Piercy leads at Torrey Mickelson six back

By Doug FergusonJanuary 29, 2010, 4:45 am
Farmers Insurance OpenSAN DIEGO – Scott Piercy had the best score at the Farmers Insurance Open because he made nine birdies, but Robert Allenby might have had the best round because he made no bogeys in Thursday’s first round.

Adding to the complexity was Phil Mickelson, who was so excited to get his season started that he played with caution, yet one of his best birdies came after he hit his tee shot into the parking lot.

A glorious day along the Pacific coast ended under a clear sky, even if nothing about the leaderboard will clear up until the weekend. The tournament is played on two courses that couldn’t be more different – the North Course is 712 yards shorter than the South Course, which hosted a U.S. Open two years ago.

Piercy played the North and watched his scores go south in a round of 8-under 64. He made seven birdies on the front nine and even entertained thoughts of a 59 until a bogey on his 11th hole. He was not the least bit devastated.

“I shoot 59 every day,” Piercy said. “I just have to keep on going, usually.”

He had a one-shot lead over Ben Crane, Chris Tidland, Ryuji Imada and Matt Every, with Tom Pernice Jr. another shot back after a 66. They all played the North Course, and will have to tackle the big South on Friday.

That’s what made Allenby’s round so impressive.

One of the hottest players in golf, Allenby made a couple of big par saves late in his day to protect a bogey-free round of 67, making him the only player among the top 15 after the opening round to play on the South.

He felt as though he were leading the tournament, even if he was tied for seventh.

“I gauge myself off this golf course,” Allenby said. “This is a real golf course. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have had a U.S. Open here. I don’t want to say the other course is Mickey Mouse because that would be rude. But it’s Mickey Mouse-ish.”

Ryan Palmer, who beat Allenby on the final hole in Honolulu two weeks ago, played in the group behind him and would have joined him with the low score on the South if not for a bogey on the 17th. Even so, Palmer was thrilled with his start, and couldn’t help but notice the “NC” – North Course – listed next to all the names on the electronic leaderboard.

“There’s definitely a lot of North Course scores,” he said. “I’m fortunate to play well on this golf course. I’m happy to get out of there with a round under par.”

He played in front of the largest gallery, mainly because of the company he kept – Mickelson, the No. 2 player in the world who is getting plenty of attention this year as someone who could give golf a boost during the indefinite break of Tiger Woods.

They had the biggest crowd, even if it never topped more than about 750 people. The cheers for the occasional birdie were not enough to offset the military jets zooming out to the sea from nearby Miramar Air Force Base.

Mickelson played a steady hand.

“I was a little more cautious today because I didn’t want to make too many big mistakes,” Mickelson said. “I want to work my way into the tournament. (Jack) Nicklaus used to talk about that in majors, that he wanted to try to progress as the week went along, and I didn’t want to try to come out and win the tournament on Thursday, because it’s just not possible.

“I’m hoping I play better tomorrow and shoot a low score on the North, good enough to get myself in contention for the weekend.”

Mickelson had a pair of bogeys from the fairway bunkers, and a three-putt bogey on the 10th. What helped was his exceptional play on the par 5s. He reached three of them with his second shot to set up two-putt birdies.

The other came on the 614-yard ninth.

Mickelson watched his drive sail way to the left, over a green-mesh fence along the fairway. He hit a provisional tee shot, then had a rules official meet him at the fence. Sure enough, his ball landed in a makeshift parking lot outside the Scripps medical clinic. Because the parking lot is considered a temporary immovable obstruction, he was given a free drop, and ultimately made a 12-foot birdie putt.

He sure wasn’t thinking birdie as his tee shot cleared the fence.

“Probably unlikely, I would say,” Mickelson said, grinning. “I’ve been over there before, and I had a pretty good idea that the parking lot was a temporary immovable obstruction. So I was able to get relief.”

More relief should come on Friday on the North Course, which played more than 2 1/2 shots easier.

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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.

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.