Weather darkness halt LPGA Tour Championship

By Associated PressNovember 21, 2009, 4:39 am

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RICHMOND, Texas – Sophie Gustafson moved within two shots of leader Lorena Ochoa at the LPGA Tour Championship on Friday before second-round play was suspended because of bad weather.

Rain swamped the Houstonian Golf and Country Club before dawn and the start of the second round was pushed back six hours. The tournament resumed at 1 p.m., but light rain started falling about two hours later and play was halted for the day at 5:05 p.m. with darkness approaching.

Ochoa didn’t play after shooting a 6-under 66 early Thursday. She will start her second round at daybreak on Saturday.

Gustafson shot a 70 in the first round, then played 11 holes and moved to 4 under on Friday. Helen Alfredsson, Juli Inkster and Wendy Ward were 3 under.

The players were allowed to lift, clean and place because of the soggy conditions.

“The greens were really wet out there,” said Inkster, 1 under through 10 holes in her second round. “I thought they left us out there too long, but that’s just my opinion. I played good, but I usually do in wet conditions.”

The weekend forecast is mostly clear and tournament officials are racing to finish the season-ending event by Sunday night.

LPGA vice president of rules and competition Doug Brecht felt fortunate that the second round began at all, considering how the day began. The course managed to dodge powerful storms that moved up the Texas coast throughout the day.

“We’re pretty lucky right now in that a big storm was heading our way and we didn’t think we were going to get to play as long as we’re playing,” Brecht said. “Like most storms that have headed here, it broke up before it got to us and was not nearly as strong or severe.”

But Brecht said tournament officials will still need “a little bit of luck” to finish 72 holes by late Sunday afternoon.

More rain is expected overnight and into Saturday morning, and if a high number of players make the cut – the top 70 and those tied will move on – that will push back the tee times for the last groups.

“We’ve got a couple of other issues, we’ll see how they pan out,” Brecht said.

The LPGA wants to avoid reducing the tournament to 54 holes at all costs, mainly because of the event’s importance.

Ochoa is trying to win her fourth straight player of the year honor. She leads Jiyai Shin by four shots on the leaderboard and needs a victory to pass the 21-year-old South Korean in the points standings. Shin and Ochoa are also in a virtual dead-heat for the Vare Trophy, awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average.

Several players also need good performances to crack the top 80 on the money list and avoid going to qualifying school in two weeks.

“There are a ton of things riding on this tournament,” Brecht said. “We are committed to playing 72 holes.”

Brecht mapped out a tight schedule for the rest of the weekend that would get the tournament finished by 5 p.m. on Sunday. He was happy to see the players set a brisk pace on Friday to move things along.

“We are playing a lot faster than we did (Thursday), because there are less rulings and no wind,” Brecht said. “So we’re actually playing a little faster than the time schedule that I’ve laid out for us going forward from here.”

Shin was one of the idle players who took advantage of breaks in the weather to practice.

“There isn’t much you can do, but practice and get ready,” Shin said. “I haven’t really had much practice with waiting out rain delays.”

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 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.