Marino Points atop the leaderboard at Pebble

By Doug FergusonFebruary 11, 2011, 4:41 am

2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – D.A. Points found the antics of his playing partner Bill Murray more amusing than annoying, and it showed in his 7-under 63 on Thursday to take a share of the first-round lead in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

With eight birdies on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula, Points finished the day level with Steve Marino.

Some might think he shot a 63 despite having actor and comedian Murray in his ear all day. Points says he shot 63 because of him.

“I know people talk about his antics, or he’s a showman while he’s out there, making lots of comments and talking while people are getting ready to hit shots,” Points said. “To be honest, it really loosens me up and makes me between shots not be grinding so hard on what I’m doing. It helps me take a little bit of a breather between shots and joke around with him.”

There was plenty to enjoy for most everyone on a glorious day on the peninsula, with only a mild breeze to accompany views that were as spectacular as ever. Beyond the weather, the conditions on three courses were as good as they have ever been. The fairways were particularly firm on the Shore Course, and the greens were fast everywhere.

The rounds took six hours, as usual, but some of that was because of the speed of the greens.

Marino had a most unusual 7-under 65 at Spyglass Hill in that he failed to birdie any of the par 5s. He still managed seven birdies, including a big drive and a wedge to inside a foot on his final hole. The green is elevated, and Marino only knew it was good when a woman began shrieking after it checked up close to the pin.

“I think your mother likes it,” Mark Long, the caddie for amateur Dermot Desmond, called back to Marino.

Even more pleasing to Marino was the 9-iron he hit on the previous hole, the par-4 eighth, that took one hop and hit the pin before settling about 8 feet away. A year ago on Spyglass, he holed out with an 8-iron.

The best shot of the day belonged to Alex Cejka, who was one shot behind after a 64 on the Shore Course. He started his day by holing out a 3-wood from the fairway on the par-5 10th. The PGA Tour checked its records as far back as 1982 and could not find another player who had started a round with an albatross.

“It was the best start I’ve ever had,” Cejka said in somewhat of an understatement.

“It carried just short of the green and bounced up and took a break toward the hole,” Cejka said. “There were like three or four marshals up there and they started screaming, and suddenly it was in the hole. It’s the first one for me.”

The group at 5 under included Gary Woodland, whose 67 was the best score at Pebble Beach.

Most of the screaming took place on the Shore Course, its second year in the rotation for the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and already one of the favorites. That’s where the celebrity rotation began the tournament, and the crowd followed.

Phil Mickelson didn’t provide too many highlights, opening with a 1-over 71. Dustin Johnson, trying to become the first player since this tournament began in 1937 to win three successive years, made bogeys on two par 5s and had to settle for a 71.

For Points, there were a few trying moments. On the par-3 14th, Murray and former San Francisco 49ers player Harris Barton both made long birdie putts. Then it was Points’ turn.

“I got up over my putt and he started talking to me about he just made a putt, and how Harris just made a putt, and how easy this should be,” Points said.

He three-putted for his only bogey.

“It didn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I just hit two bad putts.”

A year ago, Points was excited to be drawn with Mickelson and Rickie Fowler at Torrey Pines, and with Tiger Woods at Aronomink in the AT&T National. This year topped them all.

He grew up in Illinois, and Murray has long been one of his favorites. He thought about asking tournament officials if he could be paired with the actor, then decided against it. Imagine his surprise when someone sent a text to his wife Tuesday that Murray would be his partner, and the phone call that followed the next morning.

“I’ve got this message on my phone,” Points said. “He says, ‘D.A., this is Bill Murray. … I got your number from the Police Department.”’

Murray invited him to play that afternoon at Cypress Point, and Points said he played the final four holes—some of the most beautiful of any golf course around the world—as the sun was setting over the Pacific.

While telling the story, Points mentioned Thursday was his daughter’s first birthday.

“This week so far just seems to keep getting better and better and better,” he said. “I’m having a good time.” 

So is Murray. In the pro-am portion of the tournament, they opened with a 59.

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.