Donald wins BMW PGA, regains world No. 1

By Associated PressMay 27, 2012, 6:54 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Luke Donald replaced Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings for the third time in 10 weeks by retaining the BMW PGA Championship title Sunday, boosting his hopes of finally ending his major drought this summer.

Displaying his trademark consistency on the greens and from the tee, Donald cantered to a four-stroke victory at the biggest event on the European Tour by shooting a 4-under 68 – his fourth straight round under 70 – to finish 15 under par at Wentworth.

Donald's second victory of the year, after the Transitions Championship in March, saw him leapfrog McIlroy at the same location where 12 months ago he first guaranteed he would rise to the top of the pile after a playoff win over Lee Westwood.

Video: Donald on win, regaining No. 1 spot

Video: BMW win an omen for U.S. Open?

''There's something sweet about going 12 months and still being No. 1,'' Donald said. ''It's an indication that I'm doing the right things.''

Donald held a two-shot lead over Justin Rose when he began his final round in still, sunny conditions and said he felt tense in the opening stretch of holes, culminating in a bogey 6 on the long fourth hole. A birdie for Rose at the same hole drew the players even at 10 under and with Peter Lawrie and Paul Lawrie within two shots at that stage, a tight finish seemed likely.

Donald ensured that didn't materialize, however, rediscovering his form with the putter to birdie four of the next seven holes – including a 30-foot putt on No. 10 that drew cries of ''Luuuuke'' from the gallery and left Rose three shots behind and with too much gound to make up.

Finding the fairway with disturbing regularity for his rivals, Donald earned himself the luxury of strolling down No. 18 armed with a four-shot cushion. He suddenly had the aura of the best player in the world.

Rose missed a short birdie putt at the last to finish with a 70 and tied for second with Paul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion who compiled a 66 for the joint lowest round of the day with George Coetzee.

''There were no loose shots coming down the stretch. And with his short game and him making 20- and 30-footers, he's tough to beat,'' Rose said of his Ryder Cup colleague.

Not only did a sixth victory in 15 months earn Donald $950,000, it also gave him a major lift before next month's U.S. Open in San Francisco, when he will try to win his first major.

''I feel I am getting closer. Every time I get a success like this, it adds to my confidence. These victories are key to bringing that confidence to the majors,'' said the 34-year-old Englishman, who topped the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011.

''It's putting four rounds together like I did this week.''

It's the sixth change at the top of the rankings between Donald and McIlroy in 12 weeks. McIlroy missed the cut at Wentworth after a second-round 79.

The win ensured Donald became the third player, after Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, to retain the title at the flagship event and marked the first time he has won an event for two straight years.

''I feel that when I'm playing well, I'm hard to beat. But I think there could be 20, 25 guys who would say that,'' a typically modest Donald said.

''After the fourth, I didn't give him (Rose) a hole where he was teeing off first other than the 18th. I got the job done.''

Scores were significantly lower than Saturday, when gusting winds of up to 30 mph played a vital role in splitting the field during the third round.

Peter Lawrie punched the air after a birdie on the last hole left him alone in fourth place, with South Africa's Branden Grace, a three-time winner on the European Tour this year – a shot further back in fifth.

Wentworth course designer Ernie Els, who apologized for his expletive-laced outburst about the state of the greens Saturday, tied for seventh with Marcel Siem and Francesco Molinari after a 72 while playing in the second-to-last group.

Siem was afforded arguably the biggest cheer of the day when he made a hole in one at No. 2, using an 8-iron from 160 yards.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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 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.