Oosthuizen takes five-shot lead heading into weekend

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2010, 10:12 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen surged to a five-stroke lead in the morning, then watched from the comfort of his hotel as first-round leader Rory McIlroy and plenty of others stumbled in the blustery conditions.

The flags flapped wildly, caps blew down the fairways and there were 80s all over the scoreboard, including one by McIlroy’s name.

The 21-year-old hotshot from Northern Ireland went from the lowest score ever in a major championship to an 8-over 80. No other player has ever taken a bigger tumble after shooting 63 in one of golf’s biggest events. It left him with an 11-shot deficit heading to the weekend.

Despite sunny skies mixed with puffy white clouds, officials decided the Old Course was unplayable because the wind was gusting to 41 mph, causing balls to wobble on some of the exposed greens, especially those along St. Andrews Bay.

Second-round play was suspended 1 hour, 5 minutes at midafternoon, shortly after Phil Mickelson finished his round in brutally tough conditions and Tiger Woods had teed off.

The last 10 groups failed to finish, meaning 30 players – including England’s Steven Tiley, tied for third at 6 under – will have to come back at 6:30 a.m. local time Saturday to finish their rounds.

The last wind delay at the British Open was at Royal Birkdale in 1998, when gusts reached 40 mph, forcing a 38-minute stoppage during the second round. No one seemed more hurt by it than McIlroy, who had parred the first three holes. After the delay, he bogeyed No. 4 – and three of the next four holes, as well.

“It was just very, very difficult out there,” McIlroy said. “I just let it get away from me a little bit.”

During the break, players returned to their lounge near the first tee to wait for conditions to calm. Caddies sprawled on a grassy knoll, munching on sandwiches and bananas. Some fans claimed a patch of ground and caught a nap.

Oosthuizen (WUHST’-hy-zen), a 27-year-old from Mossel Bay whose given name is Lodewicus Theodorus, shot a 5-under 67 for a 12-under 132 at the midway point of the tournament. He was done before McIlroy teed off, hoping to put up another solid round after tying the major-championship record with a 63 on Thursday.

Not in these conditions.

Mark Calcavecchia, trying to strike another blow for the senior circuit, was closest to Oosthuizen among those in the clubhouse. The 50-year-old American shot a 67 that left him at 137, with Lee Westwood and Paul Casey another shot behind.

Woods held on in wind that was gusting more than 30 mph even after play resumed. He bogeyed the first two holes, but a fortunate break at the par-5 fifth helped him pick up his first birdie of the day.

His second shot was sailing right, toward the treacherous rough, but the ball struck a golf cart loaded with television equipment and stopped in the short grass. Woods was able to get up and down from there, leaving him 4 under for the tournament as he approached the midway point of his round.

Woods nearly finished with a flourish, driving the green – the ball skidding about a foot wide of the flag – on the par-4 18th hole. He missed the 20-footer for eagle but tapped in for birdie at a 73 that kept him in contention for the weekend, though eight strokes behind Oosthuizen.

“I’m not exactly where I want to be,” Woods said. “I’m not at 12-under par.”

Woods is trying to win his third straight Open at St. Andrews, having romped to victories in 2000 and 2005. Before he putted out, Tom Watson made what was likely his final walk over Swilcan Bridge. The 60-year-old who nearly won last year at Turnberry was likely to miss the cut after shooting 75, but he paused to kiss the famous stone walkway and posed atop it long enough for everyone to get a picture.

“When I first played here, I didn’t like it,” Watson said. “But I learned to like it and, eventually, to love it.”

The weather made it a typical British Open roller-coaster of a day. The early starters found blue skies when they arrived, but heavy rains rolled in shortly after the start of the round. The sun peeked through the clouds again, then more showers struck just before noon.

“I got up this morning and it wasn’t looking real pretty at 4:30,” said Calcavecchia, who played in the first group. “It was actually beautiful when we teed off. Then we saw a little bit of everything.”

Oosthuizen wasn’t worried about any of that, and he was already done when the wind started to blow around lunchtime.

“I’m very confident with the way I’m playing,” he said. “It’s probably the position anyone wants to be in playing a major on the weekend, and I think it’s what we work to achieve, and I’m just very happy with the two rounds I put together.”

There was nothing to indicate he might contend at golf’s oldest major championship. He missed the cut this year at the Masters and the U.S. Open, and did the same at last week’s Scottish Open.

This is only the second time he’ll make the cut in nine major appearances. The other time, at the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, he finished last among those playing on the weekend. But he did claim his first win on the European Tour this year, earning a spot at Augusta National.

With the wind at his back, Oosthuizen went with shorter clubs off the tee to keep the dreaded pot bunkers out of play. He got a bit wild on the back nine, starting out birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie before he settled down with a couple of pars and a 15-foot birdie at the final hole to leave him with a good feeling going to a weekend that will be like none he’s ever experienced before.

Oosthuizen strung together three birdies in a row beginning at the par-5 fifth, where a driver and a 4-iron left him with a chip that he left 5 feet from the flag. Maybe if he’s walking up the 18th fairway with the claret jug in his grasp come Sunday, someone will break out the vuvuzelas, those South African horns that made the World Cup sound as though it was under attack from swarming bees.

Until then, he said, leave them at home.

“On the golf course? No, not on the golf course,” Oosthuizen said.

Westwood gave no indication that he’s bothered by a ruptured muscle in his right calf. The world’s No. 3 player, generally recognized as the best player without a major title, followed an opening 67 with a solid 71.

Casey managed a 69 despite a triple-bogey at No. 17, the famed “Road Hole.” A drive into the thick rough left of the fairway led to big trouble; even aiming sideways, he needed two whacks to get out, then he came up short on the approach and two putted for a 7.

Calcavecchia? Nothing new about a senior holding lofty status at this event.

The American will try to finish what was started by 53-year-old Greg Norman (the 54-hole leader in 2008) and Watson (who had a potential winning putt on the 72nd hole last year at age 59). Both came up short of becoming the oldest major champion in golf history, a title that still belongs to Julius Boros, who was 48 when he captured the 1968 PGA.

“You see a guy like Tom Watson last year, almost winning when he was almost 60, and you realize that it doesn’t really matter how old you are,” said Calcavecchia, relishing his best round ever at St. Andrews. “The old guys can hang with the young guys.”

Mickelson, who made only one birdie in his opening round of 73, went out with hopes of getting back into the mix – or at least to avoid going home. He didn’t make much of a charge, finishing with a 71, but that was likely to be good enough to at least get him to the weekend.

“It’s very difficult,” Lefty said. “Every hole is a tough par in these conditions.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the opening round was 1995 Open winner John Daly, who pulled off a stunning 66 while wearing the flashiest outfit on the course: lavender paisley pants, pink shirt, sky blue sweater and turquoise cap.

Daly didn’t tone it down Friday, donning pink paisley pants, a lime green cap and a neon shirt as he got in six holes before play was halted. But he, too, was bedeviled by the wind and tumbled to a 76.

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.

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.