Notes A Long Day for Many at Match Play

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayCARLSBAD, Calif. -- It was a tight match from the start, neither player leading by more than one hole, until Scott Verplank birdied the par-3 16th to go 2 up against Lee Westwood and figured the match would soon be over.
Not on Wednesday in a wacky start to the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Verplank missed the 17th green and made bogey, then watched Westwood hole a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th to send the match into extra holes. Verplank had twice gone overtime before, and both times lost.
This was far tougher.
He had to make an 8-footer for par on the second extra hole to stay in the match, and a 6-footer for par on the fourth hole. Westwood made a 10-footer for par on the fifth hole, and on they went until the Englishman got into trouble in the trees on the par-5 eighth and made bogey.
'I was happy when he gave me that little 8-incher,' Verplank said. 'He said, 'That's good.' And I went, 'Thank God.''
It was one of seven matches that went extra holes, breaking by one the record set in the first round of 2004. If that wasn't enough, six matches were not decided until the 18th hole.
And then there was Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman.
He closed out Stuart Appleby, 3 and 2, with a 10-foot birdie, then walked briskly to the 17th tee as Appleby began the long walk toward the clubhouse.
'Is it OK to play the last two holes?' Lehman said. 'I haven't seen them yet.'
Colin Montgomerie also got his fill of La Costa Resort, blowing a 4-up lead through eighth and having to go 23 holes. It wasn't his best golf, as he made only one birdie -- on the par-5 third in overtime -- and that was to stay in the match.
Some players will remember the bumpy greens and soggy fairways at La Costa.
Bernhard Langer will never forget the fire.
La Costa used to host the winners-only Mercedes Championships before it moved to Kapalua, and Langer recalled playing in a pro-am in 1986 as they walked down what now is the fourth fairway.
'One of my amateur partners goes, 'Oh, there's smoke up there,'' Langer said. 'And we're looking up on the hill, and there's these beautiful homes on top of the hill. And he said, 'Heck, that's my house on fire.''
Langer said the man took off running up the hill.
'It was pretty sad for him,' he said. That's what stands out for me.'
Someone asked Langer if his amateur partner at least finished out the hole.
'No, he ran up the hill as fast as anyone could run,' he said. 'He was gone, never to be seen again -- certainly not for the pro-am.'
Adam Scott is among those who will be sorry to leave La Costa.
Even though the 25-year-old Australian has not won the Match Play Championship, he reached the semifinals in 2003 and the quarterfinals last year, both times losing to the eventual champion.
His record at La Costa is now 12-4.
Getting to the second round Wednesday, however, required some work. Scott dropped the first two holes, then surged ahead to for a 1-up lead going into the par-5 11th. He hooked his tee shot into a bunker, laid up into the rough and barely reached the green, 45 feet away.
Lucas Glover was in front of the green in two and pitched to about 10 feet.
Scott made his putt, and Glover missed. But just when the Aussie thought it was over, he made consecutive bogeys from the fairway to go all square, then recovered with a 25-foot birdie on the 16th for a 2-and-1 victory.
'I've got to lift my game for anyone else,' Scott said. 'Two up with five to play, you've got to bury the guy.'
Nothing personal. Both sponsored by Titleist, Scott and Glover made dinner plans for later in the year after they shook hands.
All it takes is one shot to change momentum in match play, and Davis Love III was reminded of that Wednesday against Mark Hensby.
He was 3 up through five holes, and with the tee moved forward 50 yards on No. 6 to play 328 yards, he launched a driver over the trees, over the creek and to within two paces of the green. Hensby had no choice but to follow, but his tee shot landed in deep rough.
Hensby hacked out to 5 feet, Love gunned his chip 6 feet by. Love missed, Hensby made.
Instead of going 4 up, Love was only 2 up and the bleeding started. He stubbed a chip on the next hole and lost, found the rough off the tee on the par-5 eighth and Hensby won with a simple pitch for birdie, and the match was all square.
It all turned on the ninth. Love hit a beautiful approach to 15 feet below the hole, while Hensby came up short of the green and chipped 10 feet by. Love had the hole won easily, but hammered his putt 5 feet by. Hensby could have won the hole, but his par putt just missed, and Love made his par to go 1 up.
Love never lost another hole and won, 2 and 1.
The United States had only 25 players in the 64-man field, its lowest ever. Thirteen Americans are left going into the second round. Europe started with 17 players and is down to nine. ... Stephen Ames has played the Match Play Championship twice, but has played only 22 holes. He played 12 holes against Mark Hensby last year, and 10 against Tiger Woods. ... The featured match Thursday will be Phil Mickelson against John Daly.
Related Links:
  • Scoreboard - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Match Play Brackets
  • 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.

    Getty Images

    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 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.

    Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.