McDowell Yang tied at top of Chevron World Challenge

By Doug FergusonDecember 6, 2009, 4:19 am
Chevron World ChallengeTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Graeme McDowell was surprised as anyone to hear the news last week about Tiger Woods in a car accident, having no idea where it would lead – for either of them.

Woods was caught up in allegations of extramarital affairs that brought made headlines around the world. McDowell was summoned to replace him in the Chevron World Challenge, which could turn into quite the bounty.

McDowell played a six-hole stretch at Sherwood in 6-under par Saturday on his way to a 6-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Y.E. Yang (71) going into the final round of the $5.75 tournament.

They were at 10-under 206, two shots ahead of Padraig Harrington and European tour money winner Lee Westwood, with Ian Poulter and Jim Furyk another shot behind.

“Obviously, a huge blow for the tournament not to have Tiger here,” McDowell said. “I feel very fortunate to receive the invite. It was a great opportunity for me.”

Timing is everything for McDowell, a 30-year-old from Northern Ireland who is No. 55 in the world. Because this is the first year Woods’ tournament offers world ranking points, a victory or even top finish likely makes him eligible for the Masters.

McDowell was at the World Cup in China last week, presumably his last tournament of the year. He planned to go home to Florida instead of chasing world ranking points in Australia, believing he could crack the top 50 next year to get an Augusta National invite.

That’s when he got the call that Woods might not play.

He was to fly through Los Angeles on his way home, and when he arrived Sunday night, he was asked to stick around for one day until Woods knew for sure what he was doing.

McDowell ran off three straight birdies on his back nine, then ripped a 3-wood into 15 feet on the par-5 13th for an eagle, finishing his stretch with a long birdie on the 15th. His only flaw came from a soft lie in the bunker on the par-5 16th, where a fat shot went into the hazard and he took double bogey.

Yang also was in China for the World Cup and knew he was playing Sherwood all along. He wasn’t planning on a fever that has dogged him throughout the week, although it’s hard to tell from the score.

The PGA champion opened with a birdie with hopes of a big day, then stalled until making two birdies on the back nine.

“As the day went by and my body wore down a bit more, I bogeyed a few holes,” he said.

Oddly enough, few players felt worse than Harrington, who had a 70 and is very much in contention to win for the first time this year. Why the sad face? Harrington isn’t quite sure.

The Irishman felt no coordination over any of his shots, one of those days when he walked off the first green and couldn’t wait to get back to the clubhouse.

“I must have got out of be don the wrong side or something,” Harrington said. “Something wasn’t right today. I played great yesterday, played good the first day, played horrible today. Who know what will happen tomorrow?”

He was expecting just about anything – from him and everyone else.

Eight players were separated by three shots on a course that features five par 5s, where birdies and bogeys await at every turn. Also in the hunt were Sean O’Hair and Kenny Perry, both at 7-under 209.

Harrington year has been under great scrutiny, a three-time major champion to spent six months searching for a swing key and didn’t get very good results – much less a victory. What would it mean to finally get a win in the last tournament of his season?

“I just can’t get too much into that,” he said. “That’s not going to help me win tomorrow. I’ll wait for the results and we can decide how important it is for my year.”

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.