Byrd is the word at Wells Fargo

By Doug FergusonMay 8, 2011, 3:35 am

Wells Fargo ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Jonathan Byrd lived up to his surname Saturday in the Wells Fargo Championship.

In the mix with a half-dozen other players trying to keep in range of Pat Perez, Byrd ran off five birdies in six holes to start the back nine and finished with a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

The one hole he didn’t birdie might have been his best putt—a 7-footer with a sharp break to the right into the grain.

“You won’t believe how much this putt breaks,” Phil Mickelson said, standing to the back of the green after his own remarkable par. Byrd poured it into the heart, birdied the next two holes and was on his way.

He was at 15-under 201 and will try to win for the third time in the last seven months on the PGA Tour.

“I don’t know if I’m going to win,” Byrd said. “But I’m playing good enough to win.

Perez had a hard-fought 70, missing fairways early in the round and rarely converting birdie chances throughout the back nine until a slight mistake turned into his best-looking shot. Taking a little off a 7-iron, he pulled it slightly on the 17th and saw it sail right at the flag and stop some 5 feet behind the pin for a birdie.

Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (69) and former British Open champion Stewart Cink (68), who have not won since capturing their majors in the summer of 2009, were three shots back.

The top eight players were separated by five shots, which isn’t much on a Quail Hollow course where last year Rory McIlroy closed with a 62 for his only PGA Tour victory.

Missing from the mix is Mickelson.

The three-time Masters champion was in range and was poised to make a move with a brilliant par save on the 12th, a mini-flop from a downhill lie to a green that ran away and broke sharply to the left. It stopped inches away.

But he hit flubbed a bunker shot on the 14th to lose an easy chance at birdie, then hit tee shots into the water on the par-5 15th (bogey) and the par-3 17th (double bogey) on his way to a 74. Mickelson has hit five balls in the water this week.

J.B. Holmes had an amazing stretch on the back nine – five shots to play two holes when he holed a 5-iron on the 15th for an albatross, the rarest score in golf, and followed that with a birdie on the 16th. That led to a 65, although he was six shots behind, along with Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who had a 68.

The excitement was almost too much for Byrd.

He was playing with Mickelson, the biggest draw at Quail Hollow, and while it wasn’t the first time, he could feel the energy. The gallery caved in around him going from green-to-tee on just about every hole, with young fans holding out hands to be tapped.

Mickelson gets that all the time – Byrd, not so much.

“I’ve never high-fived so much in my life,” Byrd said.

That only concerned him because he doesn’t play with a glove, and part of him wondered if fans had just put on sunscreen.

“Phil is used to that,” he said. “He just flashes that smile. I want to keep my head down.”

The buzz in the crowd contributed to a slow start, a bogey on the opening hole and failing to birdie the par-5 fifth. But he hit a nifty chip from the side of the seventh for a tap-in birdie, nearly drove the short eighth hole and made birdie, then took off on the back nine.

His longest birdie putt was a 10-footer on the 13th. The rest was about taking advantage of the par 5s and the short par-4 14th. In the middle of that stretch was the 7-foot par on the 12th, which Byrd called his toughest putt on the back nine.

Watching Mickelson hit his chip allowed him to see the degree of break, and he poured it in the center cut. Then came two more birdies, and Byrd was surprised to hear after his round he had made seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch.

He needed them all to get the 54-hole lead. No one is sure how many he’ll need Sunday to collect another win.

Players wore black ribbons in honor of Seve Ballesteros, who died early Saturday in Spain. PGA Tour officials said play will stop at 3:08 p.m. on Sunday for one minute in memory of the Spanish great.

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.