Pieters knocks birthday boy Fleetwood off top spot

Pieters knocks birthday boy Fleetwood off top spot

Paul Casey, who has won two previous Championships, sits at nine-under, while World Number One Dustin Johnson will fancy his chances at eight-under, after shooting a flawless 64 to get into contention.

Fleetwood, last year's Race to Dubai victor, marked his 27th birthday by battling to a 68 on a day when his game was a bit ragged in comparison to a bogey-free opening effort. Johnson, already a victor on the PGA Tour this year, had four birdies and four bogeys Thursday. That he threatens to do so at the Abu Dhabi GC is not surprising in one sense (he is 5-for-5) but is in another (he has a best of T19). I'm in a positive mind-set, keeping calm, knowing I've done well here in the past and that the course suits me.

File photo shows Dustin Johnson hitting from the fourth fairway during the third round of the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.

"So it's definitely good". I feel like I'm almost the most prepared for a season that I've ever been, but it was nice to get back out there and it was a great pairing to start off with. "But I'm obviously delighted with the two days' work, all safely through to the weekend". "This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par, so I've got to start over again".

The 28-year-old described the eagle as "massive" and he is yet to drop a shot during 36 holes in his first event since October. I feel like I'm hitting good putts and they are just sliding by the edges.

"So you've just got to roll with it". I always struggle to read these greens. "I sort of knew what I was expecting out there but at the same time, you never really know".

Tillerson signals deeper United States military commitment in Syria
Troops backing Assad recently have said they want the U.S. presence in Syria to end, according to Syria's state-run news agency. A USA disengagement would also provide Iran with an opportunity to reinforce its position in Syria , he warned.

"I'm trying to get the lower body a little more active and trying to control the swing more with the big muscles rather than the hands, and that's really helped".

England's Rose, who finished 2017 in superb fashion by winning the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and then the Turkish Airlines Open, was hoping to continue with that form early in 2018.

"There were no mistakes, I played very solidly, very smart".

"So that was a really solid, consistent run of golf".

"DJ is definitely the No 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best driver of the golf ball and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me that I'm doing the right things and gives me confidence going forward".

Naturally, Fleetwood and McIlroy were both impressed.

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