Ko makes NW Ark. Championship third win of year

By Associated PressJune 27, 2016, 1:13 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Top-ranked Lydia Ko won the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her third LPGA victory of the year, closing with a 3-under 68 for a tournament-record 17-under total and a three-stroke victory.

The 19-year-old New Zealander has 13 career LPGA victories, also winning the Kia Classic and major ANA Inspiration in consecutive weeks in Southern California. She broke the previous tournament record by two strokes.

Ko has finished sixth or better in each of her four appearances at Pinnacle Country Club, and she has shot under par in all 12 rounds.

Morgan Pressel, tied for the lead with Ko at 14 under entering the day, had a 71 to tie for second with Candie Kung (69).

Pressel was the clubhouse leader by two shots Saturday afternoon before Ko shot a back-nine 28 and tied her at 14 under with an eagle on the par-5 18th.



The New Zealander, who became the youngest two-time major winner in LPGA history at the ANA Inspiration, wasted little time in taking control of the tournament after teeing off Sunday.

Playing in the final pairing with Pressel, Ko birdied four of her first five holes - only settling for a par once in the five-hole stretch when narrowly missing a short birdie putt on the par-3 third. After Pressel bogeyed the par-5 second, Ko went from even to three shots clear of the field after only two holes.

And that was just the start of Ko's final-round coronation on a 6,330-yard course she's tamed in each of her four tournament appearances. Ko has shot below 70 in 11 of her 12 rounds at Pinnacle, including matching the course record with her 9-under 62 on Saturday.

Ko fell back to 17 under with a bogey on No. 6, but she stayed two shots clear of Pressel with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-4 eighth. She then reached as low as 19 under with a birdie on the 246-yard par-4 10th, well on her way to topping the previous tournament low of 15 under - set by Seon Hwa Lee in 2008 and matched by Na Yeon Choi a year ago.

Pressel stayed within two shots of Ko for much of the round, reaching 17 under following a birdie on No. 10. However, her round unraveled with a poor tee shot on the par-3 11th - leading to the first of four straight bogeys that took Pressel, who is still in search of her first victory since 2008, out of contention.

Ko, atop the world rankings for the last 35 weeks, earned $300,000. She began the 18th with a four-shot lead before hitting her layup in the water and settling for a bogey.

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.