Bradley, Dufner in another Atlanta duel

By Doug FergusonSeptember 22, 2011, 9:09 pm

ATLANTA – Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner atop the leaderboard in Atlanta should sound familiar.

Only this was the FedEx Cup finale, not the final major of the year.

And they were on East Lake, not 40 minutes up the road at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Bradley, who won the PGA Championship last month in a playoff over Dufner, ran off four birdies on the back nine Thursday for a 6-under 64 to build a two-shot lead in the Tour Championship.

Dufner was surprisingly crooked off the tee, yet still managed a 66 and was tied for second along with Chez Reavie and Luke Donald, the No. 1 player in the world and one of five players in prime position to win the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.

Bradley and Dufner will be in the last group Friday, and it was impossible to ignore the coincidence.

“Yeah, I don’t think there’s any big surprise,” Bradley said. “He likes this grass, too. He likes these courses, and I hope I get to play with him tomorrow. I think that would be a lot of fun.”

It would bring back great memories for Bradley, a 26-year-old rookie. Not so much for Dufner, who had a four-shot lead with three holes to play until he made three straight bogeys and wound up losing in a three-hole playoff.

“Maybe he’s having some of the same feelings – very comfortable on this type of golf course … with the conditions maybe a little more severe at Atlanta Athletic Club off the tee,” Dufner said. “But he’s having a good day. Hopefully, we’ll be paired tomorrow. That will be a little interesting, I guess. Maybe some thoughts here or there will come back and forth.”

The Tour Championship is more about memories, however.

Along with this being the end of the FedEx Cup, there’s another cup on Bradley’s mind. He is not a lock to be a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup, despite having won twice this year, including a major. U.S. captain Fred Couples has said he would consider the Tour Championship as one last audition.

Bradley could not have asked for a better start.

He holed a bunker shot from across the green on his second hole to fire up the fans, most of whom now know his name. After a sloppy three-putt bogey on the eighth, he hammered a 3-wood from 281 yards that rolled past the hole at No. 9 and set up a two-putt birdie, then really put it together on the back nine. He had a pair of short birdie putts, along with a two-putt birdie on the 15th and was feeling the good vibes from a month ago.

He is a long shot to win the FedEx Cup – especially with Donald playing well – but the Presidents Cup is right in front of him, and Bradley feels it.

“The cliche is to say that I’m not thinking about it, but literally probably every third hole – or maybe even less – it pops into my mind,” Bradley said. “I really want to be on the team, but I want to earn my way onto the team, just like I’m going to have to. If the captain and assistant captains think I’ve done enough to get on the team, they’re going to pick me.

“And if they don’t, that’s totally fair, too.”

The conditions at East Lake were relatively tame until the final hour, when sprinkles turned to rain and even halted play with the final two groups not finished. Donald returned to play the 18th in a driving rain, and did well to escape with par from the bunker on the par-3 closing hole.

Charles Howell III, whose appearance at East Lake guarantees another trip back to Georgia in April for the Masters in his hometown, was at 67 along with Adam Scott, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar.

The group at 68 included another batch of Presidents Cup hopefuls, from Aaron Baddeley on the International team to Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker on the American side.

Phil Mickelson also shot a 68 and is on Bradley’s side – not because he wants him as a captain’s pick, but because they appear to share an affinity for golf in Georgia. Mickelson has won the Tour Championship twice at East Lake, along with three Masters and three regular PGA Tour stops in the Atlanta area.

Webb Simpson, No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, bogeyed the last hole for a 69. Of the top five players in the FedEx Cup – all of whom only need to win to collect the $10 million – Dustin Johnson (No. 2) was the only player not to break par. He shot 70.

Luke Donald said he was thinking more about the silver FedEx Cup than the crystal Tour Championship trophy when he arrived at East Lake “because that’s what everyone is talking about.”

He also got off to a good start, important to him because he opened with a 75 last week at Cog Hill and took himself out of the tournament. Donald still managed to finish fourth.

“I wanted to get off to a faster start, put myself in better position, and I’m glad I did that,” Donald said.

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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.