Watson holes out, ties course record, leads Hero

By Doug FergusonDecember 5, 2015, 8:15 pm

NASSAU, Bahamas - Bubba Watson holed out with a 7-iron for eagle, made seven birdies and tied the course record with a 9-under 63 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Paul Casey going into the final round of the Hero World Challenge.

Watson's tied the record at Albany Golf Club that had been set 10 minutes earlier by Casey, who had nine birdies on a clean card.

It was an example of what can happen with a world-class field on a course that featured pure greens and virtually no wind. The tee times were moved up to avoid afternoon thunderstorms, and most of the 18-man field had its way with the Ernie Els design.

''As we're seeing, when there's no wind - light wind - we can score,'' Watson said. ''We're all good players, don't get me wrong. We're all top 50 in the world. But with no wind, this golf course is a little bit easier to make birdies. Obviously, 20 mile-an-hour winds, this golf course becomes a beast.''

Watson was at 19-under 197, one short of the 54-hole tournament record Jordan Spieth set last year at Isleworth in Florida.

This is the first time the World Challenge is being played at Albany after one year at Isleworth and 14 years at Sherwood Country Club in California.

Spieth, in a three-way tie for the lead with Jimmy Walker and Bill Haas at the start of the day, had a 68 and fell four shots behind.

''I shot 68 and got lapped,'' Spieth said. ''It was a day where you really needed to shoot lower. Par for the course is 5 under, especially in these conditions.''


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Casey made nine birdies in his opening 13 holes, and then had to settle for par for a third straight day on the reachable par-4 14th. He is among four players who have yet to win anywhere in the world this year.

Casey wants to support the Tiger Woods Foundation for its work with children and education. He also mentioned the world ranking points and the prize money ($1 million) for the winner. And he would like a trophy to show for his good play this year.

''So there's multiple reasons, about four really good reasons,'' he said about the importance of winning. ''Five if you count (Christmas) shopping.''

Even with the low scoring, Watson didn't get that much separation. Chris Kirk and Patrick Reed each had a 66 and were three shots behind, followed by Spieth and Haas, who also had a 68.

Woods is the tournament host and followed along the final group throughout the front nine, occasionally giving good friend and NBC Sports reporter Notah Begay a lift.

Watson started the third round one shot behind and made up ground in a hurry with birdies on the first two holes. He faced a little wind from 168 yards in the fairway on No. 4 and chose to take off a little on his 7-iron, which turned out to be a wise move when he holed it for eagle.

He never saw it go in, and there isn't much of a gallery this week.

''I heard a yell,'' he said. ''At least it wasn't my mom yelling. I heard somebody.''

Reed was going nowhere with one birdie on the front nine when he saw the scores and figured he better get in gear. Wrapping up his worldwide tour, Reed ran off three straight birdies and then had an eagle on the par-5 15th to get back in the game.

''I finally made a putt and it just kind of propelled me from there,'' he said.

Spieth is playing his final round of the year Sunday, and he said he would fire at every flag.

''It will be a sprint,'' he said. ''And then relief.''

Justin Rose, who now makes his primary home at Albany, finally got it going until a triple bogey on the 18th dropped him to a 70. He was 16 shots behind. The tough finish belonged to Anirban Lahiri, whose tee shot hit and bloodied a spectator on the final hole.

Two hours after the round, Lahiri was still looking for the man to make sure he was OK and perhaps invite him in for lunch.

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.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.