BOOM! 250K on the line at Re/Max Long Drive

By Associated PressNovember 4, 2014, 12:27 am

LAS VEGAS – Connor Powers has a bit of Happy Gilmore in him as he winds up to attack a golf ball with his driver, though he doesn't shoot the kind of low scores Adam Sandler's character did in the movie.

Kind of hard to make a lot of birdies when half the time you have no idea where the ball is going.

''I lose a bunch of balls off the tee,'' Powers said. ''Accuracy is not the main goal for me when I pick up a club.''

What is the goal for the former minor league baseball player is hitting the ball a long way, a very long way. He can pound it over 400 yards, and sometimes the balls even stay in the fairway by the time they're done rolling.

On Tuesday, he could earn a cool $250,000 if he can be the biggest of the big hitters in the winner-take-all Re/Max World Long Drive Championship.

''It's pretty sweet that there's an opportunity to make money doing this,'' said Powers, a former Mississippi State first baseman who washed out in the minors after hitting 20 homers in three seasons in the San Diego Padres' system. ''But if it was just 500 bucks I'd still be doing it. It's just so much fun to be out there and compete, especially after ending my baseball career. That's really what it is about for me.''

Powers and seven others who qualified last month in Mesquite, Nevada, will go head-to-head in the championship final at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. Six balls each, with the winners advancing to the next round until only one long driver is still standing.

The 26-year-old Powers qualified for the finals by hitting a drive 402 yards, though that wasn't enough to make him the favorite among the eight players left. That would probably be Joe Miller, the 2010 world champion and 2013 runner-up from London who competes on the Long Drivers European Tour and has a streak of 13 straight wins.

Or it could be Jamie Sadlowski, the 2008 and 2009 world champion from Canada who weighs just 165 pounds but had the longest qualifying drive of 409 yards in Mesquite.

''They are all different sizes and ages and have different backgrounds,'' said Art Sellinger, the former two-time world champion who runs Long Drivers of America. ''The one thing they do have in common is they're focused on how fast they can swing a golf club and how square they can get at impact.''

Powers barely played golf at all before stumbling onto the long driving scene, though several of the finalists are scratch handicap players or better. Powers took up long driving at the urging of former Mississippi State teammate Jeff Flagg, who is also in the finals.

Powers plays more now and is a 15-handicap, no better than most weekend golfers. But his ball striking skills - at least with the driver - are world class.

''I still think you have to be a legitimate striker of the ball,'' said Sellinger, a pioneer of the long driving ranks. ''Whenever I'm trying to educate amateurs I tell them they're ball strikers. I didn't say they know how to shoot 65 for a living.''

For Powers, it's a lot like stepping up to the plate in baseball, complete with Golf Channel televising it live.

''It's basically home run derby in golf,'' he said. ''And I've always loved home run derby in baseball.''

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.