Choi Charges into Barclays Lead

By Associated PressAugust 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
the Barclays Logo 2007HARRISON, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods looks like he might lose his No. 1 seed by skipping The Barclays, thanks to some stellar golf at Westchester from one of the top players chasing him in the PGA TOUR Playoffs.
 
The surprise is that it's K.J. Choi, not Vijay Singh.
 
On a course that has given him fits, Choi holed out from 94 yards for eagle on the seventh hole and marched along to a 5-under 66, giving him a two-shot lead over Rich Beem going into the weekend at the first of four playoff events for the FedEx Cup.
 
And on a course where Singh has won three times, the defending champion cleaned out his locker Friday after missing the cut for the first time at Westchester in five years. He wasted a brilliant start to shoot 71 and miss by four shots.
 
'In one way, I'm disappointed,' said Singh, who has missed consecutive cuts for the first time since 2005. 'But in another, I'd rather be out there working on my game than just trying to play here and playing poorly.'
 
Geoff Ogilvy, who won the U.S. Open down the road at Winged Foot last summer, had a 66 in the swirling breezes of late afternoon and joined Steve Stricker (68) and Rory Sabbatini (71) at 8-under 134.
 
No one else was within six shots of Choi at 12-under 130.
 
'It's going to get firmer, and as it gets firmer, it will get tougher,' Ogilvy said.
 
But while The Barclays still has 36 holes remaining, the FedEx Cup season ended Friday for 13 players who were below No. 120 and either missed the cut or withdrew. That makes it impossible for them to be among the 120-man field in round two at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Among them was Billy Andrade, who grew up near the TPC at Boston.
 
For Choi, it was another reminder that this has been his best year in golf.
 
He already has two PGA Tour victories against strong fields this year. He is No. 5 in the FedEx Cup standings. He is on the verge of cracking the top 10 in the world ranking. And his confidence is growing with a controlled fade off the tee that has spurred his success.
 
His name atop the leaderboard at The Barclays was more evidence.
 
In 10 previous rounds at this tournament, Choi had never shot better than 67 and had broken par only three times.
 
'My scores are better than what I expected,' Choi said. 'I've always played not so well here in the past years, and this course ... it's very hard to score under par.'
 
Beem celebrated his 37th birthday with a 68, then sang 'Happy Birthday' to himself. The best gift for Beem would be his first victory since the 2002 PGA Championship, but even a top-10 finish would at least qualify him for the second playoff event next week outside Boston. Beem is No. 134 in the standings.
 
'Playing good any time of the year is always fun,' he said. 'But obviously now, where I kind of have to get into the next event up the road, I know that unless I play well, I'm going home. And I don't want to go home. No offense to my wife or kids or anything, but when you're playing well, you want to stay on the road.'
 
Another player giving himself new life was Bill Haas, who had a 68 and was in the group at 6-under 136 that included Sergio Garcia (67), Ernie Els (71), Retief Goosen (68) and Adam Scott (69).
 
Phil Mickelson had a 70 and was at 137.
 
'I would have liked to have been more under par because when K.J. gets it going, he's got the ability to keep going, so he's going to be tough to catch,' Mickelson said. 'But a good round tomorrow, maybe I'll have a chance on Sunday.'
 
Woods, who chose to sit out this event, could wind up 6,500 points behind if Choi were to win.
 
Even now, Choi finds it hard to believe what he has done this year, especially his victories against strong fields on strong courses, such as the Memorial in early June and a month later at Congressional in the new AT&T National.
 
He attributes his turnaround to his driving. Instead of trying to shape a tee shot depending on the hole, Choi worked with coach Steve Bann on a consistent fade that he seems to have perfected. He has missed only two fairways in each of the first two rounds at The Barclays, allowing him to take advantage of mild conditions.
 
'I found myself constantly changing my shots, and there was no consistency,' Choi said. 'But this year, I just learned to play one shot, a fade shot. Just hit it in one direction, whether it's a dogleg left or whether it's a dogleg right. It's made a lot of difference.'
 
Choi and Sabbatini were tied after playing the back nine, but the South Korean quickly pulled away.
 
He chipped it from about 15 yards short of the par-3 first hole, hit a 7-iron to about 4 feet on the third hole for birdie, then seized command of the tournament with his sand wedge that hopped into the hole.
 
'I hit a high ball and couldn't see,' Choi said. 'Everybody started jumping up and down.'
 
Beem has struggled to put good rounds together, and it appeared this might be another slide when he chopped up the second hole, first going into the bunker and then three-putting from 8 feet for double bogey. But he birdied three of the next four holes and managed a 68 despite failing to birdie two of the par 5s.
 
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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.