Hoey holds off McIlroy to win Dunhill Links

By Associated PressOctober 2, 2011, 4:37 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey resisted the challenge of illustrious compatriots Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell to win the Dunhill Links Championship by two shots Sunday, continuing his country’s recent success story in world golf.

Hoey, ranked No. 271, saw his three-shot overnight lead vanish within six holes of the final round but regrouped well, birdieing three of the last four holes to close with a 4-under 68. His 22-under total broke the tournament record, set by Lee Westwood eight years ago, by one shot.

The third-ranked McIlroy’s closing 65 gave him second place – two shots clear of McDowell (69) and Scotland’s George Murray (67), who finished tied for third.

A third career title earned Hoey a winner’s check of $800,000, but it was the way he held off the advances of his fellow Ulstermen – the U.S. Open champions present and past – that pleased him most.

“They are major champions … they have been my inspirations,” said Hoey, who has struggled to fulfill his potential after winning the British Amateur title in 2001.

“It’s taken me a long time to kick on. My belief has been high and low but I got my consistency back this week … Winning the Dunhill Links, it doesn’t get much better.”

Hoey led, or held a share of the lead, after every round of this week’s prestigious pro-am played over three of Scotland’s best courses – St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

“My short game’s been the best it’s ever been this week,” said Hoey, who shot 66s in his first three rounds.

Hoey became the latest Northern Irishman to capture a big title, with McIlroy, McDowell and current British Open champion Darren Clarke having won majors over the last 15 months. This was the first-ever Northern Irish 1-2-3 at a European Tour event.

McIlroy, seeking a fourth career win and first since the U.S. Open in June, started the day five shots adrift of Hoey but holing a wedge for an eagle at the par-4 No. 3 helped him eat into his countryman’s advantage as the morning rain finally relented.

After six holes, McIlroy, McDowell and Hoey were all level on 18 under under overcast skies and McIlroy pulled a shot clear after making birdies at Nos. 7, 9 and 11.

By that stage, he was closing in on the course record of 63 he set at the British Open last year. But the 22-year-old McIlroy failed to pick up a shot in his final seven holes and was reeled back in by Hoey, his old playing partner in Belfast and someone he looked up to as a budding amateur.

“It’s good to see all us boys up there but I’m obviously disappointed it wasn’t me that’s lifting the trophy,” said McIlroy, who looked at home this week on the links, 2 1/2 months after becoming disillusioned with that style of golf at a wet and wild British Open at Royal St. George’s.

“But considering that I was 3 over after 11 holes in this tournament, I’ve come back and played some really good golf. I’ve still got a few tournaments left this year to try to get a win or two.”

The pace of play was snail-like, with Hoey, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen – playing in the final group – taking almost three hours to complete first nine holes.

“I struggled at the start but the pace of play actually helped me a bit,” Hoey said. “And Graeme was great to play with – he said ‘knock it in’ a few times on the greens.”

Like McIlroy, the 15th-ranked McDowell made only one birdie on the back nine, with a host of putts slipping by the cup, but still left St. Andrews happy after finding his form following a poor summer.

“Great things are ahead for me; I’m much happier with my game. But when a guy plays like Michael played down the stretch, you can’t have any complaints,” McDowell said. “No one lost the tournament today, Michael just played fantastic.”

Oosthuizen began the final round four shots off the lead but couldn’t recreate the glories of his British Open win at St. Andrews last year, a closing 69 leaving him tied for fifth on 17 under with England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Scotland’s Marc Warren.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington (69) was a shot back, a stroke clear of top-ranked Luke Donald (70) and seven others.

Second-ranked Lee Westwood shot 73 and was 11 strokes behind Hoey on 10 under.

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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.

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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.