Lehman leads Couples by one going into Schwab finale

By Associated PressNovember 3, 2012, 11:35 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tom Lehman took the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and moved closer to becoming the first player to win the season points title two straight years.

Lehman birdied the final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples on Saturday in the Champions Tour's season-ending event. Couples also shot a 62 to join Lehman in the final group, making two eagles in a round that could have been much lower.

''I really like the pairing,'' Lehman said. ''Hopefully, he plays his best, and, hopefully, I play my best and we'll see what happens. ... You got to go out there and make birdies and shoot low again.''

Lehman shot the lowest round of his Champions Tour career for the second straight day. At 63-62 and 15 under, he was a stroke off the tour record for consecutive rounds set by Bruce Fleisher at 60-64 and 16 under in the 2002 RJR Championship.

''I played really well the last two days, probably as well as I've played in six months,'' said Lehman, a two-time winner this year. ''I hit the ball very solidly both days. I gave myself a lot of chances for birdie. I've made my share, obviously. I think the big thing though is the saves. I've made a couple of really amazing key saves over the last couple of days.''

Couples is playing for the first time since a back injury forced him to withdraw during the first round of the Boeing Classic outside Seattle in late August. Before this week, he hadn't completed a competitive round since winning the Senior British Open in July for his second victory of the year.

''If I can play like this every two months, I think I might finish my career playing four times a year and just say, ''The heck with it,''' Couples said, joking.

Lehman was 17 under after three days in perfect conditions on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course. He entered the week second behind Bernhard Langer in the Charles Schwab Cup competition for a $1 million annuity.

Langer, tied for 10th at 6 under after a 70, was a projected 529 points behind Lehman after starting play Thursday with a 211-point lead. The tournament winner will get 880 points, with players receiving a point for every $500 they earn in the $2.5 million event.

Langer eagled the par-5 18th hole to get a little closer to Lehman, who would win the title with a tournament victory no matter where Langer finishes.

''I was certainly not happy with my day today,'' Langer said. ''My mindset has to be aggressive tomorrow. I'll pretty much go at everything.''

Jay Haas, five strokes ahead of Lehman at the start of the round after matching the tour record Friday with a 60, had a 69 to drop two strokes back.

''I just wasn't as sharp,'' Haas said. ''But the birdie at the last hole still gives me a chance tomorrow, and leaves a better taste in my mouth.''

Lehman made his best par save on the par-4 16th, holing a bending 35-foot putt from the fringe after popping up a 3-wood drive into a rock outcropping in the middle of the fairway.

''I might have teed it up a hair too high, but I just popped it up and it landed right in the rocks,'' Lehman said. ''I actually got kind of lucky that I could at least chip it out and hit a 9-iron.''

His putt broke about 5 feet.

''It was one of those ones, quite frankly, I was just hoping to get close,'' Lehman said. ''I was going to take my licking and keep on ticking with a bogey.''

He then holed a 20-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th and got up and down for birdie from the front greenside bunker on the 18.

Couples chipped in for eagle on the par-5 eighth, his low runner veering to the right in the last few feet. He hit a 3-iron from 239 yards to 8 feet on the par-5 15th to set up his second eagle, and got to 16 under with a 20-foot birdie putt on 17.

He also missed five birdie tries inside 12 feet in the middle of the round, and settled for a par on the 18 after hitting his approach into the greenside bunker well left of the flag.

''I did leave a couple out there, but I made a couple of nice 20-footers and, obviously, chipped in on No. 8 for eagle,'' Couples said.

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.