Gal takes three-shot lead to Titleholders weekend

By Associated PressNovember 22, 2013, 9:46 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – A windy afternoon along the Gulf Coast of Florida played right into the hands of Sandra Gal on Friday in the LPGA Titleholders.

Gal controlled the flight of her ball and picked up three birdies on the back nine at Tiburon Golf Club, giving her a 3-under 69 and a three-shot lead going into the weekend of an LPGA Tour finale that pays $700,000 to the winner.

The 28-year-old German has spent much of the year working on a shorter swing and hitting a variety of shapes and trajectories, and that was put to good use in the blustery conditions. And the fact she opened with a 64 didn't hurt.

''My advantage was yesterday,'' Gal said. ''Shooting 8-under was big. Today it was hard for everybody to catch up. That's what gave me that three-shot lead.''

Gal was at 11-under 133.



Sun Young Yoo, the former Kraft Nabisco champion, had a 68 and was alone in second. The degree of difficulty was best measured by what Yoo considered her best shot of the round – a 6-iron on the 18th hole that didn't even hit the green.

''I'm very pleased with how I played,'' Yoo said. ''I recovered very well.''

Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old from New Zealand making her pro debut, played her final 10 holes without a birdie and finished at 71, leaving her nine shots behind.

''I thought I played much better today than yesterday, but the score was the same,'' Ko said. ''I left a couple of my putts short just in front of the hole. Then when I got my speed right, the direction was wrong, so that was kind of frustrating.''

Gal hasn't won since her inaugural title at the Kia Classic two years ago, and her biggest disappointment this year was not getting picked for the Solheim Cup team. She felt her game was turning around, but not in time to warrant a captain's pick.

Instead, she might have to settle for the biggest payoff in women's golf. To win this week would amount to one-third of her career earnings.

''It's easier for people to say, 'I don't care about the money, I only want to play well.' But they don't mean it, right?'' she said with a smile. ''But I'm not out here to play for money. I'm out here to play with heart and to inspire others. It's a huge purse. But at the end of the day, when you win a tournament, you're happy about fighting and overcoming fear.''

Cristie Kerr had to fight plenty hard to get another 69 and lead the group at 6-under 138, five shots behind. Kerr thought she took take a 6-iron through a gap in the trees on the par-5 opening hole, and instead knocked it into the water. She had to drop in pine straw, and sent her fifth shot over the green. Her chip hit the pin, allowing her to tap in for a double bogey. What followed was a ''horrendous'' shot at the third (bogey) and a ''horrible'' shot on the fifth into a bunker.

But she saved par, and that changed her thinking.

''I wasn't going to let this tournament go down the toilet,'' she said.

Kerr then ran off three straight birdies, knocked in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 12th, and then holed an 80-foot putt for eagle on the 17th that put her back in the mix.

''On 17, I mean I was just due. I don't know how to describe it any other way than that,'' she said.

Morgan Pressel had a 67, the low score of the second round. Four players failed to break 80.

Inbee Park was within a shot of the lead early in the round, reaching 7 under, until she fell back to a 72 and was seven shots behind. Park headed off to rehearse her speech one last time before accepting LPGA player of the year at the awards dinner Friday night. Most players are nervous to stand before a big room for such a big moment.

''I've had a lot more pressure,'' Park said with a smile, a reference to going after a fourth straight major earlier this year at St. Andrews.

Stacey Lewis (73) and Suzann Pettersen (72) were in the group at even-par 144, significant only as it relates to the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. Pettersen would have to finish nine shots higher than the American to win the award.

Gal stayed in the lead most of the day, and one last birdie stretched her lead. She would expect to make birdie on the 17th, the shortest of the par 5s. Just not this way. She hooked her tee shot into the trees and wasn't sure she could find it.

''Happy to find my ball,'' she said. ''Had a swing – very happy. Had an 8-iron and thought, 'Let's go for the pin,' and almost holed it out. Made the putt (from 15 feet). All very simple Never in doubt.''

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.