Sluman rallies to become only three-time winner at First Tee Open

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2011, 2:26 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Jeff Sluman dropped four strokes behind Jay Haas early in the final round of the First Tee Open and figured he was playing for second place at best.

Instead, the man Ben Crenshaw calls the King of Pebble Beach worked his way to the top of the leaderboard then held on while the rest of the field dropped off one by one.

Sluman shot a 2-under 70 and overcame a pair of bogeys on the back nine Sunday to win this tournament for the third time in four years.

“I’ve been very comfortable on this golf course for the last 20 years,” Sluman said. “It’s hard to explain. It doesn’t mean you’re going to play well but I’ve had success here and I think that’s because I am comfortable.”

On a day when most of the leaders struggled just to break even, Sluman had five bogeys and closed with three straight pars to finish at 10-under 206 and seal his first victory since winning here in 2009. He also took the title at Pebble Beach in 2008, making Sluman the only three-time winner of this event.

Sluman is also the first player on the Champions Tour to win the same event three times since Jim Thorpe won the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in 2003, ’06 and ’07.

Afterward as he stood outside of the scorer’s trailer waiting for the rest of the field to finish, Sluman paused to talk with Crenshaw.

“The king of Pebble Beach,” Crenshaw said with a grin before repeating himself.

Sluman wouldn’t go that far but clearly his history on this plush, picturesque course along the Monterey Peninsula made a difference.

Five different players had at least a share of the top spot on the final day, including second-round leader Jay Haas.

But Haas, like the rest of the pack, faltered at key moments and gave way to Sluman. A day after carding a 65 at Pebble Beach, the 57-year-old Haas had three birdies, four bogeys and one double-bogey to close with a 75.

“I don’t feel like I played 10 shots worse,” Haas said. “It seemed like every decent putt I got at, it was either downhill or had a 3- or 4-foot break to it, and I just never seemed to have a putt that I could run at. It was a very difficult day.”

Haas joined David Eger (72) and Brad Bryant (73) at 208, while local favorite Bobby Clampett (74) ended in a five-way tie for fifth.

Defending champion Ted Schulz shot 75 and was tied for 27th at 215.

Haas opened his round with consecutive birdies to get to 12 under. Sluman, playing two groups ahead of Haas, birdied No. 3 but pulled a bogey on the par-3 fifth to fall back to 8 under.

“I kind of forgot about the tournament at that point,” Sluman said.

Instead of going in the tank, Sluman hung on. He birdied two of the next four holes, survived a bogey on No. 10 then birdied Nos. 13 and 14.

Haas and Clampett were one stroke back at the time but both had double bogeys on the par-5 No. 14 and fell out of the chase while Sluman claimed his fourth Champions Tour title.

“I’ve played it under those conditions before and there’s not much you can do,” Sluman said. “You just have to have a game plan and really try to stick to it. Pebble always finds a way to come back and get you throughout the course of a week and you just really have to stay patient.”

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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.