Allen looking for 3rd straight Champions Tour win

By Associated PressMay 3, 2012, 7:41 pm

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Michael Allen studied the PGA Tour statistics last year, and one number jumped out at him.

Luke Donald finished atop the money list and also led the regular tour with the lowest bogey average (2.01 per round). Webb Simpson was second on the money list and also second in fewest bogeys per round (2.08).

Allen knew that was no coincidence, and focused on consistency heading into his 2012 season on the Champions Tour. He has five top-10 finishes this year, including victories in his last two starts.

He can become the first player since Fred Couples in 2010 to win three straight starts at this weekend's Insperity Championship at The Woodlands Country Club.

''We all go out there and have times where we are not playing as well, and you keep making pars,'' Allen said. ''That's one thing that I've done very well in the last month, even the tournament in Mississippi where I finished second – I had one bogey the whole week.''

Allen is currently the man to beat on the over-50 tour, leading the Charles Schwab Cup standings with 850 points after seven starts. He was winless in 40 starts since capturing the 2009 Senior PGA Championship, and can only guess at what's clicked in recent weeks to turn near-misses into victories.

''I don't really know what it is,'' he said. ''Obviously I've won the last few weeks, but I guess maybe once you win, you get a little more comfortable doing it. To me, I've just been out really having a great time doing what I've been working on for quite some time.''

Allen was the first-round leader here last year after shooting a 9-under 63 on Friday. He stumbled to a 79 in the second round and finished tied for 24th. Brad Faxon won last year at 10-under par.

Faxon had no top-10 finishes in his first six Champions Tour starts this year before teaming with Jeff Sluman to finish third at last week's event in Savannah.

''I like fighting out of the darkness sometimes,'' Faxon said. ''That's what makes you tougher. You are always trying to improve.''

Couples, who would've been the tournament's other top lure for fans, withdrew because of the flu. Couples played at the University of Houston and draws immense galleries when he plays in the Houston Open on the regular tour, where he's made the cut in 19 consecutive appearances.

The 52-year-old Couples said he developed a high fever this week, and is hoping to recover in time for next week's Players Championship.

Jeff Freeman, meanwhile, will make his Champions Tour debut this weekend. The former Nationwide Tour player won last year's Champions qualifying tournament and turned 50 on April 15. Freeman's older brother, Robin, is also playing this week.

Allen is eager to shoot for his third consecutive victory, while he's also eyeing the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco later this summer. He grew up in nearby San Mateo and has been a member at the Olympic Club since he was 14. He got Arnold Palmer's autograph during the 1966 U.S. Open there.

Allen is playing in a sectional qualifier at Lake Merced on June 4, and is hoping to make his third U.S. Open appearance since 2000. But playing that tournament on one of his favorite courses would fulfill a lifelong dream.

''That's what I've always wanted to do in golf,'' he said. ''I've always wanted to play in the U.S. Open there. I think it's going to be a phenomenal week and I would just love to be a small part of it.''

Earlier in the week, Insperity announced that it had extended its title sponsorship through 2016. The tournament is christening its new spring date after it was moved from the fall. The featured attraction for fans comes Saturday, when Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player form a threesome in an exhibition taking place in the midst of the tournament itself.

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.

Getty Images

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.