Vegas Weekley share lead at Bob Hope Classic

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2011, 5:45 am

Bob Hope Classic

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Venezuelan rookie Jhonattan Vegas shot a 5-under 67 in windy conditions Thursday for a share of the second-round lead with Boo Weekley at the Bob Hope Classic.

Weekley had a 66 to match Vegas at 13-under 131 in the 90-hole tournament on four Palm Springs-area courses. Charles Howell III (66) and Chris Couch (65) were a stroke back.

Although Vegas, 26, bogeyed his final hole on the Nicklaus Private course, he leads the field with 17 birdies. With power and accuracy off the tee, Vegas used an improved short game to get on top early in just his fifth PGA Tour event.

“It’s good to be hitting the ball well and putting well, especially on a course like these ones where you’ve always got a lot of birdie opportunities,” said Vegas, who played at the University of Texas before excelling on the Nationwide Tour last year.

Although many pros still don’t know him – Weekley had never met Vegas before they shook hands in the media tent after the second round – others already call him “Jhonny Vegas.” As for the unique spelling on his birth certificate, Vegas realizes it might take a while to catch on.

“I’m happy they did it that way, because it’s something different,” Vegas said. “I mean, you only see one Jhonattan spelled that way, so once you see it, you know that it’s me.”

Vegas moved to the United States in 2002, spending nearly two years improving his English enough to attend college. He became the first Venezuelan to earn a PGA Tour card last year.

The sport is viewed with a raised eyebrow in Venezuela by President Hugo Chavez, who calls it a pastime of the rich. In hilly Caracas, the government has threatened to replaced golf courses occupying valuable areas of flat land with housing that will be less vulnerable to rain and mudslides.

“I’d love the chance to tell people about golf in Venezuela,” said Vegas, whose father runs a catering company. “(Chavez) has always said that golf is for elite people, I guess, and as we all know here, it’s not that way. But I guess he’s got that mentality, so I really hope to sit down with him and talk to him, and tell him it’s not that way.”

Chavez made the cut at last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii, although he didn’t get to play Sunday due to the weather-shortened field. He got off the islands in time to survey all four courses in Palm Springs before Wednesday’s opening round.

The Hope Classic typically is dominated by low scores, and both leaders won’t be surprised if the winner of the five-round event checks in at 30 under.

“We’ve played two of the easier courses, me and Mr. Vegas, so it just all depends on what can happen tomorrow,” Weekley said. “I feel like I can go out there and shoot 3 or 4 under, keep myself in the hunt … and still have a chance somewhere down the line there.”

Weekley birdied his final two Nicklaus holes, wrapping up a sharp round on perhaps the tournament’s easiest course. The veteran changed putters after finishing in 27th-place tie at the Sony Open in Hawaii last week, and the switch already has produced remarkable results.

“To 12 feet, 15 feet, I feel like I can make it,” Weekley said. “I would say for about the last year, I ain’t felt that in a while. I was hoping that this would happen.”

Howell shot his second 66 of the tournament, while Couch made three birdies on his final four holes. Keegan Bradley and Brian Davis are two strokes off the lead at 133, while 29 players – including David Duval and Matt Kuchar – were within five strokes of the lead.

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.