Herron Leads a Tight Race at Pebble Beach

By Associated PressFebruary 8, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Tim Herron was so frustrated that he changed putters for the first time in seven years at a tournament renowned for having some of the most unpredictable greens on the PGA TOUR.
 
Desperation slowly gave way to satisfaction Friday in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when Herron shot a 2-under 70 at Poppy Hills and emerged with a one-shot lead in a tournament loaded with possibilities.
 
'Everyone who makes the cut is going to be right in the tournament,' said Herron, who was at 7-under 137.
 
The cut won't be made until after Saturday, when the 180-man field has played all three courses in the rotation, but one look at the muddled leaderboard makes it perfectly clear what Herron is talking about.
 
A 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole at Poppy gave him a one-shot lead over four players, including FBR Open winner J.B. Holmes and Nicholas Thompson, who was tied for the lead until missing a 20-inch putt on No. 8 at Pebble Beach, his 17th hole.
 
Holmes was fortunate to stay one shot behind after his tee shot on the 18th at Pebble Beach dropped into that big water hazard left of the fairway known as the Pacific Ocean. He took a drop, belted a fairway metal onto the green and two-putted for par.
 
Jason Day, the 20-year-old Australian and youngest member of the PGA TOUR, had a 70 at Spyglass Hill and was among a half-dozen players at 5-under 139.
 
Three dozen players were within four shots of the lead.
 
That group did not include defending champion Phil Mickelson, who played his final 11 holes at Spyglass with no birdies and three bogeys for a 72, although he still was in range at 1-under 143.
 
'This is the round that could've been,' Mickelson said. 'I really could have had it going. I had a number of birdie opportunities to be well under par and just gave it away.'
 
Mickelson joins the movie stars and corporate VIPs at Pebble Beach on Saturday, when the tournament might finally take shape.
 
'If I shoot a good round tomorrow ... at Pebble, you can shoot 6 or 7 under and get back in it, and that's what I need to do,' he said.
 
But those rounds have been hard to find.
 
The peninsula has rarely been this majestic for the AT&T, but those blue skies have been accompanied by a cool, stiff breeze that has made scoring higher than unusual. Ryan Palmer has the best score at Pebble this week, a 65 that was 13 shots better than his opening round.
 
Davis Love III was disappointed when he walked off Pebble Beach with a 71 until he looked at the leaderboard behind the green and realized his 3-under 141 was right in the mix.
 
'It's harder than you think,' Love said. 'The ball isn't going anywhere.'
 
He left a number of iron shots well short of the hole to limit his birdie chances, but playing for the first time in four months because of ankle surgery, he had no complaints about the way he walked or played. Love has two months to qualify for the Masters, and he could finish in the top four, it might be enough to qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks.
 
'I've got to look at the positives,' he said.
 
Floyd catches himself looking at the past when he gets to Pebble Beach, primarily because his name is in bronze on the wall of champions leading up to the first tee.
 
'That's my claim to fame among my friends, that I won Pebble Beach,' said the 32-year-old son of Raymond Floyd. 'I don't really tell them it's the amateur portion of it.'
 
Floyd was a teenager playing with Dudley Hart when they won the pro-am in 1994, the year Johnny Miller won his final PGA TOUR event at age 46, by one shot over a group that included Tom Watson.
 
Floyd had a solid amateur career but has yet to make it to the big leagues. Even though he earned his real estate license and still works a few days a week, he has not given up on his dream. Floyd played the mini-tours last year, failed to advance through Q-school, but received a sponsor's exemption to Pebble Beach. He also is playing next week at Riviera on an exemption.
 
He opened with a 68 at Pebble Beach, then followed that with a 70 at Poppy Hills.
 
'To come out here and be able to perform is really exciting,' Floyd said. 'It's only two rounds. I knew I was playing well enough to do this. I didn't know if I was going to be able to handle my nerves well enough to play. So far, I guess, good enough.'
 
But there's still a long way to go, and so many players within the lead.
 
Tennis great Chris Evert got to watch her fiance, Greg Norman, play all 18 holes on Friday, and the Shark played most of them well. He shot a 70 at Spyglass and was at 2-over 146, needing a low round at Pebble Beach to make his first cut on the PGA TOUR in three years.
 
DIVOTS
 
As expected, Tiger Woods will skip the Northern Trust Open at Riviera next week for the second straight year. Riviera again drew a strong field however, with 17 of the top 20 in the world ranking. ... Tadd Fujikawa took two double bogeys on his way to an 81 at Pebble Beach, and the 17-year-old from Hawaii was headed for another missed cut since turning pro last summer. ... Pat Perez rallied for a 70 at Spyglass Hill and was on the cut line. He has to make the cut to have any chance of qualifying for the Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks.
 
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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.