Watson wins Travelers Championship in playoff

By Associated PressJune 28, 2010, 2:33 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bubba Watson really wanted to play well at the Travelers Championship to impress U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.

He did.

Watson overcame a six-stroke deficit Sunday to force a playoff with Pavin and Scott Verplank, then beat Verplank with a par on the second playoff hole.

Watson, the long-hitting left-hander from the Florida Panhandle, closed with a 4-under 66 to match Verplank (64) and Pavin (66) at 14 under. Pavin dropped out on the first extra hole.

 After making a 3-footer on the par-3 16th to win, Watson hugged wife Angie and began crying. He said he was so nervous, he could not feel his arms on the final putt.

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson hugs his caddie after his first PGA Tour win. (Getty Images)
“I’m a very emotional guy,” he said. “I cry all the time. When I go to church on Sunday, I cry at church. I couldn’t get the ‘Yes’ out of ‘I do’ at my wedding. The pastor said, ‘You got to say it. You can’t just nod. You can’t nod.’

“Everybody has issues. My family had some issues. My dad is battling cancer. My wife last year thought she had a tumor in her brain. We got lucky with that one, and now, we’re battling with my dad. It’s emotional.”

It was largest comeback on the tour since Padraig Harrington also came from six back to win the 2007 British Open.

Verplank left his tee shot short and left of the green on the second playoff hole and missed an 8-foot par putt. Watson, who had a 48-footer for birdie, was able to steady his nerves enough to get it close.

The 50-year-old Pavin, who was taking a break from the Champions Tour to scout players for the Ryder Cup, was eliminated on the first playoff hole after hitting his tee shot just 219 yards (101 yards shorter than Watson) and putting his approach into a bunker short of the 18th green. He chipped to 3 feet, earning a standing ovation.

“The playoff was a little disappointing to me,” he said. “I kind of popped up a three-wood there and left myself in a pretty precarious spot.”

“Now, it’s just time to go back and play with golfers my own age,” he added.

Justin Rose, coming off his first PGA Tour win this month at the Memorial, had a three-stroke lead entering the round. But the 29-year-old Englishman shot a 75 to tie for ninth at 11 under.

“It was obviously my tournament to lose,” Rose said. “I could have shot 1-over par today and won the golf tournament. It’s disappointing. It wasn’t overly difficult today.”

Watson almost won on the first playoff hole, hitting a sand wedge within an inch of the cup from 128 yards out.

But Verplank made an 8-foot birdie putt to extend the playoff.

Verplank started the day in 13th place, eight strokes behind Rose, while Pavin and Watson were both six back.

Verplank eagled the 13th and 15th holes to move into contention. But a birdie try on 17 lipped the cup.

“When I holed it on 15, I looked at the leaderboard, and I wasn’t that far back. I needed to birdie one of the last couple holes,” Verplank said.

The crowd began chanting “USA! USA!” after Pavin made a 32-foot birdie putt on 17 hole that broke sharply from left to right and put him into contention.

He said he wouldn’t himself on the Ryder Cup team, even if he had won.

“Being captain is pretty tough, just to do that,” he said. “Arnold Palmer was the last one to do that, and that was a different era, a different time. I wouldn’t have played.”

Watson had led briefly after four birdies on the back nine put him at 15 under. But he hit his tee shot on 17 into a bunker, and topped his second shot into the water on the way to a double bogey.

But he didn’t quit. He hit his tee shot 396 yards off the cart path, and made a 6-foot birdie putt to get into the playoff.

“I guess you can’t say I choked, because I came back and birdied the next hole and now I’m the champion,” he said.

No player in the first three groups made it into the playoff.

Rose held the lead until he missed a 10-foot par putt on 10th and moved into a three-way tie with playing partner Ben Curtis and Verplank.

Rose lost the lead after a bogey on the 12th hole, then hit his tee shot on 15 into the water on his way to another bogey.

Curtis, who bogeyed just two holes in the tournament coming into Sunday, hit his tee shot on 12 out of bounds to the left, and made a double bogey. Both he and Rose bogeyed 16. Curtis finished with a 73 to tie for 13th at 10 under.

Chris Riley began the day at 8 under, but eagled the par-4 14th from 155 yards and was 5 under on the back nine. He finished a stroke out of the playoff at 13 under.

“I bogeyed my first two holes and, I was like, ‘Ho, hum. Here we go,”’ he said. “I was in something like 45th place. What makes this course so great is you can make up ground.”

Watson ended Europe’s tour winning streak at three. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won the big prize last week at the U.S. Open. The Memorial was Rose’s first tour win, and fellow Englishman Lee Westwood won the St. Jude Classic.

Watson earned $1.08 million and moved into eighth place in the FedEx Cup rankings.

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.

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.