Montgomerie leads U.S. Senior Open Round 1

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2014, 2:55 am

EDMOND, Okla. - Colin Montgomerie declared Bernhard Langer the favorite heading into the U.S. Senior Open.

After 18 holes, Montgomerie may well have seized that position himself with a 6-under 65 to lead at the end of Thursday at Oak Tree National.

The Scotsman started on No. 10 and birdied Nos. 14, 15 and 16 on the way to a 33 on the back nine. He birdied six, seven and eight to finish strong in oppressive heat and humidity.

''That was the key to the round, the three birdies in a row on the front nine, my back nine,'' Montgomerie said. ''To birdie six, seven, eight was good. That got me to the position I am now.''

Marco Dawson was second after a 66, and Mark Brooks was third after shooting 68. Langer was one of five golfers tied for fourth with a 69.

Dawson, in his first Senior Open, started on the back nine and shot 2 under, then was steady on the front nine before scoring birdies on seven, eight and nine. The 50-year-old said it was one of the two best rounds he's played in his six Champions Tour events. He was pleased with the performance, especially considering the course's challenging reputation.

''It just seemed to happen, you know, birdie, birdie, birdie the last three holes, so I ended up 5 under,'' he said. ''I could have shot 2 under and still would have been a good round.''

Brooks birdied the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes to go 4 under on his first five holes. He shot 3 under on the back nine and even on the front nine.

''I've been playing here since high school,'' he said. ''I'm comfortable here. My mother and father both are Oklahomans, so I got a lot of Oklahoma blood in me.''

Langer, who entered the Senior Open having already won three events this year, was in a five-way tie for fourth along with Vijay Singh, Kirk Triplett, Scott Dunlap and Gene Sauers.

''They say you don't win a tournament on the first day,'' Langer said. ''You can certainly lose it with a bad round, so, you know, I'm somewhere in the top 10 or top 20 after today, which is a good spot to be. Still have three rounds to go.''

Kenny Perry, last year's Senior Open winner, shot a 75.

Mother Nature was a factor for various reasons.

Play was delayed for 77 minutes at the start because of the threat of lightning, and play was suspended because of darkness at 8:54 p.m. CDT, with three players still on the course.

Wilting 90-plus degree heat with humidity hit in the afternoon. Darrell Kestner completed 14 holes Thursday before withdrawing and being treated for a heat-related issue.

Peter Jacobsen, who withdrew from last year's Senior Open in Omaha after nine holes because of dehydration, made it through the opening day in Edmond. He shot a 1-under 70, then held a sports drink as he answered questions.

''I learned a really good lesson,'' he said. ''My doctor told me, 'Don't ever get dehydrated because it's very debilitating on your body.' I walk around with water and Gatorade and lot of liquid, especially here when we know it's going to be humid and hot.''

Heavy rains Wednesday softened the course, but the heat Thursday made it hard later in the day. Changing winds added another degree of difficulty to an already long, tough course.

''It is kind of difficult to judge the wind out here,'' Montgomerie said. ''You're always going to get breeze out here in Oklahoma. That's part of the test out here.''

Weather is expected to remain a factor through the rest of the tournament, with temperatures expected to soar. Montgomerie said it will amount to a physical examination.

''It's going to be grueling over the next three days,'' he said. ''Concentration levels will be difficult to maintain for everybody out there, not just myself. I look forward to the challenge of trying to compete against the rest of the field, the golf course, which is superb, and also the weather conditions, which are very foreign to myself and most competitors, to be honest. We don't usually play in 100 degrees. It's going to be interesting over the next three days.''

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

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.