Mickelson rallies to win HSBC Champions

By Associated PressNovember 8, 2009, 6:18 pm

SHANGHAI (AP)—Thousands of fans caused a bottleneck at the entrance to theHSBC Champions, all of them eager to see the Sunday showdown at SheshanInternational between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods .

The Shanghai surprise? Woods turned out to be merely a spectator, too.

Mickelson built a six-shot lead over the world’s No. 1 player on the frontnine, then rallied to beat another familiar foe, Ernie Els , with two clutchputts for a one-shot victory in the final World Golf Championship of the year.

Mickelson closed with a 3-under 69 and won for the first time playing withWoods in the final group.

Even with Woods out of the picture—he shot 72 and wound up five shotsbehind—Mickelson provided his usual dose of entertainment.

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. fla…
AP - Nov 8, 6:57 am EST

Trailing by one shot, Mickelson whiffed on a risky flop shot below the 16thgreen, only to save par with perhaps his best putt of the year, an 18-footslider that dropped on its final turn. He followed that with a 10-foot birdie onthe 17th, which turned out to be the difference when Els hit into the water onthe par-5 18th and made bogey.

“We all expected that Tiger and myself would be shooting in the mid-60s andpull away a little bit,” Mickelson said. “And yet, our group was not makingany birdies. It was the groups in front of us. And I was very fortunate to comeout on top by a shot. But this feels terrific, because I had to fight very hardthroughout the day. Nothing came easy.”

That was particularly true for Woods.

He looked out of sorts from the start, missing birdie putts of 4 feet and 10feet, then taking double bogey on the par-3 fourth when he hit into a canal leftof the green where residents on the other side routinely dump their garbage.

Hearing a series of camera shutters in the middle of his swing on No. 7caused him to hit his tee shot into a plugged lie in the bunker, and it tookWoods three shots to cover the final 75 yards and reach the green for anotherbogey.

“Anything that could go wrong went wrong for me today,” Woods said. “Justone of those days.”

It ended with a wedge too strong that went down the bank and into the wateron the 18th, then having to wait for Mickelson to tap in for par and walk offthe green to affectionate applause.

In the last four times Woods has played in the final group dating to the PGAChampionship in August, he has won only once. And the last three times he andMickelson have played together in the final round, Lefty has come out on topevery time.

“I didn’t really envision shooting even par today,” Woods said. “The guystook it deep, and I didn’t.”

Mickelson finished at 17-under 271 and earned $1.2 million for his fourthvictory of the year, matching his career-best. And while the PGA Tour does notcount this World Golf Championship as official, it sure felt that way.

“It would be great if it would count, but it doesn’t take away from thefact that I beat 15 of the 20 best players in the world, and the gratifyingfeeling of having this trophy,” he said.

Mickelson became the fourth player to win multiple WGC events, and he joinedWoods as the only players to win two in one year. Mickelson also won the CAChampionship at Doral by one shot over Nick Watney , the other player in thefinal threesome Sunday. Watney, calm in the face of so many cameras and so muchmovement, birdied the last two holes for a 71 and finished fifth.

Els put together a stunning charge on a steamy afternoon, going out in 30 topull within one shot and taking the outright lead with a birdie on the par-514th. He was on the verge of a course record and his first victory in nearly 20months, leading by one with his tee shot smashed down the middle of the 18thfairway.

His was 218 yards away, his ball on a downslope. Els didn’t think 4-iron wasenough, and 3-iron might take him over the green and down the bank into thewater. The South African opted to hit a high cut with his 5-wood and “basicallyduffed it.”

It landed in the middle of the pond.

“But I can’t think about that,” said Els, who started the round sevenshots behind. “For me to come back all the way, to actually share the lead atthat point, was quite nice. I’m disappointed about that, but I’m going to reallythink about the 63 I shot.”

He had to settle for a share of the course record, matched earlier by RoryMcIlroy , who finished fourth, and Daisuke Maruyama . It was far more meaningfulto McIlroy, the 20-year-old from Northern Ireland who has finished among the topfive in six of his last seven tournaments to move to No. 2 in the Race to Dubaion the European Tour.

Ryan Moore , who only qualified for the HSBC Champions by winning his firstPGA Tour event in August, closed with a 68 to finish third, two shots behindMickelson. It should be enough to move him into the top 50 in the world.

“That’s my goal every tournament, even just going into the weekend, to justhave a chance to be in the mix of things,” Moore said. “And I did that thisweek.”

Mickelson has won the HSBC Champions twice in three years, while Woods hasyet to win. Even sweeter is playing with Woods, although Lefty didn’t realize itwas the first time he had won while playing with Woods in the last group.

“It always feels good to win any tournament, but certainly when you have achance to go head-to-head,” he said. “Although, I know he didn’t play his besttoday.”

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.