Tiger Singh Make Early Exits at La Costa

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayCARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods' two-year reign in the Match Play Championship came to a swift and stunning conclusion Friday. For Vijay Singh, a weekend off at La Costa Resort was all too familiar.

The top two seeds were eliminated Friday as golf's most unpredictable tournament lived up to its reputation.

Woods, who had won 13 consecutive matches, fell behind early against Nick O'Hern and never caught up. His last hope vanished when he hit into a bunker on the 17th hole, and the lanky lefty from Down Under holed a 25-foot putt for a 3-and-1 victory.

'Nick made all the putts he had to make,' Woods said. 'I didn't make any.'

Singh kept alive his dubious streak of never advancing beyond the second round of the Accenture Match Play Championship. He took a 1-up lead over Jay Haas by driving the 332-yard sixth hole, but the putts kept bumping away from the hole and the 51-year-old Haas pulled away for the 3-and-2 victory.

The 16 winners took a brief break for lunch before playing the third round.

Unlike previous years when top seeds were beaten early, at least La Costa was not deprived of some star power.

Phil Mickelson, the No. 3 seed who is coming off two straight PGA Tour victories, again had an easy time on the course not far from his home. The Masters champion made four straight birdies early in his match and won, 4 and 3, over Angel Cabrera.

U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, the No. 4 seed, recovered from an early deficit to beat Fred Couples, 1 up.

Sergio Garcia (No. 6) was 2 down through 10 holes, but took advantage of some late mistakes by Jerry Kelly and beat him on the 19th hole to advance to third round.

'It was a tough match,' Garcia said. 'We didn't play too well, but it was exciting. There was a lot of energy around it. I'm glad I went through it, to get my game in a bit of a better shape like I did yesterday.'

Other top-10 seeds advancing were Stewart Cink, who eliminated Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, and Davis Love III, who trounced Lee Westwood of England.

Love had the easiest time, making five birdies and being conceded an eagle putt in 13 holes. His margin of victory, 7 and 6, tied the biggest rout at this tournament previously set by six other players.

O'Hern became the latest Aussie to take down Woods in the early stages of the Match Play Championship. Three years ago, Peter O'Malley became the only No. 64 seed to advance when he knocked Woods out in the first round.

Woods won his next 13 matches, resulting in back-to-back titles, but he was no match for a steady O'Hern and his magical touch around the greens.

O'Hern quickly built a 2-up lead, making a 10-foot birdie on No. 2 and a 6-footer on the par-5 third hole. Woods showed early on that putting on the spongy greens at rain-soaked La Costa would be a problem for him. He missed from 3 feet on No. 3, and from 5 feet on the fifth hole to fall 2 down.

And every time he had a putt to pull even, it slid around the edge.

Woods was driving the ball some 40 yards past O'Hern on every hole, but that didn't matter. O'Hern always hit first, and usually put the ball inside Woods.

The Aussie took a 2-up lead at the turn with a 6-iron into 4 feet on the No. 9, the 467-yard hole that again was converted into a par 3. And when he holed a 12-footer at No. 13, O'Hern was 3 up.

The only hole Woods won on the back nine was at No. 15, when O'Hern took four shots to reach the green.

'He doesn't make a lot of mistakes,' Woods said.

O'Hern narrowly survived the first round against Charles Howell III, winning on the 19th hole. He was hardly intimidated playing the two-time defending champion, especially when Woods began catching the lip on his putts.

'Tiger was unfortunate with his putts,' O'Hern said.

But they are the same for everyone, and the Aussie looked comfortable easing his way into the second round.

Mickelson had no problem with the greens. With four straight birdies, he quickly surged ahead of Cabrera, then finished his front nine with two more birdies to for a 4-up lead.

Still, the biggest performance by a lefty at La Costa belonged to O'Hern on Friday. He eliminated Woods, and left the Match Play Championship as wide open as it usually is.
 
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  • 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.