Singh trails Kim Villegas at Honda

By Associated PressMarch 6, 2010, 4:25 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The temperature climbed, the winds calmed, and PGA National unexpectedly lost a great deal of its bite.

Welcome to the kinder, gentler Honda Classic.

Anthony Kim was one of four players to match the best Honda round shot on the Champion course with a 64, Camilo Villegas shot 66 for the second straight day, and they were tied at 8-under 132 atop the leaderboard after the second round of the Honda, where the only thing that improved more than the weather on Friday was the scoring.

“Trust me, it’s a tough golf course,” Villegas said.

Maybe so, but since the Honda moved to the Jack Nicklaus redesign in 2007, there’s never been an easier day to get around.

Vijay Singh (66) was a stroke back at 7 under, Jerry Kelly (65) was alone in fourth at 6 under, and a fivesome of players – Mike Weir, Matt Every, Graeme McDowell, Chez Reavie and first-round co-leader Nathan Green – all will enter the weekend three shots off the lead.

“I think we got the favorable wind today,” Stephen Ames said.

Everybody did. Thursday was marked by wind gusts over 30 mph; Friday merely had occasionally strong breezes and little else.

It showed in the scoring.

Entering Friday, there had been 1,445 competitive Honda rounds played at PGA National, with just two rounds of 64: Luke Donald in 2008 and Greg Chalmers in 2009. On Friday alone, there were four – with Ames, Paul Casey, Weir and Kim all getting there.

“Probably only about half a club of wind, which was nice at times,” said Ames, who is 3 under entering the weekend. “A lot different than it was yesterday.”

It didn’t start that way. A record low for the date of 39 degrees was recorded Friday morning, and a brisk northwest wind made the air feel downright frosty when play started.

Then the scoring spree began. The nine players within three shots of the lead combined to shoot 37 under – including an even-par 70 by Green and McDowell getting penalized two strokes.

“It’s very, very tough,” Casey said. “Not necessarily enjoyable, but that’s what we require out here.”

Forecasters say wind gusts topping 20 mph are expected for Saturday.

Wind, no wind, Villegas is playing the course the same way anyway.

“There’s not too many birdies out there,” Villegas insisted. “And you have some really tough holes. You’ve just got to be careful.”

He made few mistakes; the most grievous might have been hitting his tee ball into the water on the par-3 15th, and Villegas minimized the damage by rolling in a 15-footer for bogey. He strung together four straight birdies later in the round, getting to 9 under at one point.

Afterward, he held a giant energy drink bottle, possibly for good reason. He flew from Phoenix to Miami to Bogota on Monday, had a nearly nonstop 36 hours of events built around the Nationwide Tour Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open – the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in his home country – before heading back to South Florida for the Honda.

“It’s been a long week but it’s been a good one,” Villegas said. “Having the first Nationwide Tour event in Colombia is awesome. It’s a dream come true for my country. It’s a dream come true for myself. It’s great for Latin American golf and hopefully it’s the beginning of some other countries hosting big events.”

Weir’s country just hosted a big event as well, and he’s still basking in the memory.

Weir took his family to the Vancouver Olympics, including Sunday’s gold-medal hockey game between the U.S. and his native Canada. He didn’t get to South Florida until late Tuesday night after a 10-day break from golf, shot a relatively unspectacular 71 on Thursday, and faced a 15-foot par putt on his opening hole Friday.

It rolled in, and Weir was on his way to a bogey-free round.

“Just a little chilly in the start and then it got better,” said Weir, who removed his jacket on his 12th hole. “My game was pretty good. I hit most of the fairways and you know, scrambled a little bit out there, but you’re going to do that on this golf course.”

Singh rolled in a 65-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th to get him to 7 under, his sixth birdie in an 11-hole stretch. Kim had some late-round dramatics as well, chipping in at the par-3 7th.

“It’s just a matter of time before I put four good ones together and start winning some golf tournaments again,” Kim said.

McDowell was a shot off the lead when he got to the 18th. He sent his tee shot way right, the ball coming to rest in a few inches of water. On his backswing, he caused the water to move a tiny bit, and wound up getting penalized two strokes after a lengthy post-round review.

“It’s a bit of a bittersweet end to the day,” McDowell said. “I’m glad it’s Friday. It could be Sunday and that would hurt a lot more. I’ve got all weekend to repair the damage.”

Notes: The cut was 3 over, which 74 players made. … Alexandre Rocha made the cut, despite shooting 76 after a first-round 66. … On a course with Nicklaus’ fingerprints all over it, Arnold Palmer’s grandson isn’t far off the lead. Sam Saunders shot his second straight 69, moving to 2 under.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.