew Johnston, Andrea Pavan.
Jan 17 - 9:37 AM

Dominic Foos conjured a 4-under-par 35-33=68 to hit the halfway stage of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the U.A.E. T9 on 8-under 136, four swings behind the leader Shane Lowry.

The youngest ever winner of a Challenge Tour event in 2015, having turned pro on his 17th birthday in 2014, he was a fine amateur (lowest ranked in his age group for his final three years at that level) and even finished T40 in the Nelson Mandela Championship aged 15. But three CT campaigns, despite four top three finishes, never got the German into the top 30 on the rankings. He plays this week on a National Spot (a glorified invite) and has the advantage of being attached to the nearby Els Club Dubai. So far he has taken advantage of both. As in round one he thrashed plenty of birdies. There were eight on Wednesday and six Thursday (at 4 and 8 on the front nine, 11, 13, 17 and 18 on the back); he dropped shots at the sixth and 16th. A golden opportunity awaits at the weekend for a youngster who is 4-for-20 at this level.
Jan 17 - 9:29 AM

Soren Kjeldsen hoisted a 3-under-par 35-34=69 in round two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that left him T5 on 9-under 135 and three swings behind the lead of Shane Lowry.

The Dane is enjoying his week at Abu Dhabi GC like few others in the past. After eight sub-70 laps in 40 circuits of the course he now has two in two, but if it feels reminiscent it might be because he has done that once before, when 69-69 left him T7 in 2011. However he’ll hope to kick on. That year he finished T37 and he still seeks a first top 20 on the track. After a nine birdie-three bogey scramble in round one, his second lap was a lot calmer. In fact he made eights pars and one birdie (at the second) on his front nine for a stark contrast. The back nine started in a rush with circled numbers at 10, 12 and 13, but he gave one of the shots back at the 15th.
Jan 17 - 9:15 AM

Richard Sterne authored a 4-under-par 33-35=68 that left him bogey-free after 36 holes of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, T2 on 11 under 133 alongside fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen and just two shots back of leader Shane Lowry.

The 37-year-old boasted a consistent 4-for-4 record at Abu Dhabi GC in the U.A.E. ahead of this week, but to be so high on the leaderboard is something is a break from tradition. Indeed he has a best of T19 (last year) and has only twice featured in the top ten at the end of any round. It is also 16 months since he last completed a top ten finish anywhere in the world so he will be keen to grasp the opportunity offered by his two flawless laps this week. On Thursday he ticked 10, 15 and 18 on his first nine, then added eight pars on the front nine before a final par-breaker at the ninth capped the 36 holes.
Jan 17 - 9:08 AM

Louis Oosthuizen cruised to a 4-under-par 33-35=68 which left him on 11-under 133 and T2 with compatriot Richard Sterne after 36 holes of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, one swing behind the leader Shane Lowry.

The South African headed into this year’s renewal at Abu Dhabi GC in the U.A.E. with a distinctly two tone course record which showed a light shade (T2-T5) and a dark tone too (T65-MC). So far this week he is on course for the former. He smoothed his way to the turn with six pars and three birdies (at 4, 7 and 8). But bogeys at both the tenth and 11th holes threatened to derail his title bid. However he was soon back on the front foot with back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th, plus a final red number at the 18th, closing the gap to the Irish leader to just one. Oosthuizen has grabbed all of his birdies on the front nine and last six holes, whilst dropping all four shots in the three holes after the turn. One to watch as the weekend.
Jan 17 - 8:56 AM

Tiger Woods has committed to play in his first event of 2019 as he prepares for next week's Farmers Insurance Open.

This was the likely landing spot for Woods but he made it somewhat official when he shared the news via social media, "Kicking off this season on the west coast at @FarmersInsOpen and my TGRF’s @GenesisOpen. Can’t wait!" Woods wants to avoid burnout as he saw toward the end of 2018 so gamers should expect to see a relatively light schedule in 2019. The Farmers Insurance Open field isn't official at this point but it's shaping up to be a very strong field with early commits from Justin Rose, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, just to name a few. Woods is 15-for-17 at this event with seven wins but nothing inside the top 20 over his last four visits.
Jan 17 - 8:56 AM

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

Grant Forrest fired the joint-lowest score on the second morning of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates, a bogey-free 7-under-par 33-32=65 taking him to 8-under 136 at the midpoint and just two behind the clubhouse target of Lee Westwood.

That's a huge jump of 56 spots on the live leaderboard to T6 with the afternoon session in the early stages. The Scotsman secured a debut season on the European Tour after finishing inside the top 15 in the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2018. Forrest got to work early by playing four times before the Christmas break and was 2-for-4 with a T7 in Mauritius helping him to 31st on the current Race to Dubai. He now has a great chance to add some serious points by cashing in on this promising start. For six holes today, nothing was happening as he strung together a string of pars to remain at 1-under. But a birdie at 7 proved the catalyst and he banked five straight, adding another pair of circles at 14 and 15. Forrest carded a 62 on the Challenge Tour in October and a 65 in that top ten in Mauritius so he's certainly capable of going low.
Jan 17 - 4:46 AM
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