Langer leads seeks back-to-back majors

By Associated PressJuly 31, 2010, 3:17 am

2010 U.S. Senior OpenSAMMAMISH, Wash. – Bernhard Langer waited much of Friday morning for the soupy fog on the Sammamish Plateau to finally lift. He spent the evening waiting for someone to make a charge up the leaderboard.

In between, Langer put himself in position for a second consecutive major championship.

Langer overcame a shaky front nine with an eagle and birdie on the inward half to take the lead at 3 under in the second round of the U.S. Senior Open as many of the other contenders simply tried to stay close entering the weekend.

After a fog delay of more than two hours brought play to a halt just before 8 a.m., Langer shot a 2-under 68 making a number of key putts on the back nine when his round easily could have slipped away.

“You never quite know. It’s the type of golf course that any hole can get to you,” said Langer, coming off a victory last week in the Senior British Open at Carnoustie. “You just got to be careful and hit good shots.”

Langer was careful, not to mention a little fortunate with the putter Friday. He’s the only player with two rounds in the 60s on the par-70 layout at Sahalee Country Club, and will take a two-shot lead into the third round.

If successful this week, Langer would be the first player on the Champions Tour to win consecutive majors since Tom Watson in 2003 in the Senior British Open and Tradition.

But Watson didn’t win those titles in back-to-back weeks with eight time zones in between.

“This is a big enough event to pick yourself up and get motivated and get moving,” Langer said. “I don’t have a lot of problems with that.”

While Langer managed to tame the ball-hawking tree limbs of Sahalee, others were far less successful. Only four players finished the second round under par, with another four sitting at even. First-round leader Bruce Vaughan gave back all of his 66 from Thursday before he made the turn.

Little known J.R. Roth had a 66, the best round of the day. He curled in a 25-foot bender on the 18th to finish at 1 under for the tournament. John Cook (68) and Tommy Armour III (68) also were 1 under.

“I think the way USGA sets up the golf course it really is good for me, because I’m just one of those guys that grinds it out,” said Roth, playing in his first USGA event in 35 years.

Hometown favorite Fred Couples and Watson led the group at even par. Constantly trying to stretch out his always stiff back, Couples sent a wave of roars echoing between the cedars and firs of Sahalee when he dropped in a tricky 35-foot bender on the par-3 ninth that got Couples back to 1 under. A pair of bogeys early in his back nine pushed Couples to 1 over, but a birdie at No. 16 and pars on the last two holes left Couples right where he started.

“I didn’t realize last year that they shot so many under, wherever they played,” Couples said about Fred Funk’s winning score of 20 under last year at Crooked Stick. “But I think that kind of killed us here because there may not be anyone under par when the tournament is over; it’s that hard.”

After a bogey at No. 1 and birdie at No. 2, Watson made 14 straight pars before a bogey at the 17th when his tee shot imbedded in the bank near the water hazard in front of the green. Watson took a drop, but chunked his chip and made bogey.

He rebounded with a birdie on the uphill par-4 18th, the second-toughest hole on the course.

Scott Simpson and Tom Kite were 1 over, four shots back.

They’re all still chasing Langer.

He was 1 over on the front nine after missing a short par putt on the ninth, then jump-started his round with an eagle on the long par 5 11th hole, sinking a 40-foot putt for the first eagle on the hole this week. Langer made long par saving putts on Nos. 12 and 15, then birdied the par-3 17th, knocking a 6 iron to six feet. Langer delicately two-putted on the 18th to finish his round.

“I hit it straight and made some putts. It’s always the same, isn’t it?” Langer said. “Just different venues, different conditions, but it’s always same idea, hit it where you’re looking and try and play smart.”

While scores were generally closer to par than Thursday’s first round when just eight players broke par, low scores were still tough to find. Larry Mize was 3 under on his round with two holes to play before a double bogey on his 17th hole. Roberts seemed poised to join Langer at 3 under before a double bogey at the 15th. Cook also made a pair of bogeys on his final three holes.

“Here there’s no mystery, you just have to put the ball in the fairway and then you have to hit quality iron shots with the right trajectory and distance,” Cook said. “Otherwise, you might as well just pack up and go, because it will eat you alive.”

The second round had barely started when fog brought play to a halt. The low cloud deck engulfed the course and made it nearly impossible to see the end of the driving range. Play was stopped at 7:48 a.m. and the delay of 2 hour, 12 minutes pushed the afternoon starting times back. The final groups were still on the course after 8:30 p.m.

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.