Shin leads Ko, Lang through 36 at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 26, 2016, 3:02 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Jenny Shin took the lead Friday in the LPGA Tour's Kia Classic, a stroke ahead of top-ranked Lydia Ko and Brittany Lang.

Shin birdied five of her first eight holes and had a 7-under 65 to reach 10-under 134 at Aviara in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week in Rancho Mirage.

''It was a really good round,'' Shin said. ''I hit great shots. I hit great putts. I had a lot of 6-footers for birdie, so it was a good day. ... I think I did a good job placing my ball in the right position and getting the right clubs.''

The 23-year-old South Korean player is winless in her LPGA career.

''I certainly see myself improving every year,'' Shin said. ''I feel like in every aspect of the game I'm improving just a little bit.''

Ko shot a 67, and Lang had a 68.

''I didn't strike the ball as well as I did yesterday, especially on my back nine. I had to make up-and-down from a few places,'' Ko said. ''The rough is rough, so when you get in there, it's tough to get close to the pin or even on the green sometimes. Sometimes I got fortunate, but other times I was able to scramble and I think that's the most important thing around here.''

The 18-year-old Ko was second Sunday in Phoenix in the Founders Cup.

''I can't believe our first major is already around the corner next week,'' Ko said. ''This is a great swing of events, the Founders Cup, Kia Classic and, obviously, the ANA Inspiration. It's a fun few weeks. I've just got to enjoy it. I haven't played as best as I think I could have at ANA, and I think my personal goal is to try and have my personal-best finish.''

Lang is coming off a ninth-place tie in Phoenix.

''It feels really good, especially to have a bogey-free round out there in the afternoon,'' Lang said. ''Again, super sharp. I was swinging really good at it and made some nice putts coming in. Stayed aggressive. Feels really good to be in contention again.''

Second-ranked Inbee Park and fellow South Korean player Hyo Joo Kim were 8 under. Park had a 69, and Kim shot a 66. Jessica Korda (67) and Sung Hyun Park (66) were 7 under.

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson (68), No. 4 Stacy Lewis (71), No. 6 Ha Na Jang (72) and No. 8 Brooke Henderson (70) were nine strokes back at 1 under. Jang won this year in Florida and Singapore, and Thompson won in Thailand. Lewis has a 44-event victory drought that dates to June 2014.

Phoenix winner Sei Young Kim followed her opening 72 with a 74 to make the cut by a stroke at 2 over. Last week, the fifth-ranked South Korean player matched Annika Sorenstam's LPGA scoring record of 27 under, closing with a 10-under 62 for a five-stroke victory.

Michelle Wie also was 2 over after rounds of 70 and 76.

Defending champion Cristie Kerr missed the cut with rounds of 73 and 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.