Tight Leaderboard at Disney

By Associated PressNovember 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - J.P. Hayes is feeling much better about his health than the last time he was in these parts on the PGA TOUR. And thanks to a 7-under 65 on Thursday at Disney, his prospects for keeping his card are looking good, too.
Hayes turned a sloppy hole into a birdie on the par-5 10th at Magnolia, then ran off four more birdies in wet and windy conditions to build a one-shot lead in the Children's Miracle Network Classic.
Hayes is No. 123 on the money list with a $16,599 cushion. This is the final event of the PGA TOUR season, and the way the Fall Series has gone, no one feels safe. Already, nine players have cracked into the top 125.
'I wouldn't say I was worried about it,' Hayes said. 'I'd really like to finish in the top 125. Everybody would like to perform better and play less, like Tiger. Unfortunately, not all of us can.'
Cameron Beckman, who secured his card last week, played with a sore back but virtually no stress and raced out to a bogey-free 66 in the morning on the longer, tougher Magnolia course. He was joined by Scott Verplank and Ryuji Imada, who played the Palm Course.
Justin Leonard, Woody Austin and Tim Clark, three guys who have no worries about next year, were in a large group at 65 with a couple of guys still sweating it out -- Dicky Pride, who is at No. 159, and Tag Ridings, who at No. 210 can only keep his card with a victory.
Such concerns now seem but small details to someone like Hayes, 42, who was far more worried about his heart this spring.
He was about an hour down Interstate 4 outside Tampa in March when he felt heart palpitations during the PODS Championship, then dropped to his knees with a light head while walking down the first fairway of the final round.
He was taken to the hospital overnight, wondering if he had suffered a stroke. After seven days of tests at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, doctors diagnosed him with vaso-vagal syncope, in which his blood pressure drops when it should be rising.
If that wasn't enough to shape his perspective on golf, his pro-am partner in the first round did the trick. Hayes was paired with a Zak Russell, a 19-year-old from Toronto who was born two months premature with a bad connection between the trachea and esophagus, meaning it could allow food or stomach acid into his lungs.
Russell has gone through 14 surgeries, and has survived to sport a good game in golf, snowboarding and football.
'You look at that and say, 'Wow!' Hayes said.
Another wow factor for Hayes might be collecting his first victory in five years, although there's still three days to go on rain-soaked resort courses and a leaderboard that is as bunched as ever at Disney.
Seventy players were within five shots of the lead.
Tadd Fujikawa, the 16-year-old from Hawaii playing on a sponsor's exemption, birdied three straight holes early in his round before a couple of three-putts slowed his momentum. He settled for a 71, leaving him a chance to make his first cut as a pro. With the Magic Kingdom across the street, he picked the perfect metaphor for his round.
'It was a roller coaster out there,' he said.
It has been that way for most players in the Fall Series, many of whom are trying to secure their positions inside the top 125 for next year, with a few of them -- Leonard, for one -- hopeful of cracking the top 30 to get into the Masters.
Beckman has already gone through the drill.
He was 149th in the FedExCup standings, missing the playoffs by a mere 153 points. That gave him a four-week vacation, enough time for him to take stock of his position and realize he'd better to get to work. He had seven weeks to avoid another trip to Q-school.
'I got ready to go,' he said. 'I knew my position coming into the Fall Series. I don't want to go to tour school. And with the FedExCup, you don't want to be in the TOUR school.'
No need to worry now. Beckman tied for third in Las Vegas to get on the cusp of that magic No. 125, then broke through last week in south Florida with a tie for fifth that moved him up to No. 118, essentially securing his card for next year.
'Compared to the stress level I've had the last six weeks, this was nothing,' Beckman said. 'I felt like I was playing a practice round.'
MacKinzie Kline, the 15-year-old with a congenital heart defect who played on the LPGA Tour this season, was in the pro-am pairing with Fujikawa, although they were not partners. It was a huge day for Kline because she walked the last 16 holes. Kline was given permission to use a cart at the Ginn Tribute on the LPGA Tour because she was recovering from recent surgery to fix a hole in her heart. 'I haven't done that in a long time,' Kline said. 'It was very exciting. The one thing I really want to do is walk all 18 holes.' Fujikawa loved having her along. 'I haven't played with someone my age in a long time,' he said. ... John Daly, who has walked out of six tournaments this year, said he was disappointed not to get a sponsor's exemption to Disney. Lo and behold, Daly could have made it as an alternate based on his status as a past champion, but he wasn't at Disney to claim the spot and the tour took the next guy in line. ... The Canadian Open finally got a title sponsor Wednesday when the Royal Bank of Canada agreed to a deal.
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Children's Miracle Network Classic
  • 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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.