Stanley steams to 5-shot lead in Farmers

By Doug FergusonJanuary 29, 2012, 12:46 am

SAN DIEGO - Hang gliders were taking off from the cliffs behind the 13th tee at Torrey Pines, where Kyle Stanley was waiting to tee off on the 524-yard hole. Then, the 24-year-old launched a shot that was just as majestic.

Wait `til to you see where this one went, caddie Brett Waldman said.

On another clear day along the Pacific coast, it was hard not to notice.

In a familiar performance'even if the name might not be all that familiar now'Stanley overpowered the South Course on Saturday on his way to a 4-under 68 that gave him a five-shot lead going into the final round at the Farmers Insurance Open.

For some reason, Ive always been long, said Stanley, who has a slight but athletic build and generates enormous speed. But if you take a golf course like this where youre hitting 7-irons into par 5s and short irons into long par 4s, it definitely helps.

It never hurt Tiger Woods, a seven-time winner as a pro at Torrey Pines.

Stanley chose to lay up on the par-5 18th with the large pond in front and spun a wedge near the hole to about four feet. About his only regret in the third round was missing that putt. One last birdie would have broken the 54-hole tournament record that Woods set in 1998, before Rees Jones beefed up the South Course to 7,698 yards for the 2008 U.S. Open.

Stanley grew up outside Seattle when Woods ruled the sport. All through his school, he kept a poster of Woods over his bed.

I think hes definitely influenced me and a lot of other people, too, Stanley said.

He gladly settled for a spot alongside Woods in the record book at 18-under 198 and a five-shot lead over John Huh and John Rollins as he goes after his first PGA Tour title.

Stanley cant recall ever having a lead this large, which can be troublesome if looked upon as only an opportunity to fail.

I think the biggest thing is you cant necessarily go out there and try to protect it, Stanley said. Youve got to really just keep doing what got you to this point. Im not going to be any more conservative tomorrow. Ill stick to my game plan off the tee and hopefully just continue to give myself a lot of chances.

He hit driver on all but three holes, and four of them traveled at least 320 yards, a big number considering Torrey Pines is just a cliff over sea level, and even in pleasant weather, the ball doesnt go quite as far as summer in Ohio.

Big numbers are nothing new for Stanley, however.

He recalls coming down to the Titleist Performance Institute when he was a 17-year-old in his senior year in high school. His ball speed was measured at 184 mph.

Now, I cant get it above 176, he said.

It wasnt just the big drives. Stanley showed exquisite control of his irons, especially his distance, and he has been working overtime the last few years on dialing in his wedges from inside 120 yards.

Even so, he refused to look ahead to Sunday and what a win might mean'a trip to the Masters, perhaps a spot in the World Golf Championships, a two-year exemption.

No one was giving him the trophy, either.

If a guy had a 10 or 12-shot lead, youd feel pretty comfortable, Rollins said after his 68. But when youre four or five shots, sometimes its hard to play with a big lead because you get kind of relaxed and everything else.

Rollins should know. He had a three-shot lead with five holes to play in 2009, losing to Nick Watney.

Still, Stanley, the former All-American from Clemson, aspires to play boring golf and not look too far ahead.

His lone bogey came on the 12th, when he went just over the green, chipped to 6 feet and missed the putt. Then came the big blast on the 13th'As good as I can possibly hit it, he said'that left him a soft 7-iron to 15 feet on the fringe below the hole for an easy birdie.

Are you playing this as a par 4? Sang-Moon Bae turned and said to him with a smile.

Huh, a 21-year-old rookie who spent three years on the Korean Tour, also had a 68 and joined Rollins at 13-under 203. FedEx Cup champion

Bill Haas (70) and Bae (72) were another shot behind. Bae was 5 over through five holes until he ran off four straight birdies to start the back nine to get his name back on the leader board.

The question is whether anyone else is in contention.

Stanley is no surprise to those who play with him or watch him hit balls, and he nearly joined the parade of rookie winners last year until Steve Stricker rallied with birdies on the last two holes to beat him in the John Deere Classic.

Stanley had a one-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker going into the third round at Torrey Pines and before long had a comfortable lead, just as Woods has done on this public course.

From deep rough on the par-5 sixth, Stanley hammered a shot just short of the green and pitched up to 12 feet for birdie. He hit sand wedge to 10 feet on the 10th for another birdie, then established himself on the back nine.

Along with the easy birdie on the 13th, Stanley saved par on the 14th. The day before, his approach jumped out of the rough and over the green for a double bogey. Playing it safe this time, he hit a 9-iron that went well short, into the bunker but blasted out to 8 feet and made a tricky, downhill putt for par.

His final birdie came on a 20-foot putt at the par-3 16th. No one else could make a move.

Snedeker went to tap in a two-foot par putt on the seventh and was shocked when it made a horseshoe around the cup. He then missed his next five greens in regulation, and when he got home in two on the 13th, he three-putted. Snedeker had a 74 and fell seven behind.

This is something you dream about as a kid, Stanley said. But theres still one more round.

DIVOTS: Jay Don Blake in 1991 was the last player to make Torrey Pines his first PGA Tour victory. Ryo Ishikawa had his third consecutive round of 69 and was tied for 11th. Jonas Blixt had the low round Saturday at 65. Under a University of Farmers campaign, that was worth a $20,000 donation to his alma mater, Florida State. Cameron Tringale (Georgia Tech) had a 66 to finish second, which was worth $10,000.

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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

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Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

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

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

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Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

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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.