Smyth knocks out NCAA champ at U.S. Amateur

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2017, 2:58 am

LOS ANGELES – Australia's Travis Smyth knocked off No. 3-ranked Braden Thornberry in the morning and advanced to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals in the afternoon with a 2-and-1 victory over No. 12 Will Zalatoris on Thursday.

Smyth is on an impressive run at Riviera Country Club with a chance to follow the path set by Curtis Luck. Smyth's good friend and fellow long-haired Australian won the Amateur last year at Oakland Hills.

Smyth excelled in a 3-and-2 victory over NCAA champion Thornberry, who beat world No. 1 Joaquin Niemann on Wednesday. Smyth finished off Zalatoris with a birdie on the 17th aided by a remarkable chip from the bunker.

Smyth is a former rugby player who only picked up golf at 12 years old while recovering from an injury.

He handled the grind of a two-round day with steady effort and an afternoon mental reset on the 13th, where he saved par after his 4-up lead had dwindled to 2-up.

''This format, it's very tough,'' Smyth said. ''You want to get yourself into match play and then just play as best you can. ... I just concentrate on my next shot. The more I think about how good these guys are - and they're all good - I think that's taking me away from what I need to do.''

Chicago-area player Doug Ghim also advanced to the quarterfinals while wearing a Cubs cap, beating Californians in back-to-back matches. Ghim, the Big 12 Player of the Year at the University of Texas, followed up a 19-hole victory over Pepperdine junior Sahith Theegala with a 3-and-2 win over El Cajon's Joey Vrzich in the afternoon.

After the world's top two ranked players lost on Wednesday, several more big names fell on the draining Thursday. Only two of the top eight seeds are among the final eight players left in the championship.

Medalist Hayden Wood also lost in the Round of 32, falling 4 and 3 to Norway's Kristoffer Ventura - his teammate at Oklahoma State.

But Scotland's Connor Syme eliminated Ventura in dramatic fashion in the afternoon, holing a 75-foot chip from the fringe on the 18th hole to win 1 up.

''That's just the coolest way to finish out a match,'' Syme said. ''It was awesome.''

Ventura had repeatedly rallied to catch up during their tense round, but Syme continued his strong run after knocking off No. 2-ranked Maverick McNealy on Wednesday in the Round of 64.

''I'm just really enjoying myself this week,'' Syme said. ''It's a special place, Riviera. It's an absolutely awesome golf course.''

Fourth-seeded Theo Humphrey is the highest-rated remaining competitor after wins over Kyle Mueller and Noah Norton. Humphrey, a Vanderbilt player from Connecticut, is adjusting solidly to the challenges of unfamiliar West Coast grass.

''The rough is what's completely different,'' Humphrey said. ''I've never seen anything like it before. It's weird. It looks like it's always sitting up and it's going to be easy. Somehow it finds a way to be pretty challenging.''

No Californians are left in the field after four afternoon defeats. Taiwan's Chun An Yu beat Los Angeles-area player Collin Morikawa 2 up, and USC freshman-to-be Cheng Jin of China lost 2 and 1 to Dawson Armstrong.

Play continues through Sunday at Riviera.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.