Ames Sinks Rich Putt on Final Hole to Defend Skins Game Title

By Associated PressNovember 25, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 LG Skins GameINDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Stephen Ames chuckled about his mostly mediocre 18 holes of golf. He can laugh all the way to the bank.
 
With $650,000 at stake on No. 18, Ames coolly knocked his 7-foot birdie putt into the center of the cup Sunday to win the Skins Game. The only other hole he won was the first, a day earlier.
 
'That's the nature of the Skins Game,' Ames said, his smile still as wide at it was when his rich putt dropped. 'It's always been the way you play at the Skins Game.
 
'You kind of let the other guys beat themselves up and then you sneak in there when you need to.'
 
Taking the title for the second year in a row, Ames finished with nine skins and $675,000 of the $1 million purse.
 
Five-time champion Fred Couples, playing in the 25-year-old tournament for the 14th time, also won nine skins, pocketing $325,000 to push his career earnings in the made-for-TV event to more than $4.2 million.
 
'Somebody's going to birdie the 18th hole, probably, and Stephen did it to win a big, big, big skin,' Couples said. 'If you win the right holes, you win money.'
 
Couples won three skins and $75,000 on the first day with a bunker shot into the hole for an eagle on No. 4, then picked up $250,000 with a 5-footer for birdie on No. 10 to begin the second day.
 
Masters champion Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich, making their Skins Game debuts, were shut out.
 
'I certainly enjoyed the experience and playing with these three guys,' Johnson said. 'It's a very unique event. It's nothing like I've ever been familiar with.
 
'But when all is said and done, I'm very disappointed. I came here to win some skins, and I didn't.'
 
Said Wetterich: 'I just feel bad for the charity I was trying to play for. I feel worse about that than anything else.'
 
Each player donates 20 percent of his winnings to a charity of his choice, and Wetterich had picked Big Oak Ranch. Ames' donation will go to the Ames Foundation, and Couples' to California wildfires victims.
 
Ames, whose birdie on the opening hole of the tournament was worth $25,000, finally came up with another for the really big money 17 holes later. He stuck his 9-iron from 142 yards out close enough to the pin on No. 18 to give him a good chance, then watched the other three miss their considerably longer putts.
 
Johnson missed from 40 feet, Couples from 20, then Wetterich's 10-footer slid past the left edge of the hole to give Ames his chance.
 
He stroked the ball firmly and right on line, then, beaming, he accepted his playing partners' congratulations.
 
Realizing pars don't win skins, each of the foursome played aggressively, and frequently wound up in trouble because of it. Ames, a naturalized Canadian citizen from Trinidad & Tobago, didn't even finish No. 15 after his drive sailed into bushes to the left of the fairway. Couples and Johnson each birdied to tie the hole.
 
Ames' winning total was $590,000 in the tournament last year, when he clinched the title with a 3-footer for birdie worth $270,000. Couples finished second then, too, with $385,000.
 
The first six holes were worth $25,000 each, and Nos. 7-12 $50,000. The 13th through 17th carried a prize of $70,000 and No. 18 was worth $200,000.
 
In the Skins Game format, a player takes a skin by winning a hole. If the hole is tied by any of the players, the money carries over and all four remain in the hunt.
 
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    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 GolfChannel.com 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.