Wie trails Ciganda, Granada by 2 at Tour Champ.

By Doug FergusonNovember 21, 2014, 9:41 pm

NAPLES, Fla. - Michelle Wie suddenly is in a position to consider a million ways how a great year can get even better.

On a tough day that only rewarded the best shots, Wie holed out for eagle with a pitching wedge on her way to a 5-under 67 that moved her up high enough on the leaderboard Friday at the CME Group Tour Championship to get into position for a $1 million bonus.

Carlota Ciganda of Spain took advantage of a putting lesson from Spanish great Jose Maria Olazabal to make five birdies for a 67 that gave her a share of the lead with Julieta Granada of Paraguay, who scrambled for a 71. They were at 7-under 137 going into the weekend at the Tiburon Golf Club.

Morgan Pressel, who rallied on the back nine Thursday to overcome a rugged start, shot a 66 and was one shot out of the lead.

All of them would love to win the LPGA Tour season finale because it's a big title with a $500,000 check for first place. None has a mathematical chance at the $1 million bonus for winning the points-based Race to CME Globe.

And that's where Wie comes in.

Wie, who captured her first major this year at Pinehurst No. 2 in the U.S. Women's Open, is No. 4 in the Race to CME Globe. Only the top three players - Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park and 17-year-old Lydia Ko - can win the $1 million bonus simply by winning the tournament.

Wie needs a little bit of help, only she did most of the heavy lifting.

Even though she made bogey on the par-5 opening hole that irritated her, the 25-year-old from Hawaii bounced back with her eagle on No. 7, birdies on the par 5s and a score that put her only two shots out of the lead.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, videos and photos


"All I want is an opportunity, a chance," Wie said. "I'm really proud of myself for giving myself that today. I just want to go out there tomorrow and put myself in a great position for Sunday. That's all I want, and that's all I'm asking for. Whatever happens, happens."

She did get some help from the top three.

Lewis, who opened with a 69 and was only three shots out of the lead, struggled with distance control in the blustery conditions and had to chip in for birdie and make a tough par putt on the 18th to salvage a 74. He was six shots out of the lead.

Park couldn't get a putt to drop. She also had a 74. Ko had another 71 and was five shots behind.

"Six back is not a horrible position," Lewis said. "I don't think anybody is running away with this thing. I think it's going to end up being pretty bunched up at the end and probably a playoff on Sunday. I'm right where I need to be. I'm trying not to think about player of the year and all that stuff. It's up there, but trying not to think about it."

Lewis can sweep all the significant awards at this LPGA Tour finale provided she finishes ahead of Park, and so far she is three shots ahead. Not to be forgotten is that $1 million packaged in $100 in a glass case that they posed with on the eve of the tournament.

Along with prize money, the winner of the Race to CME Globe will receive the largest single-day payoff in the history of women's golf.

The first step is to try to catch the leaders.

Ciganda was home in Spain last week when she called Olazabal and asked him for a lesson.

"We stay there like three hours on the putting green, just hitting putts," Ciganda said. "He told me a few things and it seems like it's working, so I'm pretty happy. I have to thank him. Then we played last Friday before coming here, so it was really nice to play. He's so passionate about golf. It just his life."

And how did that match turn out? Ciganda teamed with a Challenge Tour player in Europe, their best ball against Olazabal.

"We won on the last hole," she said. "But it was tough."

Pressel was 3 over through 10 holes in the opening round when she battled back for a 72. She was headed for another slow start Friday until knocking in a 15-foot par putt on the third hole, and then she was on her way to the best round of the day.

Granada spent most her time swapping birdies with bogeys, though she stayed atop the leaderboard.

Sarah Jane Smith (69) and Sandra Gal (71) joined Wie at 5-under 139, while So Yeon Ryu had another 70 and was three shots out of the lead. Ryu is at No. 5 in the Race to CME Globe and is on the fringe on contending for the big bonus.

The weekend is important for Wie to keep moving forward, and for Lewis, Park and Ko to start making up ground.

"You can make up a lot of ground quickly," Granada said. "But your game has to be on. The toughness of the course will show it."

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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


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

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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.