Perez soars into lead at Quail Hollow

By Doug FergusonMay 6, 2011, 10:15 pm

Wells Fargo ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Pat Perez found himself in the middle of all the action for the second week in a row. At least this time, everyone wanted to talk to him about his golf.

Perez went from watching a great round to playing one himself Friday in the Wells Fargo Championship. Four shots behind as he stood on the 13th tee, he ran off five birdies over the last six holes for a 6-under 65 and a two-shot lead going into the weekend.

“That’s not what I had in mind when I stepped on the 13th tee, let me tell you that much,” Perez said.

Everyone was paying attention to Lucas Glover, who was 6 under through 10 holes and in the lead. Perez started making every putt, finishing with a 30-footer on the 17th and firing at the back left flag on the 18th for an 8-foot birdie.

He was at 12-under 132, giving him even more confidence about the overhaul of his swing earlier in the year.

Jonathan Byrd rallied from a double bogey on the 14th – he went bunker to bunker to water – for a 68 that put him two shots behind along with Bill Haas, who finally made a bogey on the 35th hole of the tournament and shot 70.

Phil Mickelson delivered more excitement and saved par from the water for the third time this time. Most of his great shots were for birdie on this day, and the three-time Masters champion wound up with a 66 to position himself nicely for the weekend. Mickelson was at 9-under 135 along with Glover, whose two late bogeys made him settle for a 68.

Perez was popular earlier this week for all the wrong reasons.

He was the third player in the group at New Orleans last week that featured a profanity-filled argument between Rory Sabbatini and Sean O’Hair during the tournament. Perez has turned down several reporters’ requests for comment, saying it didn’t involve him.

Even so, he was happy to get back to the golf this week.

“Sean O’Hair is one of the greatest guys in the world. I love playing with him,” Perez said. “And Rory has his moments. I’ve always along with Rory. I know how to deal with him. For the most part, Rory doesn’t even bother me in the least. It was a tough situation, and I’m hoping it never happens again because you never like to see two players go at it.

“But yeah, it was great to be on the course, and I knew I was playing well,” he said. “Just nice to have peace on the course, and having some laughs and all that kind of stuff. It was nice. It was fun.”

It was better than that. Perez has made so many birdies – 18 in two days – that he couldn’t even keep track.

The question now is how many more he needs to make going into the weekend that is shaping up to be a good show, especially with the rest of the weather – a 90-minute rain delay in the morning – out of the way.

Vijay Singh, who is at No. 54 in the world and needs to play well in the next three weeks to avoid U.S. Open qualifying, struck the ball well for the second straight day and shot 68 to reach 8-under 136, along with former British Open champion Stewart Cink (65) and Carl Pettersson, the Swede who went to school in North Carolina. He had a 68.

Ten players were within five shots of Perez going into the weekend at Quail Hollow.

Among those headed home early are defending champion Rory McIlroy. A year ago, he narrowly made the cut and then shot 62 on Sunday to win. In his return to America after his Masters collapse, McIlroy tried to rally again to get to the weekend, but lost hope when a vicious lipout on the 16th and a bogey on the last two holes. He shot 72 and finished at 3-over 147.

Perez played so poorly on the West Coast that he chose to revamp his swing under Mark Winkley, who uses the “Golfing Machine” concept. He had gone from a steeper takeaway to one that was more flat, and this involved another big adjustment. Then came a change in his putting, from crosshanded to conventional style with a more open stance.

There were a lot of moving parts, and a lot to digest. But after a chat with Steve Elkington, who talked about releasing his hips, something made sense to Perez at the Texas Open and he’s felt great ever since.

“I’m trying to get my body to release and go first and just let the club follow – like all the good players do, the guys that win,” he said.

Mickelson matched his best score in 30 rounds at Quail Hollow and showed why he can be such a big attraction. No one ever knows what’s coming next. After back-to-back birdies, he drove into the water on the 14th, took a penalty shot, and fired a wedge from 139 yards to a back pin to tap-in range for par.

Then came a 30-foot birdie on the 18th, and he made the turn with his confidence surging.

“Today I was thinking of going low,” Mickelson said. “Yesterday I was just kind of fighting to keep the round in check. Yesterday was an important day because I was able to use my short game to keep myself in it and shoot something under par so that when I get a hot day like today where I’m making a few putts, making some birdies, it’s able to move me up the leaderboard rather than just get me back in the middle of the pack.”

Glover had it going to, and it looked as if everything was going his way on the par-5 10th. He drove into the trees, chopped out to the fairway, then hit the top shelf of the green, some 70 feet away. He rolled in the putt for birdie, his sixth in 10 holes.

“It didn’t look like a birdie,” Glover said.

It looked as if he was having a lot of fun, though, as were most of the guys atop the leaderboard.

“I’ve been driving home a lot on Fridays, so I’m happy to get to play golf tomorrow,” Glover said.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.