Imada builds a 2-shot lead at Torrey Pines

By Associated PressJanuary 31, 2010, 1:20 am

SAN DIEGO (AP)—Phil Mickelson hit a drive into a eucalyptus tree that nevercame down. D.A. Point had a chip from 30 yards short of the flag that tumbled 20yards over the green and into a hazard.

Ryuji Imada didn’t feel as though he played that much better Saturday in theFarmers Insurance Open. The difference was he turned trouble into pars, thenfinished with a bonus birdie that put gave him a two-shot lead at Torrey Pines.

“The score looks pretty solid,” Imada said after his 2-under 70. “But itwas a struggle out there.”

Phil Mickelson looks on after …
AP - Jan 30, 7:31 pm EST

Imada avoided the problems that stalled so many other players on the SouthCourse and wound up at 13-under 203. When his 35-foot birdie putt dropped on the18th, he had a two-shot lead over Ben Crane and 25-year-old Michael Sim ofAustralia.

Imada will be going for his second PGA Tour victory, along with aninvitation to the Masters.

And he surely likes his chances better than two years ago, when he finishedrunner-up at Torrey Pines. He started that final round 12 shots behind andfinished eight shots behind Tiger Woods .

“It he was here, I’m sure he’d be 10 ahead of me,” Imada said. “No, itwould be a different feel. But it’s still a good 18 holes of golf left, andhopefully, I can keep on playing the way I’ve been playing this week.”

Even without Woods around, Imada had reason to realize what kind of work wasahead of him.

Crane, who had a 69, is as scrappy as they come. He has made only threebogeys over 54 holes, and moved into contention with four birdies on his finaleight holes Saturday.

“You cannot predict what’s going to happen in this game, especially on thiscourse,” Crane said.

Sim is a rising star whose career has been slowed by back injuries, yet heshowed his potential last year by winning three times on the Nationwide Tour toearn an instant promotion to the big leagues. Trouble was, there was no room forhim in many tournaments.

“I’m happy to be out here now,” Sim said. “I’ve got an opportunity thisweek to win a golf tournament. I’d like to take full opportunity of thattomorrow.”

U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover had a 68, which included a double bogey onone of the easiest par 4s on the back nine. He was alone in fourth, three shotsbehind.

“Bad break, and maybe a bad decision, all on the same hole,” he said.“But all in all, pretty pleased. I got myself a little bit closer, and that wasthe goal today.”

Mickelson shot 70 and was in the group four shots back at 9-under 207.

Mickelson would not have predicted seeing a ball get stuck in a tree—twodays in a row. On Friday, it happened in his group to Ryan Palmer . This time, itwas Lefty who stared up into the eucalyptus tree, even sending a young fan upthe tree to help.

“My short game kept me in it,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t hit the ball theway I’ve been hitting it coming in. I don’t feel like it’s far off. But at leastI’m in a position now where a good round tomorrow can get it done.”

Mickelson and so many others were in range.

Brandt Snedeker , who played in the final group at Torrey Pines in 2007,birdied the last hole for a 68 and was in the group at 207 along with Mickelson,K.J. Choi (69), highly regarded rookie Rickie Fowler (70), Matt Every (72) andPoints.

Ernie Els had a 69 to lead the group at 8-under 208 that also featuredRobert Allenby , who has two victories and a runner-up finish in his last threetournaments.

“You can’t really fake it around here,” Els said.

That much was clear on a sun-filled day along the Pacific bluffs. Points wasone shot out of the lead and in front of the 14th green trying it pitch to aback pin. It came out a little strong, tumbled down the hill and into a hazard.

Even more adventurous was Mickelson.

He drove left over the cliff on the fourth hole and down the hill in theplants, just above Black’s Beach. Mickelson found his ball, managed to get itback onto the golf course and then thrilled his large crowd with a par.

He wasn’t as fortunate with his next mistake.

Mickelson hit another tee shot to the left on the par-4 seventh, and thefans could hear it clatter into a eucalyptus tree. They just couldn’t hear itland. By the time Mickelson arrived at the base of a tree, rules official SteveRintoul already had his binoculars out. He had spotted one ball lodged in thebranches, but couldn’t identify it as a Callaway with Mickelson’s markings.

One man offered to climb into the tree. Mickelson, not as spry at age 39,gave his full blessing. The man climbed 10 feet into the tree and shook with allhis might as the crowd cheered him on. The ball never came down, but it movedenough for Mickelson to realize it wasn’t his. He headed back to the tee and hitanother drive behind the trees, and did well to escape with double bogey.

By the end of the day, he still had a chance.

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 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.