Els and Ogilvy Go Down Together

By Associated PressApril 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Ernie Els and Geoff Ogilvy show was considered a must-see, two of the trendy picks to win if Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson faltered at the Masters.
 
It took all of two holes for that trend to run its course.
 
With one bad shot after another Thursday, Els and Ogilvy watched their scores climb and their chances tumble. Els, a three-time major winner, shot a 6-over-par 78 that matched his third-worst score in 14 years at Augusta National. Ogilvy, the reigning U.S. Open champ, came in at 3-over 75.
 
Ernie Els
Ernie Els was one of many top players who struggled in the opening round of The Masters. (WireImage)
'It was a difficult day, a very tough day,' Els said. 'I played some better stuff on the back nine and we'll try to work ourselves back into it. I don't quite know how, but we're going to give it a try.'
 
Any other tournament, and they may as well start packing. But this is the notoriously fickle Masters, and swirling winds mean almost nobody is out of it quite yet.
 
Justin Rose and Brett Wetterich were the leaders at 3-under 69. But there was a slew of people bunched up at 75, 76 and 77. Even Mickelson struggled, shooting a 4-over 76.
 
'You aren't going to get a lot of rounds in the 60s in this wind,' said Tom Watson, a two-time winner here who shot 3-over 75.
 
Tricky conditions and slick greens wouldn't seem to be a problem for Els or Ogilvy. Both are U.S. Open winners, the ultimate test in precision and putting. And Els has a claret jug from the British Open, where wind is as much a staple as grass and tea.
 
Not on this day, however.
 
Els was in trouble from the start, opening with a double-bogey on the par-4 No. 1 and three-putting from 30 feet for a bogey on the second hole. On the 240-yard No. 4, his tee shot went so far left he was almost up against the grandstand. He chipped on, but it rolled about 15 feet long and he missed the comeback by inches for yet another bogey.
 
He closed the front nine with back-to-back bogeys and didn't make his first -- and only -- birdie until the par-5 No. 13.
 
'It was terrible on the front nine,' Els said. 'It was a little windy and a little cold as well, and I wasn't comfortable on the greens, either.'
 
On the par-5 15th, he hit a little bump-and-run from behind the green on his third shot, but it picked up speed on the slick surface and trickled off on the other side. It looked as if he might salvage a birdie with a nice recovery pitch, only to see the ball skirt the cup and go a foot past.
 
He missed from inside six feet on the next hole, giving him another bogey.
 
'When it was blowing, some of the greens are really firm. Therefore, it is very difficult to keep the ball on the greens,' Els said. 'Some of the pins were difficult as well.
 
'If you mishit a shot today,' he added, 'you really paid the penalty.'
 
Ogilvy learned that quickly.
 
He was within 50 yards of the green on the par-5 No. 2 after his second shot. But he landed his third in a sand trap, then flew the green, chipped to within 5 feet and three-putted.
 
Throwing up a snowman that early in the round is going to do some damage, and it didn't get much better after that.
 
Ogilvy pushed his drive on the par-4 No. 5 so far right it landed on pine straw in a grove of trees. He hit a low screamer that reached the green, but it was at the very bottom, leaving him about 30 feet to the cup.
 
He got close, only to see the ball break just below the hole and roll 3 feet past. The second putt curled around the hole but refused to drop in, forcing him to take a bogey.
 
The par-5 15th might just have summed up his entire day.
 
Just as Els' did, Ogilvy's second shot hit the green and rolled off the back. But after watching Els, the Aussie hit a perfect chip that trickled straight to the hole. The crowd began cheering, and playing partner Fred Couples held up his putter, certain it was good.
 
But it skirted the edge and rolled 3 feet by. It was still a birdie, but an eagle might have turned the entire day around.
 
Normally easygoing and sociable, the Aussie didn't stop to talk after his round.
 
Conditions aren't supposed to be much different Friday, which could make for another long day.
 
Els has only missed the cut once in his 13 previous trips to Augusta, and he's battled back before. After opening with a 79 in 2003, he rebounded with a 66 in the second round and finished in a tie for sixth.
 
'I have no other choice, do I?' Els said when asked if he could rally. 'I have to try and get something going and, hopefully by Sunday, be back to level par. ... It's back to the drawing board, basically.'
 
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  • 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.

    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.