Birdie barrage nets Na first PGA Tour victory

By Associated PressOctober 2, 2011, 10:51 pm

LAS VEGAS – Kevin Na won the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, birdieing Nos. 15-17 to pull away for a two-stroke victory over Nick Watney.

The 28-year-old Na closed with a 6-under 65 for a tournament-record 23-under 261 total at TPC Summlerin in the Fall Series opener. Watney, a two-time winner this year, shot a 67.

Tied for the lead with Watney entering the round, Na sealed the breakthrough victory with a 42-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th. Na and Watney both parred the par-4 18th.

'I'm just very excited about my first win,' said Na, who started playing golf a year after his family moved to the United States from South Korea when he was 8. 'It wasn't easy. Nick was coming right behind me. It looked like any time he was going to make a move, and I tried the best that I could to stay one step ahead of him. I think the putt on 17 basically sealed the deal for me.'

The winner had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine to reach 21 under. He parred the first four holes on the back nine, then dropped a stroke on the par-3 14th to fall into a tie with Watney.

'I hit a terrible shot on 14,' Na said. 'I should have backed off. I always back off, but I felt, 'I'm going to hit this.' And I hit a terrible shot and made bogey.

'To bounce back after that bogey, to hit that chip to 3 feet – I had a great chip from down there – I was able to relax a little bit. Then I had a great two-putt for birdie on the next hole. It gave me a one-shot lead. I told myself par, par, you're going to win this golf tournament.'

Na pulled ahead with his birdie on the par-4 15th and both players birdied the par-5 16th.

'Fifteen was definitely disappointing to not make birdie,' Watney said. 'I would love to have that bunker shot back. ... Sixteen, I played very nice. Seventeen, I hit a good shot then he made a 40-footer. That kind of stuff happens when you win. It's tough to beat. 

'One thing I relearned this week was how serious I was taking it, how badly I wanted to play well the last couple of months. That doesn't always translate into good golf, so this week I came here with no expectations. I took it very easy and played pretty nice.'

Tommy Gainey and Paul Goydos had 68s to tie for third at 18 under, and David Hearn (65), Carl Pettersson (68), Jhonattan Vegas (68), Tim Herron (69) and Spencer Levin (68) followed at 17 under.

Na and Watney broke the record by two strokes in the event that switched from 90 to 72 holes in 2004.

'This golf course, you have to get off to a good start,' said Na, who earned $792,000. 'The reason why is because like all the guys out here say, 'You have to go low, and if you're not making birdies, somebody else is.' So, if you're even par through six you feel like you're two shots behind everybody, and it puts more pressure into your back nine.

'I was able to get off to a great start and stay ahead of the game, and I think that was the key for me to be cruising through to the victory. The third hole, I made it off the fringe and I said, 'I'm 3 under through four; this is looking really good.'' 

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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.