Van Pelt surprise leader Woods struggles

By Doug FergusonApril 29, 2010, 9:37 pm

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Tiger Woods delivered a few memorable shots of his own Thursday at Quail Hollow on a pleasant day that produced birdies and eagles and plenty of excitement.

It’s just not what he had in mind.

He hit a tee shot into the water on the par-3 17th that produced little reaction except to hold out his hand for another ball. He hit his next tee shot into the water and had to scramble for bogey. And he wound up with a 2-over 74 that left him nine shots behind Bo Van Pelt and ended his streak of 21 straight rounds at par or better.

“I hit a bunch of balls left, I hit a bunch of balls right, hit a few down the middle,” Woods said. “And that was about it.”

For everyone else – Masters champion Phil Mickelson included with his 70 – there was so much more.

Mickelson had a severe stomach ailment that forced him to withdraw from the pro-am Wednesday, and he started feeling it when he climbed the steep hill to the 15th green. He two-putted for birdie to reach 4 under for his round, only to three-putt from the fringe on the 17th and made another bogey from the trees on the 18th.

“I may have run out of energy there toward the end, but I hit some good shots and was able to shoot a decent round,” Mickelson said.

Van Pelt is using an old putter that he had refurbished, and he already got strong results in Hilton Head two weeks ago with a tie for third, his best finish of the year. The opening round of the Quail Hollow Championship was even better, as Van Pelt made birdie on all the par 5s and made it through the tough closing stretch with all pars.

Kenny Perry shot a 66 and didn’t let the finish ruin his day. After a flawless shot into 8 feet for eagle on the par-5 seventh, he hit his drive 35 yards short of the green on the par-4 eighth and had an open angle at the pin. But he didn’t commit to the delicate wedge, and the ball rolled back to his feet. That turned potential birdie – and the outright lead – into a bogey.

“One little blunder,” Perry said. “But it was a fun round of golf. It’s been a long time since I’ve played like that.”

Camilo Villegas played bogey-free for a 67, while the group at 68 featured a collection of players that included former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, Monday qualifier Billy Mayfair and Brad Faxon, who has made only two cuts this year while spending time working for NBC Sports.

“When you start trending like I did with a 74th-place finish last week, you could see this coming,” Faxon said, laughing.

Woods hasn’t played enough to detect any trends, although this would count as a step backward with his golf. He was coming off a tie for fourth in the Masters, his first competition in five months, in which he broke par all four rounds for the first time at Augusta National.

In his second tournament since his hiatus from being caught in a web of infidelity – the first one with tickets available to the general public – the applause was loud and genuine, with nothing remotely close to heckling.

Trouble was, Woods didn’t give thousands of fans who braved chilly morning weather much to applaud.

There was that opening birdie on the par-5 10th. There also were the two shots into the water, four shots into or close to the trees, and the wrong club on his last hole that sent the ball well over the ninth green for one last bogey.

It was his highest opening round at a regular PGA Tour event since he shot 75 at The Players Championship three years ago. Woods kept his cool on the golf course, but he was in no mood to find a fix when he was done with his round.

“I’m not going to the range today,” he said. “Hell with it.”

It was a wasted opportunity, and Woods knew it. Quail Hollow is among the top courses on the PGA Tour – most players believe it’s as close as any to a major championship – yet there was little defense under warm sunshine and very little wind.

The course played to an average score of 73.25, with 14 players shooting in the 60s and 66 players at par or better.

Van Pelt would not have guessed that, certainly not from what he saw earlier in the week with the fairways firm and the greens running as fast as they ever have.

“The greens have so much slope and they’re so fast,” Van Pelt said. “You can hit it in there close and you’re just trying to two-putt. It’s pretty tricky around the hole. I just tried to take advantage of the opportunities I had, and this is one of those golf courses where if it’s going good, you’d better try to get it. Because it can jump up and grab you in a heartbeat.”

It did that to Woods.

The world’s No. 1 player returns Friday with hopes of sticking around. It has been five years since he missed a cut in a regular PGA Tour event.

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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.