Mickelson beats Els Woods for HSBC title

By Doug FergusonNovember 8, 2009, 4:56 pm

HSBC Championship

SHANGHAI – Phil Mickelson won the HSBC Champions on Sunday by rallying against a familiar foe.

Only it wasn’t Tiger Woods.

Mickelson made an 18-footer to save par on the 16th after whiffing on a flop shot, then holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th to close with a 3-under 69 and overcome a late charge by Ernie Els, who was in the lead until hitting into the water and making bogey on the final hole.

Woods was never a factor in the final World Golf Championship of the year, falling six shots behind on the front nine and doing well to stay on the leaderboard the rest of the way. He hit into the water with his third shot on the par-5 18th and had to scramble for bogey to close with a 72 and tie for sixth, five shots behind.

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods didn't present much of a challenge to Phil Mickelson. (Getty Images)
It was the third time in his last four tries that Woods played in the final group without winning.

Mickelson finished at 17-under 271 and earned $1.2 million in winning his second WGC event of the year. It was the first time he won a tournament while playing in the final group with Woods.

As clutch as Mickelson was down the stretch, Els was the opposite.

The South African, devastated when Mickelson beat him with a birdie on the final hole of the 2004 Masters, was 10 under for his round and had a one-shot lead playing the 538-yard 18th. From the middle of the fairway, he went at the green with a fairway metal and landed in the middle of the lake.

Els had 218 yards to the front of the green on a downslope in the fairway, not enough for him to hit 4-iron, while a 3-iron might go over the green and down the bank into the water. He opted to hit a high cut with his 5-wood and “basically duffed it.”

“But I can’t think about that,” Els said, who started the round seven shots behind. “For me to come back all the way, to actually share the lead at that point, was quite nice. I’m disappointed about that, but I’m going to really think about the 63 I shot.”

Els settled for a share of the course record at Sheshan International, a 9-under 63 matched earlier in the day by Rory McIlroy, who finished fourth, and Daisuke Maruyama of Japan.

Els waited in the scoring trailer for Mickelson to finish, and Lefty tried to keep it interesting. He drove into the massive gallery lining the left side of the fairway, then hit into the left rough just short of a bunker. But he hit wedge safely to the middle of the green, and rolled his birdie putt within tap-in range for another victory.

Mickelson won for the fourth time this year, tying a career best.

Ryan Moore, who only qualified for the HSBC Champions by winning his first PGA Tour title in August, closed with a 68 and finished alone in third, which should be enough to move him into the top 50 in the world.

Even with Woods out of the way, Mickelson has a way to keeping it entertaining.

Despite birdies on the 13th and 14th to keep him in the race with Els, it was a par that turned the tournament in his favor.

Mickelson was left of the 288-yard 16th green in short rough, a pot bunker separating him from the flag. Mickelson went for a high flop shot, and was stunned when the club slid through the grass and barely moved the ball.

He tried a bump-and-run that came up short and appeared destined to make bogey. His putt came off the hump of the green, and Mickelson pointed to the cup with his putter as it took one last turn to the left and dropped for par.

“I thought that was one of the best putts I’ve made in a long time,” Mickelson said. “When I made that putt – I didn’t know what Ernie was doing on 18 – but I knew I had a chance.”

McIlroy’s strong finish for fourth place allowed him to move into second place behind Lee Westwood in the Race to Dubai with one only tournament remaining before the Dubai World Championship and the $7.5 million bonus pool.

“It certainly gives me a lot of momentum going into the next two weeks,” McIlroy said. “Hopefully, it’s a bit of a springboard into the next two weeks. Looking forward to it now.”

Woods couldn’t wait to get out of China, where he had finished second his previous two trips to the HSBC Champions.

“Anything that could go wrong went wrong for me today,” Woods said.

Starting the round two shots behind, and playing in the final group with his chief nemesis for the first time in more than four years, Woods missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the second hole and a 10-foot birdie on the third. He followed that by hitting his tee shot into the water on the fourth for double bogey.

Then came a camera click on his tee shot at the seventh, leading security officials to manhandle one spectator back inside the ropes, and temporarily strip the credentials from a Reuters photographer who they thought had taken the picture early. He eventually was allowed to stay on the job.

Woods was on the verge of shooting 40 on the front nine until making his first birdie, then he followed with two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. By then, he simply was too far behind.

“I didn’t really envision shooting even par today,” Woods said. “I would have had to have shot 67 to get into a playoff. So the guys took it deep, and I didn’t.”

Mickelson now heads into a long winter’s break. Sunday was his final round of the year, and he now takes three months off before starting his 2010 season at Torrey Pines in late January.

 

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.

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.