Michelle Wie Continues to Amaze
Michelle Wie was on the practice range at Waialae Country Club before the Pro-Junior Golf Challenge at the Sony Open. She started with her wedges and worked her way through the bag until she pulled out a driver.
That's when PGA Tour players -- five on each side of her -- stopped what they were doing to watch. With her long, fluid swing, the Hawaiian teenager cracked one drive after another toward the back end of the range, some of them approaching 300 yards.
Why all the interest?
Wie is only 13, and she might be the biggest youth sensation in golf since a kid name Tiger Woods appeared on the 'Mike Douglas Show' at age 2.
The pros murmured after each drive struck by the eighth-grader, who is nearly 6 feet.
'Just missed it a hair -- 280,' Jerry Kelly said sarcastically after one shot.
Wie already is one of the biggest sports celebrities in Hawaii. One day after playing in the pro-am at the Mercedes Championships with Shigeki Maruyama, she was stopped for autographs at Kapalua, and one marshal congratulated her for the drive she hit on No. 5.
'You watch her swing and say, 'That's normal.' Then you realize that she's only 13 and that's ... that's unbelievable,' said Vijay Singh, who played in Wie's group during the Pro-Junior event. 'She plays like an 18-year-old. She's going to be a star.'
Asked if Wie drove it past him, Singh furrowed his brows and smiled.
'She's not that long,' he said. 'And I'm not that bad.'
Still, the afternoon led to some comical exchanges, led by Paul Azinger. When they reached the 12th hole at Waialae, Azinger laid down the challenge.
'All right, Michelle, I'm going to give you a target. I'm going to roast this one,' Azinger said to her.
He piped his drive long and straight. Wie pulled her drive into the rough, stopping about 40 yards short of Azinger's ball. He looked over at Singh and Kelly, sticking out his chest in mock triumph.
'I called her out,' he said, and all three of them broke out laughing at the absurdity of a former PGA champion beating up on a 13-year-old girl.
Wie shot 73 from the championship ties at Pearl Country Club while trying to Monday qualify for the Sony Open, six strokes short of the playoff. Andy Miller won the qualifier with a 65 and said, 'There's a lot of guys who got beat by a 13-year-old girl.'
It might not be the only time that happens.
Along with trying to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open, Women's Amateur and U.S. Junior Girls Championship, Wie said she will enter the U.S. Amateur Public Links, which offers an exemption to the Masters for the winner.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
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
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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
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.