Crane rallies, tops Simpson in playoff

By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2011, 8:23 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Ben Crane knew he was going home Monday to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. He had no reason to believe he would be bringing The McGladrey Classic trophy with him.
 
Seven shots behind with 11 holes to play, Crane ran off seven birdies to close with a 7-under 63, and then he won the sudden-death playoff when Webb Simpson missed a short par putt on the second extra hole Sunday.
 
Crane nearly holed his approach on the 14th to start a string of four straight birdies. He had a long two-putt on the par-5 15th, followed by a pair of birdie putts from about 20 feet.
 
Simpson closed with a 66, despite not making a birdie over his last seven holes.
 
They finished at 15-under 265 and extended the PGA Tour's record with the 18th playoff this year. It looked as if it might last more than two holes when Crane made a 5-foot comeback putt for par, and Simpson had a par putt just over 3 feet. But it caught the right lip and spun away, giving Crane his first win of the year.
 
Simpson was trying to become the only three-time winner on Tour this season, which might have made him a favorite in the wide-open race for PGA Tour player of the year. The consolation could be the money, which is the reason Simpson came to Sea Island in the first place.
 
With his runner-up finish, Simpson moved to the top of the money list by $363,029 over Luke Donald, the No. 1 player in the world ranking. Both players have entered the season-ending tournament next week in Disney, though Donald's task became a lot more difficult.
 
At the very least, Donald would have to finish no worse than a two-way for second to have any chance to move past Simpson and resume his bid to become the first player to win money titles on the PGA Tour and European Tour. Donald already has a comfortable lead in Europe.
 
'Finishing second is going to make it a lot harder for Luke,' Simpson said. 'But I'm sure he's going to play well. He's played well most every week this year. I still wouldn't be surprised if I have a little work to do next week.'
 
Crane was playing his final PGA Tour event of the year. His wife, Heather, is home in the Dallas area and they arranged for the birth to be on Monday. He had an evening flight out of Jacksonville, Fla., but those plans changed quickly.
 
Michael Thompson, the 54-hole leader, ran off three straight birdies on the front nine to build a three-shot lead. Crane, who teed off nearly an hour earlier, was making only pars and trailed by as many as seven shots.
 
Then came two bursts of four straight birdies, the first one starting on the eighth hole. When his 20-foot birdie dropped on the 17th, Crane excitedly pumped his fist, knowing that he suddenly had a chance at a most unlikely win.
 
Simpson missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 13th and failed to take advantage on the par-5 15th.
 
Thompson also missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 15th that would have given him the outright lead, and then his nerves started to show with errant tee shots. He got away with one on the 16th, but not on the final hole, when his tee shot went into the hazard and cost him a penalty drop.
 
'All I think about on those tee shots is just hit in the middle of the club face,' Thompson said. 'And for one reason, that one tee shot I didn't. And It got me.'
 
The small consolation for the 25-year-old rookie, who closed with a 69, was a third-place finish that assures him keeping his card for next year.
 
Also locking up his card was Bud Cauley, the 21-year-old who left Alabama after his junior season to turn pro. Cauley shot 67 and tied for 15th to earn $64,000, and now is the equivalent of No. 112 on the money list.
 
He is only the sixth player to go from college and earn his Tour card without having to through Q-school, and Cauley joins Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only players to accomplish that feat in eight starts or fewer.
 
'It's very exciting for me,' Cauley said. 'I can't wait to come out here and play all year out here.'
 
A pair of major champions had their best finish of the year. Louis Oosthuizen, who won at St. Andrews last summer, was one shot out of the lead until a bogey on the 18th. He closed with a 66 to finish fourth. Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman, slowed the last two years by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery, had a 69 and finished finish.
 
It was Immelman's first top 10 since 2008.
 
Crane won for the fourth time in his career, and heads home to Dallas with a bigger celebration than he had planned.
 
DIVOTS: Scott McCarron shot a 68 to tie for sixth, earning a spot in the field next week at Disney. He also moved to No. 145 on the money list, which would at least give him conditional status next year if he stays there. ... Going into the final tournament, James Driscoll is at No. 125 on the money list by $6,287 over Bill Lunde, who already is exempt next year. Billy Mayfair, who won Q-school last year, is at No. 127 by $12,367.

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.