Mahan loses his cushion but keeps lead at Doral

By Doug FergusonMarch 12, 2011, 4:31 am

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Martin Kaymer is the new No. 1 in golf and getting the same kind of respect another No. 1 once did.

Never mind that Hunter Mahan had a one-shot lead going into the weekend of the Cadillac Championship after stumbling with a pair of bogeys in the final hour of his second round Friday for a 1-under 71.

It was the guy right behind him who made some players take notice.

Kaymer opened his season with an eight-shot win in Abu Dhabi. He went to the top of the ranking by reaching the final of the Match Play Championship. And in his first start as No. 1., he eased his way to a bogey-free 70 to get within one shot of the lead halfway through this World Golf Championship.

“That’s why he’s world No. 1,” Rory McIlroy said.

McIlroy had a 69, and was two shots out of the lead. That’s not what concerned him.

“Even though Hunter is a couple of shots ahead of me, to give Martin a stroke lead is going to be pretty tough to sort of keep up with him,” McIlroy said.

The 26-year-old “Germanator” is starting to establish a presence on the leaderboard, much like Tiger Woods did for so many years.

For now, Woods is having to settle for middle of the pack.

Mahan, who has played beautifully for two days on the Blue Monster and was at 9-under 135, had a four-shot lead on the back nine until his long three-putt bogey on the 14th and a poor tee shot that led to bogey on the 16th. That cost him a cushion, but not the lead.

He will be in the final group with Kaymer. Francesco Molinari, going for his second World Golf Championship, had a 68 and joined Kaymer at 8 under.

“I hit a lot of good shots, just didn’t finish as strong as I would have hoped,” Mahan said. “But I’m pretty happy with where I am.”

Mahan’s finish brought so many others into the mix.

McIlroy, Matt Kuchar (69) and Nick Watney (70) were among those two shots behind, while Dustin Johnson (69) and Adam Scott (70) were another stroke back.

Woods, a three-time winner at Doral, was not among them. Neither was Phil Mickelson.

Woods again struggled with his putter, missing four birdie putts inside 10 feet and looking bad at the end. A pair of 6-foot birdie attempts at the 16th and 18th holes never had much of a chance and he wound up with a 74, nine shots behind.

Even so, the lasting image of Woods will be a pair of tee shots.

He hit a smother hook with the driver on the second hole, which traveled only 122 yards—about the same distance he typically hits a sand wedge. Then came a pop-up on the 14th hole and a 188-yard drive.

“It’s pretty tough not to giggle,” U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell said about Woods’ tee shot on No. 2. “We all hit bad shots. Hit a couple of those in my time. The guy is working on his golf swing, and every now and again, you have a few weird ones in there.”

When someone suggested he didn’t appear to be having fun, Woods didn’t look like he was having fun answering the question.

“You’re not going to have a lot of fun when you’re nine back,” he said. “I don’t know if a lot of people are very happy with that.”

Mickelson dropped three shots when he returned to finish the storm-delayed first round, including two shots in the water on the par-5 eighth for a double bogey that led to 73. He was slightly better in the second round with a 71.

McDowell called a penalty on himself when he noticed the ball move during his putting stroke on the ninth. That gave him a 73

Woods and Mickelson will be paired Saturday, the first time they have ever been in the same group for three straight rounds. They could be just a warmup act, however, being so far out of contention.

Mahan had a chance to beat Kaymer at the Match Play until losing a late lead.

“It’s quite impressive, his run,” Mahan said. “He seems mentally tough and I think that’s what separates him. And he’s a great putter. But he’s playing great. He’s actually winning, and that’s what sets the good players and great players apart.”

A dozen players were separated by four shots going into the weekend, including defending champion Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington.

Kaymer had to play eight holes in surprisingly cold weather – so cold that Mahan donned a ski cap in Miami – and shot 66. He was steady in the afternoon, never a serious threat to chase down Mahan, just hanging around.

It was the work of a No. 1 player, and one that doesn’t figure to relinquish it any time soon.

“Especially after the PGA Championship, a lot of people thought that this may be the end of my career, especially in Germany,” he said. “For me, it was very important that I keep winning. Of course, I’m happy and I’m very satisfied. But it’s not the final satisfaction.”

It was tough for Ryo Ishikawa, Yuta Ikeda or Hiroyuki Fujita to take much satisfaction out of whatever they did. The three Japanese players in the field struggled with news of the devastating earthquake at home.

Ishikawa at least was able to contact his family just northwest of Tokyo before resuming his first round in the morning, and he shot a 65 to trail Mahan by one. The afternoon was a struggle, mostly because of the wind, and Ishikawa shot 76.

“I received a communication from my father, and the message was, ‘Focus on your golf, we are fine, do what you need to do,”’ Ishikawa said. For the second round, he said, “It was simply that the Blue Monster decided to be what it’s known to be.”

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.