Stroud leads PR Open; DeChambeau, Beef in mix

By Associated PressMarch 25, 2017, 11:40 pm

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico - Chris Stroud has gone 276 tournaments over the better part of a decade trying to win on the PGA Tour. A birdie on the final hole Saturday in the Puerto Rico Open gave him his first 54-hole lead, and he hopes his experience will keep him calm.

Looking over his shoulder could make that very difficult.

Stroud kept a clean card at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club for a 5-under 67, giving him a one-shot lead over Bill Lunde and D.A. Points. What makes the final round more challenging is 10 players were within three shots.

''I feel like at this point in my career - it's my 11th year on tour - I've got experience on my side,'' Stroud said. ''I was very calm today. Nothing really freaks me out. Middle of the round, I got a little loose, but I'm going to draw from that. I feel like I'm way overdue.''

Stroud was at 15-under 201.

Points is a two-time PGA Tour winner, most recently in 2013 at the Houston Open. Lunde won the Turning Stone Resort Championship in 2010, and only got into the Puerto Rico Open as a past champion. This is his first event in five months, so winning could not come at a better time.

The Puerto Rico Open is opposite a World Golf Championship, so it does not include an automatic invitation to the Masters. But it offers a two-year exemption, and that would mean everything to Stroud and to Lunde, who do not have full status. Stroud is a conditional member from finishing out of the top 125 last year.

''That would be the biggest change, versus kind of waiting around to play my five, six events a year,'' Lunde said. ''It would give me somewhere to play all the time. That would be the greatest thing that would come with a win tomorrow.''

Wesley Bryan, who needed a victory for any hope of moving into the top 50 and getting into the Masters, shot 73 to fall out of contention. That no longer is an issue, anyway, because with Hideto Tanihara (semifinals) and Ross Fisher (quarterfinals) advancing in the Match Play, Bryan could not crack the top 50.

Stroud simply wants a victory. He twice shared the 54-hole lead. The closest he came to winning was losing in a playoff to Ken Duke in 2013 at the Travelers Championship.

Andrew ''Beef'' Johnston of England shot a 66 and was two shots behind. Also two shots back was the local favorite, San Juan native Rafael Campos, who shot a 69 and was warmed by the loud ovation as he approached the 18th green. Campos has as much pride in his local event as anyone on the PGA Tour.

''I don't really mind me playing good or bad, I just want to make golf visible here,'' he said. ''And seeing that many people following me and all that, I think to myself, 'OK, I'm pretty sure after the week at least two or three guys will want to start picking up golf here.' That's my main goal right now, try to promote the game. Yeah, obviously it's great when I'm playing good.''

Former U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau also was two shots behind after a 70, while former Puerto Rico Open champion Scott Brown and Peter Uihlein, a former U.S. Amateur champion who plays the European Tour, were three shots back.

Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, shot 67 and was five behind.

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.