Stanley collapses; Snedeker wins Farmers

By Doug FergusonJanuary 30, 2012, 1:03 am

SAN DIEGO – Brandt Snedeker won the Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff not even he thought was possible.

Kyle Stanley led by seven shots early in the final round Sunday, and he still had a four-shot lead as he stood on the 18th tee at Torrey Pines. Just like that, he went from being anointed a rising star to a meltdown that ranks among the most shocking in golf.

Snedeker, in the group ahead of him, hit wedge to a foot for birdie and a 67, then drove up to the media tent for an interview as the runner-up. He arrived in time to watch Stanley spin a wedge into the water, then three-putt from 45 feet for a triple-bogey 8 and a 74.

Two playoff holes later, both were in shock.

Snedeker’s tee shot hopped over the green and would have gone into a canyon except that it bounced off a television tower. He chipped to about 5 feet and made the par. Stanley three-putted again from just outside 45 feet, his five-foot par putt catching the right lip.

“It’s just crazy,” Snedeker said. “To get my mind around what happened the last 30 minutes is pretty hard to do right now. My heart is out to Kyle. I feel bad for him to have to go through this.”

Stanley, whose power, poise and polish was on display all week, was reduced to tears. His eyes were glassy and his lip quivered as he tried to answer questions, a sad ending to an otherwise spectacular week along the Pacific bluffs.

“It’s not a hard golf hole,” Stanley said. “I could probably play it a thousand times and never make an 8.”

But he did Sunday, a painful lesson for the 24-year-old out of Clemson.

Snedeker is making a habit of these comebacks. In all three of his PGA Tour wins, he trailed by at least five shots going into the last round. At Hilton Head last year, he came from six shots back and wound up beating Luke Donald in a playoff.

This one was handed to him.

“This one I kind of backed into,” Snedeker said. “You never like winning a tournament that way. But you do like winning.”

Stanley birdied his first two holes – Snedeker was nine behind at that point – and led by six shots at the turn until he started dropping shots from the sand. Even so, he made three straight par putts, starting with a 12-footer on the 14th, to seemingly regain control.

The kid knows heartache. Last summer, he was two shots ahead at the John Deere Classic until he bogeyed the final hole from a bunker, and Steve Stricker closed with two straight birdies to win.

This loss, however, put him in the wrong kind of company.

It was reminiscent of Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie, who made triple bogey on the last hole of the 1999 British Open and lost in a playoff; of Robert Garrigus, who made triple bogey on the last hole of the St. Jude Classic in 2010 and lost in a playoff; and even of Frank Lickliter at Torrey Pines, who three-putted from 12 feet on the 17th hole in 2001 to make triple bogey in the third playoff hole in losing to Phil Mickelson.

“I know I’ll be back,” Stanley said, pausing to allow the words to come out of his mouth. “It’s tough to swallow right now.”

Stanley stood over a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole with a four-shot lead, and it was matter of staying upright for the next 20 minutes to collect his first PGA Tour win.

If only it were that simple.

Snedeker made his tap-in birdie to finish at 16-under 272. Stanley hit a 300-yard drive and kept it simple by laying up.

Then, he fell apart.

His sand wedge had too much spin and did not get high enough on the green, spinning quickly down the slope and off the green, and it slowly tumbled down the bank and into the water. Stanley showed little emotion, took his drop in the first cut to eliminate some of the spin, and his fifth shot was safely on the back of the green, some 45 feet away.

With a putt down into the bowl of the green, he came up about 3 1/2 feet short, then missed it well to the left for a triple-bogey 8. He had to sign for a 74, without breaking the pencil, then head back to the 18th for a playoff.

Snedeker caught a minor break on the first extra hole when his second shot stopped directly in front of a loose divot. He managed to remove it without moving the ball, then hit sand wedge to 3 feet for birdie. Stanley went for the green in two this time. He went just over the green and chipped down to the same spot as Snedeker and matched his birdie.

It ended on the par-3 16th in a playoff, when again Snedeker looked to be in trouble and wound up a winner.

John Rollins had 235 yards to the green on the 18th hole, two shots behind Snedeker, two shots clear of fourth place. He elected to lay up and wound up with a par. It gave him a 71, and he finished alone in third at 14-under 274.

John Huh, the 21-year-old rookie out of Q-school, had a buried lie in a bunker, a duffed chip, a chip-in for birdie and an approach that nearly went over the cliff, all in the first four holes. He birdied the last for a 74, and while he was never a factor in the final group, he at least tied for sixth and earned a spot next week in the Phoenix Open.

But this was a two-man show at the end.

And for the longest time on a day filled with sunshine and hang gliders, it was a one-man show.

Staked to a five-shot lead, Stanley didn’t let anyone close to him until early on the back nine.

His opening tee shot showed some nerves, as the ball went well right and into a torrey pine, settling on the cart path. His approach was conservative, away from the bunker. From there, he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt down the hill, and Stanley was off and running. He holed a 7-foot birdie putt on the next hole, and when Rollins made bogey on No. 3, the lead was up to seven shots.

Only when Snedeker began to creep up the board did the lead finally get under six shots, and then Stanley made it hard on himself.

Starting with the par-3 eighth hole, he was in five bunkers on the next seven holes, and three of them led to bogeys. He hit a splendid shot from the sand on the par-3 11th, only to miss a three-foot par putt.

From a fairway bunker on the 14th, he came up well short of the green to protect from going long and into the hazard and chipped weakly to just outside 12 feet. He saved par, made a five-foot putt to save par from a bunker on the 15th and completed a long two-putt par on the 16th with an eight-footer. And when Snedeker made his only bogey ahead of him on the 17th, Stanley looked to be in the clear.

How quickly it all changed.

“He’s going to have a tough night,” Snedeker said. “But he’s going to be better for it.”

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

Getty Images

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.

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.