Byrd Pettersson lead after first round of new year

By Doug FergusonJanuary 7, 2011, 8:34 am

Hyundai Tournament of ChampionsKAPALUA, Hawaii – Jonathan Byrd and Carl Pettersson didn’t miss a beat in the PGA Tour opener Thursday, both enjoying the views and surprisingly calm conditions in the Tournament of Champions to share the lead at 7-under 66.

That wasn’t the case for others.

Kapalua was missing its two-time defending champion when Geoff Ogilvy had to withdraw with 12 stitches in his right finger, making him the first defending champ in 50 years to miss the winners-only event.

Stuart Appleby was missing his putter. It wasn’t in the bag when he showed up Thursday morning, and he sent caddie Scott Sajtinac to a nearby golf shop to get the closest he could find. With the price tag still glued to the shaft, Appleby opened with a 69.

Jim Furyk was missing a playing partner when Ogilvy withdrew, so he brought along Scott Carroll as a marker. The popular head pro at Kapalua got the loudest ovation of anyone on the first tee.

Above all, the Plantation Course was missing its notorious wind, which allowed for a gentle start to the PGA Tour season.


“It’s quite an adjustment going out there with no wind,” Byrd said.

It was Byrd’s first tournament since he qualified for the Tournament of Champions by winning in Las Vegas with the best finish of the year, a hole-in-one in a three-man playoff. After making five birdies on the front nine, Byrd holed out another shot. This was only a wedge from 111 yards that caught the grain perfectly and rolled sideways about 4 feet and into the cup.

If the only the rest of the day could have gone as well.

“From there on, got a little shaky,” Byrd said. “I didn’t play great for about a three- or four-hole stretch.”

Ben Crane was a stroke behind the leaders. He played bogey-free in the calm, overcast conditions with the sun trying to break through the clouds but never quite succeeding.

Furyk, one of only three players to have won at Kapalua still in the field, also got off to a quick start before he stalled and had to settle for a 5-under 68, leaving him tied with Bill Haas and Charley Hoffman.

Joining Appleby in the group at 69 was Anthony Kim, determined to plot his way through each round at each tournament, and doing a pretty good job of it except for the par-3 eighth. He chose a 4-iron, then changed his shot at the top of his swing and pulled it into the high weeds to take a double bogey.

“All of a sudden, I decided to try to make birdie – from 215 yards away,” Kim said. “Mental error. I committed to every shot I hit today except for that one.”

Bubba Watson hit the longest tee shot on the 18th during a long drive competition Wednesday, and his driver again was the key club on the finishing hole Thursday – only this one was a driver off the fairway, setting up a 10-foot eagle putt for a 70.

The conditions were so serene that a dozen players shot in the 60s, and only two players failed to break par. One of them was Rocco Mediate, who made the turn in 41 and shot 79. The other was Justin Rose at 75.

Ernie Els, who set the tournament record in 2003 with a 31-under 261, opened with back-to-back bogeys and rallied to get back into the game until a three-putt bogey on the final hole for a 1-under 72.

Pettersson qualified by winning the Canadian Open, but he wasn’t satisfied with the way his year ended. Instead of shutting it down when he returned from the HSBC Champions in China, he went to work. Pettersson spent the last two months playing golf just about every day, whether that meant practicing for one hour or five hours, playing with buddies in North Carolina or taking golf trips to Florida.

“Probably worked harder on my game this offseason than I’ve done any other offseason,” he said.

The course can play a little longer without wind. Pettersson usually hits a 6-iron into the 554-yard 17th hole, which is downhill with the trade wind typical helping. He had to hammer a hybrid Thursday, an example of how different Kapalua felt.

Even so, not man were begging for the wind to return.

“I’ve been here since Sunday, and every day it has blown a little bit different direction, which messes with you a little bit,” Haas said. “But I’m happy. I hope it stays like this all week.”

Appleby is going to stick with his new putter.

He’s not sure what happened to the old one, but his instructions to Sajtinac were simple.

“I told him to get me an Odyssey putter,” Appleby said, the brand he normally uses. “If you get me an Odyssey putter, I’ll know what to do with it.”

So what happens if he finds his old putter after opening with a 69?

“That’s how you really torment a golfer,” Appleby said.

 

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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.