Atwal wins Wyndham Championship as Monday qualifier

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2010, 1:15 am
Wyndham Championship

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Arjun Atwal will no longer have to play early week qualifying events just to make it into tournaments.

Atwal took care of that when he claimed the Wyndham Championship title to become the first Indian-born player to win on the PGA Tour.

He won at Sedgefield Country Club by one stroke Sunday, becoming the first Monday qualifier to win on tour in 24 years.

After leading or sharing the lead after each of the first three rounds, Atwal shot a 3-under 67 in the final round. He finished at 20-under 260 and earned $918,000 – or, more than double the amount he previously earned this year, the reason why his future on tour had been in jeopardy.

Arjun Atwal
Arjun Atwal reacts after earning his first PGA Tour win. (Getty Images)

“I told my caddie, ‘We’ve got nothing to lose this week. Just go out there and try and win it,”’ Atwal said. “Guys are going to be out there trying to secure their FedEx Cup spots or whatever. We’ve got nothing. I don’t have a card. I don’t have anything. Just go out there and freewheel it, and that’s what I did this week.”

Atwal is the first golfer to win both the qualifier and the tournament that follows since Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open.

He had to play his way into the Wyndham on Monday after losing his tour card. Earlier in the week, he said he was considering playing Monday qualifiers this year as a way to make it into tournaments and boost his earnings in a push to regain his card for next year.

No need to do that now, thanks to this victory.

David Toms (64) was 19 under. John Mallinger and Michael Sim of Australia shot 62s to match John Rollins (65) and Justin Leonard (65) at 18 under.

For a few dizzying moments late in a low-scoring day, seven players shared the lead at 18 under.

Atwal, who carried a three-stroke lead into the final round, was at 19 under for most of the day but bogeyed the par-3 12th a few minutes before Lucas Glover bogeyed 14 and Toms, Rollins and Leonard all birdied No. 16.

“It just kept changing,” Atwal said. “Everybody’s tied for the lead at a certain point.”

Atwal reclaimed the lead with a birdie on No. 14, Leonard birdied No. 17 and Toms birdied No. 18 to join them at 19 under. Leonard dropped back a stroke after running into trouble on 18, while Atwal still had three holes to play – giving him more than enough chances to settle things.

Atwal made his move on the par-3 16th, plopping his tee shot 6 feet from the flagstick and sinking his birdie putt to move to 20 under. He followed that with consecutive pars, sinking a 7-foot putt on No. 18 before dropping his putter and extending his arms upward in jubilation after closing out his first tour victory.

“I was thinking about going to the (driving) range, but when he got to 20 under and they said he had a 15-footer on 17, I just went in the clubhouse and tried to cool off,” Toms said. “I was ready to go to the range, if need be, but good for (Atwal). I know it’s tough to get that first victory. … I’m sure that he was battling some nerves, and to pour it in from 6-8 feet on that last hole was pretty impressive.”

Glover (67) finished at 17 under, and Webb Simpson (63), Chris Riley (64), Scott Piercy (68) and second-round co-leader Brandt Snedeker (69) were one stroke behind him.

Atwal, who has won on the European, Asian and Nationwide tours, certainly has been through plenty during the past few years.

The player perhaps best known for his practice rounds with Tiger Woods is ineligible for the playoffs and lost his tour card last month because he was too low on the money list when his minor medical exemption ran out. That came after he said he returned too soon following weightlifting injuries to both shoulders.

Three years ago, a driver trying to race him down an Orlando Florida street died in a crash. Atwal was cleared of any wrongdoing, although the yearlong investigation took an emotional toll.

The Wyndham also marked the last chance for players to pick up points for the playoffs that begin next week in New Jersey.

Piercy was the only player to play his way into the postseason, moving from 140th to 125th. Michael Letzig, who arrived at No. 125 on the points list, finished 14 under move to No. 118, solidifying his spot in The Barclays.

“The goal is to give myself another tournament to play,” Letzig said. “I’m in, so (I’ll) see what happens.”

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.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.