Ochoa Holds Off Gulbis To Win Million

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- On the verge of an unlikely collapse, Lorena Ochoa came through with a $1 million shot.
 
Wrapping up a sensational season, Ochoa overcame a double bogey on the 17th hole with a daring shot out of the rough and over the water to 3 feet for birdie Sunday to win the ADT Championship and claim the $1 million prize, the richest in women's golf.
 
She didn't expect so many nerves so late in a final round at Trump International that had been devoid of drama.
 
Ochoa was four shots clear with two holes to play until a three-putt double bogey on the par-3 17th, where earlier this week she had made a quadruple bogey. Natalie Gulbis made birdie to cut the lead to one shot, and Gulbis followed with a hybrid into 15 feet on the 18th.
 
The 26-year-old Mexican star never flinched.
 
Her shot hit the front part of the green and didn't stop rolling until it was 30 inches away. Gulbis missed her putt, and Ochoa calmly rapped in her birdie for a 4-under 68 and a two-shot victory.
 
'The best shot of my career,' Ochoa said. 'Five years, that was the best one. All of you saw that.'
 
And that she laughed, looking up at a gallery that indeed saw a spectacular finish by the game's best player.
 
Despite the close call she could have done without, and a quirky format that reset the scores after the second and third rounds, there was no disputing the new queen on the LPGA Tour. That would be 'la reina' in Spanish, pronounced very similar to Lorena.
 
It was her eighth victory of the year, joining Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez as the only players to have done that in the last 20 years. And the big payoff pushed her earnings to over $4 million.
 
Gulbis, who again showed she is much more than just a glamour girl, gave all she had by giving herself birdie chances on the last six holes, but she only converted two of them. She wound up with a 70, earning $100,000.
 
None of the other eight players who advanced to the final round broke par.
 
Paula Creamer was the only other player under par much of the balmy day until hitting her tee shot into the water on the 18th and escaping with a bogey to finish with a 70. She got $20,000.
 
Everyone else cleared the stage much earlier, certainly after taking on the diabolical seventh hole, par 3 to a peninsula green. The first five players found the water, with Karrie Webb going in twice for a quadruple bogey. Webb shot 84.
 
Christina Kim kept talking about a dream she had this week, unwilling to share it until Sunday. Chances are, the dream wasn't to shoot 81 in the final round, but that's what she had.
 
It was a nerve-racking Sunday, with what looked like $1 million cash stuffed into a glass case on the first tee and a Trump International course that played as difficult as it had all week.
 
Ochoa made it look easy, and for most of the final round, it looked like a runaway.
 
She ran off birdies on the second and third hole, hit a risky flop shot toward the lake on No. 4 and made the 12-foot par putt, followed with two more birdies and another fearless approach on the par-5 ninth set up her fifth birdie to make the turn in 31. The average score on the front nine for everyone else was 38.7.
 
Ochoa had a five-shot lead and showed no signs of letting up.
 
The first hint of any drama came on the 16th, when Ochoa hit into a bunker and faced 131 yards over the water to a difficult green. Gulbis already was 15 feet from the flag, and Ochoa hit 7-iron to about a foot inside her.
 
'It's never easy,' her caddie said after raking the bunker.
 
One hole later, Ochoa proved him correct. Her tee shot went over the back of the green, the rough keeping it from going into the stream. Her 20-footer for par ran 6 feet by the hole, and Ochoa missed that for double bogey.
 
It ended her streak of 48 consecutive holes at par or better, but of more concern was a one-shot lead.
 
With Gulbis in birdie range, the scene was set for a stunning comeback -- or collapse -- with Ochoa facing a lie in the rough that could have gone anywhere. But it was right where she aimed, a career shot that paid off in a million ways.
 
Ochoa finished the year with $4,364,994, having already shattered the LPGA earnings record set by Sorenstam five years ago ($2,863,904).
 
Ochoa said she would donate most of the money to her foundation and building schools in Mexico.
 
But first?
 
'A big celebration,' she said.
 
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    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.

    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.