Casey to face Poulter in All-England Match Play final

By Doug FergusonFebruary 21, 2010, 7:29 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. – Ian Poulter of England equaled the shortest match of the tournament to reach the final of the Match Play Championship. He won’t know who he plays until Sunday because the longest match didn’t finish.

Englishman Paul Casey and Camilo Villegas, neither of whom had gone the distance all week at Dove Mountain, exchanged a series of great shots and vital putts through 23 holes Saturday until twilight in the high desert made it too difficult to continue.

They were to return first thing in the morning to see who gets to face Poulter and a chance at the $1.4 million prize.

The final stroke of a long day belonged to Villegas, a 28-year-old Colombian, who had a 3-foot par putt on the 14th hole to win the match. He pushed it badly to the right, giving Casey an unlikely reprieve.
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter had few numbers to add up against Sergio Garcia in the semifinals. (Getty Images)
“I should have made that putt,” Villegas said.

On the previous hole, Villegas hit a remarkable bunker shot from 50 yards that stopped 2 feet from the hole for a conceded birdie, only for Casey to knocked in a 6-foot birdie to extend the match.

Villegas also escaped trouble on the par-5 11th when he blasted out of a desert bush, hammered a fairway metal onto the green and halved the hole with a par.

“If I had to get up early, I wanted to be in the final. I didn’t want to be continuing a semifinal,” said Casey, who reached the championship match last year only to lose to Australian Geoff Ogilvy. “One of us has to be in the final. And both of us want to be there.”

Some three hours earlier, Poulter closed out Spaniard Sergio Garcia on the 12th hole, 7 and 6.

Poulter was in his room at the Ritz-Carlton, waiting to find out his opponent before taking a hot bath. The match was so long that he wound up taking the bath and then getting a massage. He posted on Twitter, “laying on the massage table having some treatment getting ready for tomorrow, cant believe they are still out there.”

Both players were exhausted, especially having endured quarterfinal matches Saturday morning, then coping with a few hours of wretched conditions – cold, wind and rain that briefly halted play.

It was only the second time in the 12-year history of this tournament that a semifinal match went into overtime. The other time was in 2004, when Davis Love III defeated Darren Clarke.

Casey is trying to give this World Golf Championship its first All-England final.

Earlier in the day, Casey built an early lead and defeated British Open champion Stewart Cink, 5 and 4. It was the fourth time in as many matches that Casey had closed out his opponent by that score.

Cink’s loss meant no Americans reached the semifinals for the first time in tournament history.

The morning chill turned worse as gray clouds moved in, and rain began falling as the quarterfinals were ending. The rain came down so hard that play was halted for 10 minutes early in the semifinal matches.

The golf was as miserable as the weather.

Garcia took five shots to reach the first green before conceding the hole. Casey topped a tee shot so badly on the 209-yard third hole that it traveled barely 100 yards and didn’t even reach the water hazard.

“It was just nice that rain did back off so we could actually play some sensible golf,” Poulter said. “It certainly wasn’t enjoyable. The golf would have been terrible to watch.”

Poulter had a blast when the weather improved, winning four straight holes to build a big lead, then effectively closing out the match with four straight birdies.

Poulter won seven holes in an eight-hole stretch, but it was the one he lost – to a par by Garcia – that caused some consternation.

Garcia was 75 feet away for birdie on No. 7, while Poulter went over the green and into the desert, his ball stuck behind a bush. He asked for relief from a television tower and was denied. Poulter protested that he was capable of hitting through the bush and over the tower, a shot he would only consider in match play.

Calling in the chief referee, he won his appeal. But when he realized that his free drop would be in a thicker bush, he opted not to take relief, then played away from the tower. Poulter made bogey, forcing Garcia to nervously knock in a 6-footer for par.

After the match, Garcia was asked if he felt Poulter should have played the shot he intended when asking for relief.

“Well, probably,” Garcia said. “That’s what I would have done after trying to get relief. But he did what he thought was right, and he’s the one who has to live with it, so he’ll be fine.”

That phrase – “he’s the one who has to live with it” – can suggest that Poulter did something wrong.

Poulter said he wasn’t put off and stood my his decision.

“It’s my prerogative,” he said. “Do I want to give Sergio the hole if it doesn’t come off? I want to see him putt, and I’ve got every right to see him putt.”

Poulter had a far more difficult time reaching the semifinals.

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, the No. 48 seed, had never trailed in 59 holes until Poulter won the 17th hole with a par to go 1 up. Poulter won on the 18th when Thongchai’s 15-foot birdie hung on the lip.

In the other quarterfinal matches, Garcia pulled away late over Oliver Wilson of England, 4 and 3; and Villegas built a 4-up lead at the turn and beat South Africa’s Retief Goosen, 4 and 3.

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.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.