Tigers late push takes him to share of HSBC lead

By Associated PressNovember 6, 2009, 6:10 pm

SHANGHAI (AP)—The gallery kept growing until it stretched along all 603 yardsof the eighth hole at Sheshan International. It took a little longer beforeTiger Woods gave them what they came to see Friday in the HSBC Champions.

Losing patience with each missed putt, Woods finally knocked in a 10-footbirdie on the ninth hole and was on his way.

With five birdies over the final 10 holes, he pieced together another5-under 67 and surged into a share of the 36-hole lead with Nick Watney in aWorld Golf Championship that had a distinctive American flavor. Seven of the topnine players on the leaderboard are from the United States.

Far more tantalizing going into the weekend was Woods and Phil Mickelson ,who ended their PGA Tour season with a compelling battle in Atlanta, going at itagain halfway around the world in China.

Tiger Woods of the United Stat…
AP - Nov 6, 4:38 am EST

Woods missed six birdie chances inside 20 feet and was growing increasinglyagitated until one putt on the ninth changed his outlook.

“It certainly was a little bit frustrating, but the guys weren’t runningoff and hiding, either,” Woods said. “I knew if I could just play the backnine at 3-under par … I figured that would probably be a pretty good number.And I did a couple better than that.”

Mickelson chipped in for birdie on the 15th, then recovered from a poor teeshot with an unlikely birdie on the 16th. After trying to play short off the teeon the 288-yard hole and hitting hybrid into a bunker, Mickelson faced anawkward distance and a slightly plugged lie in the sand. He blasted a pitchingwedge to 12 feet and made another birdie.

“One of the best shots I hit all day,” Mickelson said, and one finalbirdie on the par-5 18th gave him a 66.

Behind him was Woods, hard to miss with the size of his gallery and theaccompanying cheers. He came up short with his wedge and chipped in for birdie,then reached the green in two on the 538-yard closing hole framed by water for atwo-putt birdie.

That put him in the lead at 10-under 134 with Watney, who birdied his lasttwo holes for a 70.

Even in a World Golf Championship with players from 23 countries—the mostdiverse field for this series—Woods and Mickelson have been the attractions atthe biggest tournament in Asian golf.

Woods first came to China in 2001 for an exhibition and remains a favoriteof the star-struck crowd that calls him “Laohu,” which is Mandarin Chinese forTiger.

Mickelson won the HSBC Champions two years ago and has impressed the Chineseoff the course, too, by speaking of a responsibility to play in Asia to helpgrow the game and talking up the two golf courses projects he has in thecountry, including one in Kunming with a par-3 course that he hopes will attractchildren.

“This is my third year here, and I’ve seen a great increase in the numberof people that have come out to watch, as well as the excitement level,”Mickelson said. “Obviously, Tiger Woods coming here plays a big part in that.But he also came here three or four years ago, and this is at a whole differentlevel this year. It’s been neat to see.”

Woods has come twice to Sheshan International, and twice left as therunner-up. And despite leading going into the weekend, he realizes there is alot of work left.

Watney felt as though he missed every putt that he had made the day before,yet his closing birdies put him in a share of the lead. As he finished, theworld’s top two players were starting to make their moves.

“I knew from the start they were in the field, so it’s no surprise they’replaying well,” Watney said. “Whatever the lead is at, that’s not going to winthe golf tournament. I need to go out and keep playing well and keep makingbirdies to have any shot.”

Mickelson is part of a crowd at 9-under 135. He is joined by Alvaro Quiros ,the Spaniard reputed to be golf’s biggest hitter who shot a 66; and Ryan Moore ,who made an 8-foot eagle on the 18th and finished his round at No. 9 by chippingin for birdie.

“If I have to be honest, I don’t see my name for a long time on theleaderboard—all were Americans,” Quiros said. “It was strange. Of course, itis exciting for me.”

Another shot behind is Anthony Kim , who saved his aggressiveness for the18th hole by hitting a 5-wood to 4 feet for eagle. Pat Perez had a chance topost the only bogey-free round of the tournament until he missed an 8-foot parputt on his final hole for a 69, leaving him three shots off the lead.

Perez has been around long enough to understand that Woods commands thelargest gallery, but he didn’t realize what kind of magnet the world’s No. 1player was in China until he looked around and saw two spectators. He didn’t saywhether that included his wife.

“It made me realize I’m actually a nobody,” Perez said. “I thought I wassomebody, but this confirms it. In worldwide golf, I’m a nobody.”

He has a chance to make a name for himself this weekend, as do others.

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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.