Holmes One Back in Aussie PGA

By Associated PressDecember 6, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA TOUR of AustralasiaCOOLUM, Australia -- Australia's Michael Sim shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over long-hitting American J.B. Holmes and three others after the first round of the Australian PGA Championship.
 
The 23-year-old Sim, whose rookie season on the PGA TOUR this year was delayed by a stress fracture in his back, teed off in the first group of the day at 6:15 a.m.
 
Sim went out in 4-under 32 after making birdies on three of the last four holes of the front nine and a 15-foot putt for par on nine.
 
'It was a terrific round,' said Sim, whose missed the cut in 2005 when he last played the Hyatt Regency resort course.
 
Holmes and Australians Craig Parry, Richard Green and Peter Lonard shot 66s. Adam Scott and David Smail opened with 67s, South African Rory Sabbatini was in a large group at 68, and defending champion Nick O'Hern shot 70.
 
Most of the leading players -- Lonard and Sabbatini were the exceptions -- had morning starts, when light cloud cover and a lack of wind led to perfect scoring conditions.
 
Sim, who moved to Australia from Scotland when he was 5, was hitting everything left on the practice range Wednesday before his coach, David Milne, made changes to his grip.
 
'The way I was hitting it on the range, I would have taken 7 under straight away,' Sim said. 'It was just pulling a little bit and my coach sort of changed my grip on my left hand.'
 
Sim's first season on the PGA TOUR was anything but smooth. After getting his 2007 card in late 2006 via a top-25 finish on the Nationwide Tour, he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his spine while preparing to play in last November's Australian Open.
 
He was forced to take nearly four months off, and didn't begin play this year until April, playing 17 PGA TOUR tournaments overall and earning just under $400,000.
 
He didn't pick up a club during his time off and continues to undergo rehabilitation and core stomach muscle conditioning.
 
Sim has a PGA TOUR medical extension for next year, which gives him five tournaments to earn $385,000. The Australian must match the money earned this year by Mathias Gronberg, whose at $785,000 was 125th on the money list, the last position allowing a player to keep his card for 2008.
 
'Probably my first tournament will be Pebble Beach, virtually mid-February,' Sim said. 'When my time comes up, I've got to play well.'
 
Parry, who played in Japan this year after a lengthy career on the PGA TOUR, said he putted well, but still missed three putts from under 4 feet.
 
'The greens were pretty hard today, not really holding, which is unusual for this course,' Parry said. 'I'd like the wind to pick up and knock a few guys out of contention.'
 
Holmes was married last week. His wife, Sara, followed him around the course Thursday. The American only pulled out his driver three times, including on the par-5 15th, which he eagled.
 
'A cut driver down the bottom of the hill, 8-iron to about 15 feet, and ran it right over the edge for eagle,' Holmes said.
 
He said it's not necessary for him to hit his driver frequently here.
 
'The course kind of puts everybody in the same spot,' Holmes said. 'It takes a bit of (my) advantage away, but I'll still go out and play well.'
 
Another American, Ryan Moore, was in contention before taking a 9 on the par-five 12th, going from 5 under on the day to 1 under.
 
Moore's tee shot went into heavy rough, forcing him to take a penalty stroke for an unplayable lie. But he hacked out twice more from the same area, missed the green with his sixth shot and two-putted for a quadruple bogey.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Australian PGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - Australian PGA Championship
  • 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.