Stephen Ames wins in playoff at Disney

By Associated PressNovember 15, 2009, 11:36 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP)—Stephen Ames was munching on sliders and drinkinga few beers at his coach’s house Saturday night when he realized that he neededall the help he could get to make his final round of the year a special one.

So at the place where the entrance gates declare “Where Dreams Come True,”Ames figured he should give it a shot.

“I wished for 64,” Ames said, “and I got that 64.”

Ames won his second title in three years at the Children’s Miracle NetworkClassic on Sunday, edging George McNeill and Justin Leonard in a playoff tobecome the oldest winner in the tournament’s history.

The 45-year-old Ames was calm and cool on greens that were too slick formost of the field on a sun-baked day at Disney World. The Canadian finished withan 8-under 64 for the clubhouse lead, watching as McNeill (67) and Leonard (67)failed to pass him.

It was the first win of the year and fourth career victory for Ames,including The Players Championship in 2006. This time, he had a few extra peoplein the gallery.

Among those who followed him on the back nine was his 10-year-old son, Ryan,who provided a little extra motivation walking up to the 18th tee needing abirdie.

“He said, ‘Dad, you need to hole this,”’ Ames recalled. “I said, ‘Allright, I’ll try my best.’ It was a very casual round. It’s Mickey Mouse, comeon.”

Ames got some help.

Leonard rimmed out a 16-foot putt for the win in regulation, even beginningto pump his fist in celebration only to watch the ball spin away. He twice leftputts short when he was eliminated on the first playoff hole—also the 18th.

“To be this close and not be able to pull it out is disappointing,”Leonard said. “Obviously, I thought I made it by my reaction. I was surprisedit didn’t go in.”

Ames also caught another break.

After McNeill saved par on the first playoff hole despite landing his teeshot between the trees, he had a 6-foot putt on the 15th to force a thirdplayoff hole. McNeill struck the ball right on the line, but it trickled aroundthe edge and popped off to give Ames the win and the $828,000 first-place prize.

“It made a full 360,” McNeill said. “It went down in the hole, and thenit spit back out.”

There were other rallies that didn’t end up on the leaderboard.

Sunday was the last day for players to secure a tour card for next year.Only those who finished the year in the top 125 on the money list are guaranteedfull status. The next 25 will at least get conditional status and be able toenter more than a dozen tournaments.

For as much back and forth as there was throughout the week, in the end,there wasn’t a lot of movement.

Former world No. 1 David Duval already had lost his full status by missingthe cut. Robert Garrigus also missed the cut and was knocked out of full statusfor next year.

Jimmy Walker and Nicholas Thompson were the only two players to move insidethe top 125 after beginning the week outside. Walker finished at No. 125.

“It’s tough. You can’t do anything,” Walker said. “You just have to sitback and relax. Not relax, you can’t relax. But I did all I could do.”

There were plenty others who cut it close.

Rich Beem shot a 68 to finish at 10 under for the tournament. The 2002 PGAChampionship winner finished at No. 122 for the season.

He admitted the pressure to perform this weekend got to him in the first tworounds. He talked to his coach Friday night and said that helped him find hisswing.

“I must say it was about as odd as I’ve ever felt thinking about it. Inever expected myself to feel the way that I did,” Beem said. “When somebodytells you that you can’t do your job next year when you know you’re so close,that’s not such a good feeling.”

After turning in his scorecard, Beem stood behind the 18th green watching amonitor with the projected money list. His name flip-flopped twice, and he hadto walk away. He later walked into the media center to check theminute-by-minute standings.

“I’m sweating,” he said. “But things look good.”

Ames is going to have to rework his schedule now, too.

He wasn’t planning to try to play at the next year’s first event in Maui.That just happens to be the place the Ames family vacations every winter, andthey were planning to leave a few days before the tournament.

Looks like they’ll need a new itinerary.

“I always tell Gary Player golf always gets in the way,” Ames said. “Idon’t want to play golf. I want to sit on the beach and relax.”

Now he’ll get to do both.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
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.