Notes: Westwood and Watney play golf, talk football

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2012, 4:23 am

MARANA, Ariz. – Hunter Mahan is making it look easy on Dove Mountain’s undulating greens in the Match Play Championship.

Counting conceded putts, Mahan made nine birdies in 15 holes for the second straight day. He beat Steve Stricker, 4 and 3, on Friday in the third round after topping Y.E. Yang 5 and 3 on Thursday.

“Distance control is everything,” Mahan said. “Making sure you’re landing in the right spot and getting the right bounce. We’ve done a very good job of that and been very clear. That’s enabled me to make these solid, aggressive swings. If you get it in the right place, you’re going to have good looking putts and birdies.”

He’s using a new putter after struggling on the greens last week at Riviera in a 24th-place tie in the Northern Trust Open.

“Last week, I had no sense of the greens and missed everything,” Mahan said. “But for some reason this week, I feel confident. I feel confident whenever I get on the green I’m going to make it. It’s a good feeling to have right now.”

He’s using a formula that carried Geoff Ogilvy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donaldto victories the last three years on the Jack Nicklaus-designed desert layout.

“It’s an interesting course because it seems like bombers would eat it up,” Mahan said. “But it hasn’t been the case. So it’s been kind of surprising in a way. It seems like good shot-makers and good putters have won here.”

Mahan will play Matt Kuchar in an all-American quarterfinal.


SOCCER TALK: Lee Westwood finally found a way to beat Nick Watney – and also discovered the American has a passion for British soccer.

“We talked about football going around out there,” Westwood said after beating Watney, 3 and 2, in the third round to exact some revenge for Watney’s second-round victories over the English star the last two years.

“It’s called football, not soccer, and he knows a lot about it. He’s a Spurs fan, so that may mean he doesn’t know a lot about it. He didn’t know Nottingham Forest well, which means he really doesn’t know a lot about football or what league they’re in.

“So, we had a chat going around out there, and I filled him in on the England manager’s job, and how his manager might be a favorite for it, and his team might be trying to keep hold of him. I like playing with Nick. He’s a good lad.”

Westwood will play Martin Laird in the quarterfinals. Laird advanced with a 3-and-1 victory over fellow Scot Paul Lawrie.


KOREAN OPEN REMATCH: Rory McIlroy got a good look at quarterfinal opponent Bae Sang-moon three years ago in the final round of the Korean Open.

Bae won the event at Woo Jeong Country Club, closing with a 4-under 67 to beat fellow South Korean player Kim Dae-sub by a stroke. McIlroy had a 72 to tie for third.

“I was really impressed with him,” McIlroy said. “He’s a very good ball-striker and he played very well then. That’s the only time I’ve played with him.

“He’s been very impressive this week taking down (Ian) Poulter and Charl (Schwartzel), two of the best players. Especially, Poult is one of the best match players, and Charl, obviously, a major champion. So, he’s had a great week so far.”

McIlroy beat Miguel Angel Jimenez, 3 and 1, and Bae edged John Senden 1 up in the only third-round match to reach the 18th hole.


FULL 18: Matt Kuchar finished off Martin Kaymer, 4 and 3, on the 15th hole, then declined a ride to the clubhouse and played the final three holes by himself.

“I was working on a few things that I thought could be tightened up a little bit,” Kuchar said. “All in all, I feel like my game is in good form. I just wanted to play a few extra holes to familiarize myself with them.”

He will face Hunter Mahan in the quarterfinals.

“There’s not going to be any weak opponents here in this field of 64,” Kuchar said. “Hunter has been playing better and better. I know he’s going to be tough.”


DIVOTS: Bae joined K.J. Choi (2008) and Y.E. Yang (2011) as the only South Korean players to reach the quarterfinals. Choi and Yang failed to reach the semifinals. … The third-round losers received $140,000. The quarterfinal losers will get $270,000. The champion will receive $1.4 million, second-place is worth $850,000, third $600,000, and fourth $490,000.

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.

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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.