Kerr Mahan team to win Notah Begay Challenge
Sorenstam had three birdies and playing partner Rickie Fowler added an eagle – all in the first eight holes – before Cristie Kerr and Hunter Mahan rallied with six birdies on the back nine for a 10-under 62 and a two-shot victory at Notah Begay’s NB3 Challenge.
“It all comes down to the back nine because everybody plays well in a format like this,” Kerr said. “It just comes down to who’s gonna make a couple more putts coming in. We were fortunate enough today to do that. We gave ourselves a good look at birdies.”
Kerr and Mahan trailed Sorenstam and Fowler by two shots at the turn before pulling away in the closing holes to win the $100,000 top prize in the best-ball competition at Atunyote Golf Club.
Sorenstam and Fowler (64) were second, followed by Vijay Singh and Suzann Pettersen (66), Camilo Villegas and Anna Rawson (67), Anthony Kim and Morgan Pressel (68), and Begay and Lorena Ochoa (69).
The event is the chief fundraiser for Begay’s foundation, which is dedicated to helping fight obesity and diabetes in the Native American community. He was presented a check for $1.25 million afterward.
“We feel we can make an impact on their lives,” Begay said.
The field was grouped into six mixed teams, with the ladies hitting from the shorter tee boxes.
The 39-year-old Sorenstam, who retired after the 2008 season, apologized to Fowler before they teed off.
“I haven’t played. Sorry, Rickie,” said Sorenstam, who also was preparing for her daughter’s birthday on Wednesday.
There wasn’t much to apologize for.
Shortly after a fan shouted “great to see you back,” Sorenstam hit inside 3 feet at the 198-yard, par-3 third hole for an easy birdie. Not to be outdone, Ochoa matched her with a birdie putt from just inside 10 feet.
At the 185-yard, par-3 sixth hole, Sorenstam and Ochoa both drove into the right rough beside the green. This time, Sorenstam reached back into her glorious past with a beautiful chip that bounced on the green and rolled in the cup for another birdie.
Sorenstam raised both hands in appreciation of the roar of the crowd, which hovered around 3,000 on a hot, hazy day with temperatures in the high 80s, then tossed her ball to a fan and headed for the next tee.
Something happened to Sorenstam’s second shot at the par-4 eighth hole as it landed well short of the green. It didn’t matter when Fowler rattled home a 40-foot uphill eagle putt that put them at 6 under and gave them a two-shot lead over Mahan and Kerr and Begay and Ochoa heading to the back nine.
“I made four birdies, chipped in twice. I’m not complaining, its my best finish all year,” Sorenstam said with a smile. “I love it. It’s always fun to see my friends, but I’m tired. My feet hurt. I’m not used to it. I’m a little rusty.”
Begay and Ochoa made bogey and double-bogey in the first three holes on the back to fall out of contention. Kerr had three birdies on the front nine and five on the back as she and Mahan surged into the lead.
“We gave ourselves a good look at birdies. We leaned on each other all the time,” Kerr said. “We were just having a lot of fun helping each other read putts. I think that’s what this event is all about, teamwork.”
Fowler, who is part Navajo, missed short birdies putt at Nos. 15 and 16 before making birdie at 18 as he and Sorenstam fell just short.
Just being part of the fundraiser was all that mattered to every player.
“I was pumped to be part of it, especially to have Annika as a partner,” Fowler said. “It’s pretty special to be here.”
Ochoa, who retired four months ago at the height of her game, said the transition to private life had been “way easier than I thought.”
“I made the right decision,” she said. “I’m still very competitive. I think I did my job inside the ropes. Now it’s time to work outside the ropes.”
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)
The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...
And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.
Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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.