Sullivan grabs lead as big names slide in Abu Dhabi

By Associated PressJanuary 22, 2016, 3:29 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and other big names slid off the leaderboard at the weather-affected Abu Dhabi Championship on Friday, leaving American amateur Bryson DeChambeau to chase clubhouse leader Andy Sullivan in the second round.

After fog delayed the start of play by nearly three hours, Sullivan shot a second straight 5-under 67 to move clear on 10-under and make another strong impression in front of his playing partner, European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke.

Spieth and McIlroy were in the marquee afternoon group, but both played erratically and were 1 over after 13 holes when play was suspended for the day because of darkness. Spieth was at 3 under and McIlroy at 5 under, with both struggling off the tee.

DeChambeau, the surprise first-round leader following a 64, was a shot behind Sullivan after playing nine holes in 1 under. Starting on No. 10, he made birdies on two of his first three holes but bogeyed No. 18 in the fading light.

Joost Luiten (68) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (67) were in the clubhouse on 7-under 137, with the leaderboard shorn of the tournament's leading players. Henrik Stenson dropped three shots in 12 holes before play was suspended to fall to 4-under overall, and Branden Grace was on the same score after shooting 74.

The European Tour said the third round will be a two-tee start, in three balls, to make up for the lost time Friday.


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Sullivan, one of the stars of the European Tour in 2015 with three victories, won three points from three matches for Europe in its big win over Asia in the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia last week. Clarke captained the Europeans for that event, a test run for the Ryder Cup, and has been further impressed by Sullivan's play and attitude in Abu Dhabi - this time even closer up.

The 28-year-old Englishman started and finished his second round with three straight birdies.

''Darren knows what I can do, so I don't think it was imperative (to play well here),'' Sullivan said, ''but it bodes well when you do.''

Clarke and Sullivan have been close friends since Sullivan turned professional in 2011 and the jokes have been flying between them this week.

''He has completely taken the mick out of me for two days and I have told him that if he keeps this up, a pick (for the Ryder Cup) is out of the question,'' Clarke said.

Sullivan, known for his big smile and easygoing attitude, says Clarke has been playfully abusing him for being a ''short, fat guy'' but has been giving it back.

''He's got 60 on his ball and, on the first tee, I said I didn't realize you put your age on the ball,'' Sullivan said, laughing. ''I just try and have a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. It was good fun and kept it relaxed.''

DeChambeau is the 2015 U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion who plays with a home-made set of irons that are all the same length, explaining his self-styled nickname ''The Golf Scientist.'' He went out in the final group of the day, knowing he wouldn't come close to completing his round, and made some ground back on Sullivan.

''I had adrenaline going, that's for sure,'' DeChambeau said. ''But there's no anxiety, no nerves. Doesn't matter what the outcome is.''

The bogey on the par-5 18th - one of the easier holes at Abu Dhabi Golf Club - came after a bad second shot out of a fairway bunker.

Spieth bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5, and avoided finding the water off the tee on No. 9 when his hooked drive hit a spectator and finished in the rough. His only birdie was on No. 10, and the American is two shots above the projected cut of 1 under.

McIlroy made 12 pars and a bogey on No. 9 after pushing his drive toward the rocks on the edge of a lake.

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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.