Roberts Holds Early Advantage in NY

By Associated PressJune 27, 2008, 4:00 pm
Champions TourEAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Loren Roberts made a 45-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to cap a 6-under 65 that gave him a one-stroke lead over two golfers with a special relationship after Fridays opening round of the Commerce Bank Championship.
 
It was the second straight year Roberts, who is fourth on the Champions Tour money list, held the first-round lead of the 54-hole event played on the Red Course at Eisenhower Park.
 
And befitting a summer Friday on Long Island, there was quite a traffic jam behind him on the leaderboard.
 
Gene Jones and Greg Hickman, who has caddied for Jones on the Champions Tour, had 66s to share second place in the $1.6 million tournament.
 
Defending champion Lonnie Nielsen was among five players at 67, while former PGA TOUR stars Ben Crenshaw and Nick Price were in a group of nine, another stroke back. Twelve players finished at 69.
 
Roberts, the defending Charles Schwab Cup champion, birdied Nos. 15 and 17 with putts that totaled 5 feet, well off the distance that ended his round.
 
I hit a 6-iron from 183 yards and then made a bomb on 18, said Roberts, whose next longest birdie putt was from 10 feet, on the par-3 5th. I turned a so-so round into a very good round with that finish.
 
Last year, Roberts lead after the opening round was one stroke over Eduardo Romero, who had a 67 on Friday, and two over Nielsen, who went on to his first victory on either the regular of senior tour.
 
When told of the similar start from last years tournament, Nielsen smiled broadly.
 
I hope it is, he said. I played some good golf today and obviously Loren had a beautiful day. I left a couple out there but I feel like Im in for a good week.
 
Hickman, who competed in 58 events in a brief PGA Tour career in the early 1990s and has been a caddie for several players on the Champions Tour, birdied his 16th and 17th holes of the day to get within a stroke of the lead. This was his third Champions Tour start this season with a tie for 56th at the Cap Cana Championship in April and a missed cut at the Senior PGA Championship in May. He qualified for this event this week.
 
I was a caddie off and on for 10 years and as a caddie youre always thinking golf, he said. Then (the tour players) talked me into coming out. I hadnt played in 12 days before coming here.
 
Jones, who has three top-10 finishes this season including one in the Senior PGA Championship, said Hickman had agreed to caddy for him this week if he didnt make the field.
 
I was coming down 18 and saw Greg was one off the lead and one in front of me, Jones said. I said to my caddie, `Wouldnt it be great to birdie the last hole and play in the final group with my caddie. I hit an 8-iron to about 10 feet and made it and well be playing with Loren.
 
Joining Nielsen and Romero at 67 were Mark McNulty, Keith Fergus and Brad Bryant.
 
None of the top seven scorers in the first round, including Roberts, has won a tournament this year.
 
Im trying to win. Ive been second three times and just havent been able to get there, said Roberts, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and seven-time champion since joining this tour in 2005. Last week I played good and Jeff Sluman played awesome and he won the tournament. The whole idea is to get the win.
 
Today I had good patience and I havent had that at times this year but Ive been working on that the last few weeks.
 
Divots
 
Bruce Fleisher and Jim Thorpe, both two-time winners of this event, both opened with a 70 as did Sluman, who won for the first time on this tour last week at the Bank of America Championship. Peter Jacobsen returned to competition for the first time since undergoing knee replacement surgery in March. He had a 77, tied for 75th place in the 78-player field. Hey, I broke 80, he laughed. The winners purse is $240,000. Fifty-four players were at par or below with the field averaging 70.75 on the county-owned public course.
 
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  • 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.