McDowell leads big names through 54 at WGC-HSBC

By Doug FergusonNovember 8, 2014, 9:21 am

SHANGHAI – Graeme McDowell lost command of the HSBC Champions. At least he kept the lead.

McDowell rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole Saturday that stretched his lead to four shots. That was his final birdie on a cold, gray afternoon at Sheshan International. He finished with a 1-under 71 and saw his lead dwindle to a single shot over Hiroshi Iwata of Japan.

U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer and Masters champion Bubba Watson were two shots back.

''Let's be honest. Yes, I had a three-shot lead overnight and it's only one now,'' McDowell said. ''But I'll take this position any week that you offer it to me – a one-shot lead going into the last round on a golf course that I enjoy. Looking forward to the opportunity tomorrow.''

McDowell was at 11-under 205.

He will try to complete a wire-to-wire victory for his first World Golf Championship. If Saturday was any indication, it won't be easy. Not only did he lose ground on the back nine by making mostly pars, several players got back into the mix.

Rickie Fowler overcame a double bogey on No. 9 with a 32 on the back nine for a 69. He was three shots behind, along with Tim Clark (69). Ian Poulter wasn't at his best with the putter and had to settle for a 72, though he remained in the mix just four shots behind with Thorbjorn Olesen (69).


WGC-HSBC Champions: Articles, videos and photos


Iwata was a gate-crasher on a leaderboard top-heavy with major champions. McDowell had never heard of him until this week, and only saw him swing the club once in the group ahead. He referred to him as one of the ''great young players'' from Japan, unaware that he was 33 and in his 10th full season on the Japan Golf Tour.

He can't be faulted for that. Iwata has one career victory – the Fujisankei Classic – and that was only two months ago.

But he made six birdies on a day when the ball wasn't going anywhere, and neither were the players. It took some 5 1/2 hours to complete the round. Iwata rolled in a long birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 68 that put him in the final group.

''Maybe tomorrow coming up the last few holes, I might get a little bit nervous, but so far I'm calm,'' Iwata said. ''So I think I'm doing OK.''

Kaymer won the HSBC Champions three years ago by closing with a 63, and the German showed he was up to that kind of performance again. He made seven birdies against only one bogey for a 66 that put him in the last group with McDowell and Iwata.

Watson looked powerful as ever and might be leading if not for one troublesome patch at the start of the back nine. With a sand wedge, Watson came up woefully short and caught a plugged lie in the bunker. He blasted out some 40 feet away and three-putted for a double bogey. He missed a short par putt two holes later.

As usual, the final stretch at Sheshan International saved him.

Watson hit his approach to 2 feet on the tough 15th, hit wedge to 3 feet on the 16th for another birdie, and then gouged out a wedge from deep rough that awed the Chinese crowd when it descended from the gray sky and plopped down next to the cup for a final tap-in birdie and a 69.

''A couple three-putts today and a double bogey. That's sad,'' Watson said. ''But the birdies down the stretch really helped out.''

Not to be forgotten was his best shot of the day, a long iron over the creek that nearly went into the hole for an albatross 2 on the par-5 eighth hole. The ball settled just over 3 feet from the hole, except that Watson missed that and had to settle for a birdie.

McDowell had a long three-putt bogey on No. 8 and his lead was down to two shots. But on the 10th, it appeared order would be restored. McDowell rolled in the 30-foot birdie putt up the ridge as Watson was taking double bogey, and the lead suddenly was four shots.

That's as large as it got.

McDowell really only missed on a couple of shots. He faced 240 yards to a narrow opening to the green on the par-5 14th. Wanting to avoid the bunker just left of the green, he pulled it into deep rough and took away his chances of an easy up-and-down. He also hit a sand wedge some 25 feet beyond the cup on the short 16th, where Watson and Poulter birdied to close the gap.

''I felt maybe a tiny bit negative coming in,'' McDowell said. ''But when I went back and sort of thought through my round, you know, it was difficult. ... I wouldn't say I felt loose coming in, but I also knew it wasn't something I had to start protecting. I hit a lot of good putts today that didn't go in, and that's probably the main difference between shooting 1 under and 3 or 4 under today.''

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.