Watson out front at Doral; Woods 7 back

By Doug FergusonMarch 9, 2012, 11:29 pm

DORAL, Fla. — Bubba Watson and Justin Rose put on an amazing show of birdies in blustery conditions at Doral, making 17 between them while playing in the same group Friday at the Cadillac Championship.

Their playful fuel was decided by Watson’s eagle, giving him a 10-under 62 and a one-shot lead.

Watson belted a 3-iron that barely got over a palm tree, carried over the water into the wind and settled 6 feet away on the par-5 eighth for an eagle putt that gave him a one-shot lead over Rose.

Mark Wilson, the third in that group, shot a respectable 70 and was just along for the ride.

“They did everything right,” Wilson said. “It was some of the best golf I’ve seen collectively between them.”

Watson was at 12-under 132 and will get to play again in the final group Saturday with Rose, who had to settle for a 64.

“Maybe they’ve been cutting the hole a little bigger,” Rose said.

Despite the steady wind, there were plenty of low scores on the Blue Monster. The average score was 69.9, close to three strokes easier than the opening round. There were 12 scores in the 60s on Thursday, and 31 of them Friday.

Tiger Woods played bogey-free for a 67 and actually lost ground. He moved up the leaderboard, but is seven shots behind going into the weekend, with 14 players ahead of him.

“This is the highest score I could have shot today, for sure,” Woods said.

Rory McIlroy, in his first tournament as the new world No. 1, managed a 69 and fell 10 shots off the lead.

Perhaps most peculiar about Watson being atop the leaderboard at Doral is that he really doesn’t like the course. Without many trees except for the waving palms, he can’t figure out where he’s supposed to be hitting the ball. But he kept hitting it long, had short irons into the greens and made his share of putts. That works just about anywhere.

As always, there were a few shots that only Watson can see.

He was so far left of the sixth fairway, that a tree was blocking his path to the green. Watson had only 135 yards to the hole, but instead of playing a sand wedge, he hit 9-iron and aimed it some 20 yards right of the green, slicing it back into the left-to-right wind beyond the hole until the wind pushed it back on the descent. It landed 6 feet from the cup.

His caddie, Ted Scott, keeps notes in the yardage book of how Watson plays each hole in every round. Next to the 9-iron from 135 yards, he put in parentheses, “Wow.”

There was another “wow” inscription two holes later.

Watson was in the fairway on the par-5 eighth, but the best path to the green was around a palm tree near the ropes where the photographers were camped out.

“I took it right up the edge of that tree. There’s a little tree there and it actually nicked that limb a little bit,” Watson said. “I hit it as hard as I could, just a low, what everybody calls a stinger. Hit as hard as I could low and knew it wasn’t going to slice. So all I was protecting was the draw and it went dead straight and came off perfect. And the rest is history.”

He went from one shot behind to one shot ahead of Rose, who had nothing to apologize about his 64. Rose, who contended last week in the wind at the Honda Classic, ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn, the exception coming on the 18th.

Rose was among those caught up in the Bubba show.

“I don’t let it influence my game plan, the way I play the golf course, but definitely you keep one eye on him just out of interest,” Rose said. “He’s a fun guy to watch play golf. When he hits tee shots, there’s a bit of disbelief and stuff like that, or he curves one, starts one in the trees and there’s `Ooohing’ and `Aahhhing’ when it goes back into the fairways.

“No one knows what to expect and I think it’s fascinating to watch.”

Even with the tees moved slightly forward and slightly less wind, the par-4 18th still played difficult. There were five birdies, compared with only two birdies in the opening round.

Adam Scott had one of them, holing a 20-foot putt for a birdie-birdie finish that allowed him to recover from a double bogey on the eighth hole. He shot a 68 and was at 10-under 134, two shots out of the lead.

“Right where I want to be,” Scott said. “The guys shot some unbelievably good scores out there today, so I knew on that back nine as I was kind of falling a long way behind, I needed to step it up, and I was happy the putter really came through for me. Tomorrow, I’m just going to have to be really sharp, because there’s no doubt again there are going to be low scores out there.”

Peter Hanson, who reached the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship, took another step toward trying to secure a PGA Tour card. He had a 65 and was alone in fourth in this World Golf Championship.

Thomas Bjorn has yet to make a bogey in 36 holes and had another 68. He was four shots behind, tied with PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who had a 67. The group at 7-under 137 included Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and former PGA champion Martin Kaymer.

“You’ll take that any week,” Bjorn said. “I’m not making a big number of birdies, obviously, but when you can keep big mistakes off your scorecard, that’s the key to this golf course. It’s very easy to make some big mistakes and it’s difficult to get it back.”

Phil Mickelson was 1 under after a 71.


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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

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


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Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


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

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Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


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Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

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Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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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.