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Joaquin Niemann wins Latin America Amateur with closing 63 to qualify for Masters

SANTIAGO, Chile — Joaquin Niemann wanted to make his last round as an amateur one of his best. He was so good Tuesday that he felt he could birdie every hole and closed with an 8-under 63 for a five-shot victory in the Latin America Amateur Championship. And that means his amateur career is not over yet. Next up for the 19-year-old from Chile: the Masters at Augusta National. Niemann lived up to his No. 1 world amateur ranking by playing a five-hole stretch in 6-under par around the turn…

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A big Rory McIlroy comeback and a Tiger Woods prediction at Torrey Pines Weekly 18 ESPN Golf

This was a big week for some big names. Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia all secured victories on various tours, one-quarter of the European Ryder Cup team already dialed in early in the year. We’ll get to their individual achievements, but this edition of the Weekly 18 begins with another big name who made a big comeback — and it ends with the biggest name who’s on the verge of a comeback of his own. The last time Tiger Woods was healthy for a season, back in 2013,…

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Jaime Lopez Riarola builds 1-shot lead in Latin America Amateur Championship

SANTIAGO, Chile — Georgia graduate Jaime Lopez Rivarola of Argentina had a 3-under 68 to take a one-shot lead through 36 holes of the Latin America Amateur Championship. Joaquin Niemann of Chile, the No. 1 amateur in the world, bounced back from an opening 74 at Prince of Wales Country Club with a 64, leaving him one shot behind in his bid to earn a spot in the Masters. Niemann ended his round by holing a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 ninth hole. Rivarola was at 7-under 137….

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Jon Rahm overcomes Andrew Landry in CareerBuilder playoff

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Jon Rahm headed over the hill to San Diego for his Torrey Pines title defense with a playoff victory in the CareerBuilder Challenge and the No. 2 spot in the world ranking. The Spaniard is way ahead of where he even dreamed he would be this early in his career. “To think of being No. 2 in the world, it’s hard to believe,” Rahm said. “You dream of doing those things, you want to do them, you believe in yourself, but to get to where only…

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Abu Dhabi Championship Tommy Fleetwood hits sensational back nine to retain crown

Tommy Fleetwood retained the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title with a final round 65, giving him a 2-shot victory over Ross Fisher. Fleetwood produced a sensational back nine, making six birdies to come home in 30 shots. The European No. 1 had started the day 2 behind overnight leaders Fisher and Thomas Pieters. Fisher seemed to be on his way to a first European Tour victory for nearly four years after picking up four shots in the outward nine. But Fleetwood birdied the 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th holes…

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Sergio Garcia snatches 3rd round lead at Singapore Open

SINGAPORE — Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his new found self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title. Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270. Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended…

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Jerry Kelly wins PGA Tour Champions’ Mitsubishi Electric Championship

KAILUA-KONA, Hawai’i — Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions. After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last hole, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie’s approach went over the green, and after Kelly…

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Austin Cook shoots 64 to take CareerBuilder Challenge lead

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30. After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total…

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Masters spot on line at Latin America Amateur Championship ESPN Golf

The fourth edition of the Latin America Amateur Championship begins Saturday (WatchESPN) at Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile, where the winner of the tournament will earn a spot in the 2018 Masters. Started in 2015 and organized by the Masters Tournament, the R&A and the United States Golf Association, the LAAC is a grow-the-game initiative meant to help spark interest in the region with the ultimate goal of a Masters invite. The winner also earns exemptions into the final stage of qualifying for The Open and sectional…

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Rory McIlroy one off leaders in Abu Dhabi after third round

Rory McIlroy will begin the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship one shot behind co-leaders Thomas Pieters and Ross Fisher after producing a sensational 65 on Saturday. Playing in his first event since calling an early end to his injury-plagued and winless season in October last year, four-time major champion McIlroy came into the third round three shots behind Ryder Cup partner Pieters after following up Thursday’s 69 with a sparkling 66 on Friday. And the Northern Irishman continued to make big strides up the leaderboard on day…

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