Atrocious Start Awesome Finish for Cabrera

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA of AmericaTUCKER'S TOWN, Bermuda -- U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera thought he was on the ropes when he couldn't get out of the trees, lucky to make triple bogey on the first hole to fall five shots behind Wednesday in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
 
Worse yet was missing a short par putt on the 16th that really crippled his chances.
 
'It was more difficult to be two behind on the 17th tee than five behind on the second tee,' Cabrera said. 'There's a lot of golf left on the second tee -- not on the 17th.'
 
He made the most of the little golf he had left, finishing birdie-eagle to close with a 2-under 68 and force a playoff with British Open champion Padraig Harrington (69), then beating the Irishman with a birdie on the third extra hole.
 
Both finished at 4-under 136.
 
Some 7,000 fans at the Mid-Ocean Club -- that's about 10 percent of the population of Bermuda -- were treated to an exciting finish they never saw coming. Harrington led by four shot with 11 holes to play and appeared to hold off a revolving door of challenges from the other three major champions in the field.
 
Jim Furyk, the replacement when PGA champion Tiger Woods skipped the event for the first time he was eligible, had momentum on his side until he tried to hit a shot he didn't have out of the bunker, knocking it over the green and into the bushes for a triple-bogey 8.
 
Masters champion Zach Johnson, seven shots behind with 10 holes to play, made up five shots in five holes but couldn't get any closer.
 
'I couldn't keep track of who was behind me,' Harrington said.
 
Cabrera, who rallied from his atrocious start to catch Harrington with an eagle on 11th hole, figured to be the least of Harrington's worries when the Argentine made a sloppy bogey after driving some 50 yards short of the green.
 
'I told my caddie we had to make 2-3 to have a chance,' Cabrera said.
 
He got the 2 with an 8-iron into about 10 feet on the 17th as Harrington made par. And the 3 came from his eagle on the 18th, a booming drive and a 4-iron that caught the slope just right and rolled to 4 feet behind the hole. Harrington two-putted for birdie for only the third playoff in the 25-year history of this event, and the first since Woods beat Vijay Singh in 2000 at Poipu Bay.
 
The playoff holes were the 17th and 18th, which didn't bode well for Harrington.
 
'It was hard to go into a playoff where he had just gone birdie-eagle,' he said. 'I didn't see any advantage I had.'
 
Both missed the 18th green and made pars, and Harrington got up-and-down at the 17th to keep the playoff going. Cabrera pounded another tee shot on the third extra hole at No. 18, hit a 4-iron to 18 feet. He needed only two putts for birdie and the victory after Harrington hit into a deep bunker off the tee and still had 4 feet left for par when it ended.
 
For the first exhibition in the silly season, these guys were all business.
 
'I wouldn't have liked to be second here,' Cabrera said.
 
Cabrera, who held off Woods and Furyk at Oakmont to capture the U.S. Open for his first major, earned $600,000.
 
Furyk finished with a flurry, making four birdies on the last five holes. That wasn't enough to recover from his triple bogey, but he closed with a 67 to finish third at 138 and earn $250,000.
 
'I fought back pretty good, but 11 definitely took my chances away,' Furyk said.
 
Johnson needed an eagle on the 18th for any chance of a playoff, but his approach rolled off the green, he chipped to the back of the green and three-putted for a bogey. That gave him a 68 to finish at 139, with last place worth $200,000.
 
'I just didn't want to finish fifth,' Johnson said.
 
Harrington's only big mistake came at the ninth, when he hooked his tee shot into the bushes. Despite getting plenty of directions from fans across the fairway, he never found his ball and wound up with a double bogey.
 
That put some drama into the back nine, setting up a big finish and an unlikely victory for Cabrera.
 
'The only thing I can is it was complicated after the first hole, and I was able to come back,' he said. 'And that was a great thing.'
 
To say it was complicated might be an understatement.
 
Cabrera picked the wrong line off the tee and was deep in the woods, his only hope squeezing it under the branches about 20 yards out of trouble. But his second shot hit a tree and was headed for his leg when it clipped a branch and narrowly missed him, sparing him a two-shot penalty.
 
He took a penalty drop for an unplayable lie, hacked that out about 10 yards, then got to the green and took two putts for a 7. Then came a three-putt bogey on the second hole, and he was fortunate it wasn't worse. He scramble for par on the third, and after chunking a wedge some 20 yards short into a bunker on No. 5, again escaped with par.
 
Cabrera had few complaints the rest of the way, especially with the finish.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.