Adam Scott looks to defend Texas Open title

By Associated PressApril 14, 2011, 2:35 am

Valero Texas OpenSAN ANTONIO – When he pulled a 9-iron shot with a half swing on the final hole at last year’s Texas Open, Adam Scott admitted he had to go “straight away” to the range to work out the kinks.

That pulled approach shot led to a bogey, though he still won the tournament. And it served as a major step in the comeback of the 30-year-old Australian who nearly won the Masters last weekend.

Scott comes to TPC San Antonio, where his defense of the Texas Open begins with the first round on Thursday, after a final-round 67 at Augusta featured a half-swing of a 7-iron on the 16th tee that ended just a couple of feet from the hole.

The birdie putt gave him the lead, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Charl Schwartzel’s four-for-four birdie finish to win.

“I was not happy that I pulled a shot at a critical point here on Sunday last year, and that could have potentially cost me the tournament,” Scott said. “Finally, I hit a great half shot into the 16th at Augusta on Sunday. “Hopefully something to build on there at Augusta, even though it wasn’t the result I wanted in the end, especially late on Sunday when I thought I was right in with a good chance, very close.”

It might be easy to forget that Scott was the youngest player to win The Players Championship (23 years, eight months and 12 days) in 2004, and he achieved his high mark in the world rankings at No. 3 (behind Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk) after making the 2006 Tour Championship his fourth win in the U.S.

He won again in 2007 at the Houston Open, but by the time of his inclusion in the celebrated threesome with Woods and Phil Mickelson at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines his game was about to slip. That year, he broke a finger while slamming it in a car door, and he injured a knee while surfing.

When 2009 ended, he had dropped to 34th in the rankings and was 108th on the PGA Tour money list after missing 10 cuts in 19 starts.

He arrived in San Antonio last year as the Texas Open was played for the first time at the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course designed by fellow Australian Greg Norman.

“There were so many different things going on with my game” at the time, Scott said.

But he left with his seventh PGA Tour victory, newfound confidence in his putter and a clear path to improving his short-iron play. He was best in the field that week in making putts from 10 to 15-feet in length.

And now, at the advice from coach Brad Malone, Scott has switched to the long putter seen more often on the Champions Tour.

“Obviously it’s working for him, and maybe I should go try that,” said Anthony Kim. “Whatever works to make birdies is the right way to go.”

Scott has jumped from 30th to 17th in the latest rankings, and he thinks he could keep things going the right direction now that he’s back in Texas, home to four of his PGA Tour wins.

“Looking forward to getting out there and getting those good feelings happening again from last year and also carrying over on those feelings from the golf course last week,” Scott said.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.