Gates avoids kangaroo shoots 64 at Australian PGA
Gates, tied with Australian Andrew Buckle, birdied the final two holes – holing a 45-footer on No. 18.
On the par-3 14th, Gates had to wait while course marshals scared away a kangaroo near the front of the tee. After the delay, Gates pulled his tee shot into the water and made a bogey. He blamed shifting wind rather than the misplaced marsupial for the errant shot.
“It was kind of fun to watch … pretty cool,” he said. “I think the wind was more a factor out there … it didn’t end up very well.”
China’s Liang Wenchong, 1983 Australian Open winner Peter Fowler and Steve Bowditch, who grew up a few miles from the course, shot 66s. Geoff Ogilvy, the Australian Open winner last week in Sydney, shot a 70, defending champion Robert Allenby had a 70 and American John Daly opened with a 71.
Adam Scott had a rough start, recording a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 13th after beginning his round on the 10th. He put two balls in the water on the pond-lined hole and shot 40 on the back nine en route to a 73.
“I salvaged something out of a pretty ordinary 13th hole,” Scott said. “I hooked it in the water and then dropped it into a bad lie on a down slope, and then hit it fat into the water.”
With greens soft from recent rain and virtually no wind early, Buckle, who had a 6:20 a.m. start, shot 33 on the front nine and 31 on the more difficult back nine, including birdies on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 17th. His 5-foot downhill birdie putt on 18 stopped on the lip of the cup.
The 28-year-old Buckle has struggled since playing the PGA Tour in 2007 and 2008. He finished 72nd this year on the Nationwide Tour money list and will return to the United States next year in an effort to get back to the main tour,
“It’s been tough,” Buckle said. “It’s still hard for me to get my head around the fact that I might be a decent golfer. Days like today will help. When I got on the PGA Tour I was quite young and maybe I wasn’t quite ready for it. It was hard for me to get my head around a lot of things because I have never really thought I was that great a player, just loved playing golf.”
Things are far different for Gates, who won the New Zealand Open on the Nationwide Tour and has graduated to the PGA Tour for next season.
He played in last week’s Australian Open, finishing in a tie for 12th, and had a good reason for coming Down Under for two late tournaments.
“Part of it was the fact that I was pretty high up on the Order of Merit (third place on the Australasian tour), part of it was going into my rookie year next year, and it seems like all of the Aussies are pretty well prepared for Hawaii and the West Coast,” Gates said.
He added: “I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it is summer down here and they use these weeks to prepare and get ready for the 2011 season.”
Liang, who finished in a tie for eighth at this year’s PGA Championship, said he likes the Coolum course.
“The fairway distance is not that long so there are more opportunities to shoot on to greens, and to get into a better position,” Liang said through a translator.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
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
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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
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.