Cabrera 36-Hole Leader at US Open

By Associated PressJune 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Angel Cabrera was the last survivor to par Friday, but only because of an amazing birdie on his final hole that made Phil Mickelson extinct at this U.S. Open.
 
Cabrera finished off a calamitous day at Oakmont with a sand wedge from 135 yards that skipped to a stop about a foot from the hole, giving him a 1-over 71 and a one-shot lead over Bubba Watson. That put him at even-par 140 and knocked 19 players out of the tournament under the Open's 10-shot rule.
 
No casualty was more significant than Mickelson.
 
Trying to recover from a broken heart last year at Winged Foot and a left wrist injury he blamed on Oakmont's rough, Mickelson missed the cut for the first time in 31 majors dating to the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie.
 
Mickelson figured he had no chance when he signed for a 77, saying he would 'go watch the carnage on TV.'
 
That it was.
 
Greens that had been cut three times and rolled twice, combined with warm sunshine that cooked the course, led to only two rounds under par and the highest weekday scoring at a U.S. Open in 21 years.
 
'I don't know what the average score was, but I think I shot under par,' Tiger Woods said after salvaging a 74 that put him five back.
 
Even more shocking than the toughness of Oakmont was seeing Paul Casey with a 66, a round so superb that players on the practice green who watched him finish on No. 9 applauded when he knocked in his final putt.
 
That was 11 shots better than the average score.
 
'I consider the U.S. Open to be the toughest test in golf,' Casey said. 'This is possibly the toughest golf course I've ever played, and I feel very, very lucky to have shot 66 on it. There is no rest out there.'
 
And there might not be any relief in sight.
 
The USGA said it would water the greens overnight, but with more sunshine in the forecast, Oakmont figures to get even more brutal.
 
Stephen Ames had the other subpar round (69), leaving him at 142 along with Aaron Baddeley (70), Justin Rose (71) and Niclas Fasth (71). Casey was at 143, with David Toms in the group another shot behind.
 
'It's a real test of golf, all the way through,' Watson said. 'Just walking through the parking lot is tough.'
 
The USGA, as usual, offered no apologies.
 
Never mind that no one was under par after 36 holes for the first time since 1974 at Winged Foot. Or that the scoring average was the highest before the cut was made at the U.S. Open since 77.8 in the wind-blown first round at Shinnecock Hills in 1986. Or that 35 players, including Adam Scott and Padraig Harrington, failed to break 80.
 
'It's a hard golf course. We've said that all along,' said Jim Hyler, head of the championship committee for the USGA.
 
Mickelson wasn't the only one checking out at Oakmont. Five of the top 10 players in the world ranking failed to make the cut, the others being Scott, Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald and Retief Goosen.
 
Trevor Immelman leaned against a wall in the locker room after a 79 that eventually sent him home. He stared blankly at the television, watching other players suffer, trying to come to grips with how Casey posted five birdies and only one bogey.
 
'The greatest round I've ever seen in my life,' said Immelman, who played with the Englishman. 'He beat me by 13 shots. That's almost giving him one shot per hole.'
 
Casey didn't exactly have his way with Oakmont. He birdied the two toughest holes in the second round, including a 45-foot putt on the treacherous 10th green. And he saved a couple of pars with putts that felt as though they would slide off the green if the hole didn't happen to get in the way.
 
'I know the scores are quite high today and I shot a low number,' Casey said. 'But I don't think we've seen half of Oakmont yet.'
 
The only other time Cabrera has had the lead in a major was three years ago after the first round at Shinnecock Hills. Watson, the biggest hitter on the PGA Tour who is using several irons to keep the ball in play, is playing in his first U.S. Open and hasn't won anything since the Hooters Tour four years ago.
 
Along with a challenging course, they now must cope with the nerves of playing in the last group on the weekend at a major.
 
'I'm always nervous,' Watson said. 'The U.S. Open is going to be bigger crowds, and I'm going to be just as nervous and feel like throwing up the whole time.'
 
Indeed, it was a sick feeling for everyone.
 
David Toms had a share of the lead for the second straight day, but like so many other players, Oakmont eventually got the best of him. He bogeyed five of his last six holes Thursday, and played his last five holes Friday in 4 over par.
 
Even so, he was at 144, along with Scott Verplank (71) and Brandt Snedeker (73).
 
'They teased us yesterday with some of the easy pin positions, and today when you woke up, they let you know we're at Oakmont,' Snedeker said. 'It's just going to be a tough round of golf.'
 
Woods figured that out when he started to hit his tee shots into the ankle-deep rough, and it really hit home when his approach landed on the front part of the first green and never had a chance to go anywhere but into the rough.
 
'Thank God I had spikes on, because I think I would have slipped right off the back,' he said.
 
His ugliest hole saved his round -- an iron he pulled into the rough, a second shot that caromed off the bank and into the bottom of a shallow ditch, a third shot into a bunker on the other side of the green, and an up-and-down for bogey.
 
It is days like this that make players wonder whether the U.S. Open is any fun or the course is fair.
 
'It's a mean course,' Jim Furyk said after a 75 put him at 6-over 146. 'Rarely do you hit a marginal shot and get away with it. And oftentimes, you hit a pretty darn good shot and it doesn't turn out well.'
 
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    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.