Kraft upsets top-ranked Cantlay 2 up in U.S. Amateur finale

By Associated PressAugust 28, 2011, 11:12 pm

ERIN, Wis. – As if beating a top-ranked opponent to win the U.S. Amateur championship wasn’t enough, Kelly Kraft got some more good news even before he walked off the 18th green.

With his victory over UCLA star Patrick Cantlay at Erin Hills on Sunday, Kraft also earned a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team.

Kraft beat Cantlay 2-up in the 36-hole final Sunday, taking down the No. 1 player in the world amateur rankings. Both finalists will receive a spot in next year’s U.S. Open, and both traditionally are invited to the Masters. As the winner, the 22-year-old Kraft also gets a spot in the British Open.

That’s provided both players keep their amateur status, something Kraft seemed to be leaning toward.

“I mean, I definitely want to play in the Masters,” Kraft said. “That’s something I have to think about.”

Kraft, from Denton, Texas, just finished his senior season at SMU - several former teammates were on hand to cheer him on Sunday - but he definitely was the lesser-known player in the final.

The 19-year-old Cantlay is considered a rising star with a promising future in the professional ranks. And after showing he can compete against professionals, including an appearance at the U.S. Open, Cantlay didn’t take much solace in playing well at Erin Hills all week.

“You don’t come to a golf tournament to finish second,” said Cantlay, who had two extra-hole victories in the event but couldn’t come up with the shots he needed Sunday with the title at stake.

Cantlay already was on the Walker Cup team headed to Scotland next month, and now Kraft will join him.

Immediately after the tournament, USGA officials announced that Kraft, Jordan Spieth of Dallas and Auburn player Blayne Barber had been added to the team.

Kraft found out he’d been added to the team right after he won.

“I just won the tournament, and then they told me this,” Kraft said. “I about had a heart attack.”

All week long, Cantlay had dominated the 17th and 18th holes - including the first round on Sunday, when Cantlay won the last two holes to cut Kraft’s lead from 4-up to 2-up going into the final 18 holes.

“That wasn’t even in my head,” Cantlay said.

But when Cantlay took back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16 in the final match, he couldn’t make up for it.

“I threw away the golf tournament on 15 and 16, and wasn’t able to recover on 17 and 18,” Cantlay said.

Cantlay hit a birdie putt on the par-5 14th, taking a 1-up lead.

But Cantlay made a mistake on the par-4 15th, attempting to lay up with an iron shot on his drive - but instead putting it into a bunker, then skying his second shot over the green.

“I figured 8-iron would be short of the bunkers - but not when you pull-hook your 8-iron, it gets a big bounce,” Cantlay said. “That was that.”

Cantlay left a long par putt just short, and Kraft made par to again square the match.

Kraft was frank in his assessment of Cantlay’s decision to lay up off the tee on 15, a hole that was playing short on Sunday.

“I thought it was a mistake,” Kraft said. “I mean, that hole plays as a par 3 today. That’s just not something I would have done.”

Cantlay then missed a par putt on the par-3 16th after pushing his first putt well past the hole, allowing Kraft to take a 1-up lead. Cantlay missed his par putt on 18 and conceded the hole - and the match - to Kraft.

“Obviously, he played better than me,” Cantlay said. “But I feel like I threw away the golf tournament.”

Kraft’s college golf eligibility is up, but he has a year left of school at SMU and says he intends to get his sociology degree - a proclamation that caused some of his teammates to start laughing in the back of the room during his news conference.

Kraft sheepishly admitted that his mind wasn’t on academics at the moment.

“I have no idea what my classes are,” Kraft said. “I sent all my teachers emails. I hope they’re not going to see this, but I haven’t looked at any of the syllabuses or anything. They’re not going to be happy with me missing more school for the Walker Cup, either. It’s OK, though.”


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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 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.