Kuchar shoots 63 to take Barclays lead after rainy first round

By Doug FergusonAugust 26, 2011, 1:42 pm

EDISON, N.J. – Matt Kuchar returned to beautiful sunshine and a birdie Friday morning to take the lead at The Barclays.

Kuchar, who won the opening FedEx Cup playoff event last year on a different course, was among 51 players who did not finish the rain-delayed first round. He drove into a greenside bunker on the reachable par-4 18th, blasted out to 3 feet and rapped in his birdie putt for an 8-under 63.

That gave him a one-shot lead over Harrison Frazar and William McGirt, who also had to finish his round in the morning.

McGirt had made seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch when play was halted by darkness Thursday night. The birdies disappeared when he got back to Plainfield, and he bogeyed the 17th before hitting just short of the green on 18 for an easy birdie. Frazar shot his 64 Thursday.

Players had only a half-hour before they headed back out to start the second round.

Even in such perfect weather, the future of the Barclays was gloomy. Hurricane Irene is on a path up the Eastern seaboard, with a forecast for rain and wind starting as early as Saturday and into Sunday.

The hope Friday was for everyone to complete 36 holes to make the cut. Tour officials were meeting Friday morning to figure out how to proceed with the rest of the tournament, with a 54-hole event one possibility.

That would not be unusual, but this is not a typical event.

Only 125 players qualified for the FedEx Cup, and The Barclays is the first of four tournaments that lead to a $10 million bonus for the winner. The top 100 players in the standings advance to next week at the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, and there is a feeling that a full, 72-hole tournament should be played.

And because the Boston event doesn’t start until Friday – it traditionally has a Labor Day finish – one possibility was to finish on Tuesday.

For now, all they can do is play.

Because of the rain – nearly a three-hour delay Thursday, after some 10 inches of rain over the previous two weeks – Plainfield was soft and ripe for good scoring. Only 44 players failed to break par in the first round, and the field average was 69.5.

Kuchar won The Barclays last year at Ridgewood.

“It’s great being defending champion and coming out with a nice start, 8 under, with some good playing,” he said before heading out for his second round. “The conditions were there. I think there are going to be a lot of low scores over the next couple of days.”

Some players were in dire need of such good scores.

Padraig Harrington, who narrowly qualified at No. 124 in the standings, opened with a 65. That counts as his best score of the year. The 65 he shot in the opening round at Abu Dhabi ended with disqualification when it was deemed through high-definition TV that his ball had moved ever so slightly while addressing a putt.

Ernie Els, who was at No. 118, opened with a 68. Els is among five players who have reached the FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship every year since this format began in 2007.

Phil Mickelson had a disappointing end to his round of 67, even though he made birdie. The tees are moved up this week on the 18th hole, making it play about 285 yards up the hill with a slight bend to the left. Mickelson hammered a tee shot that settled about 6 feet away, but he missed the putt and settled for a birdie.

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.

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.