Woods in control at Chevron World Challenge

By Doug FergusonDecember 4, 2010, 5:07 am
Chevron World ChallengeTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Tiger Woods is starting to look like his old self at the Chevron World Challenge.

Woods got off to a blazing start Friday and a solid putting stroke enabled him to play bogey-free in the second round for a 6-under 66 that gave him a four-shot lead going into the weekend of his final tournament this year.

Woods was at 13-under 131, his best 36-hole score this year by six shots. And the four-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell had to be a refreshing change for a guy who has been at least nine shots back through 36 holes in seven tournaments this year.

“I’ve been here before, so it’s not a strange feeling,” Woods said. “It’s just one of those things where tomorrow is the same game plan, just go out there and plot my way along and take care of the par 5s.”

He did that again on a pleasant day in the Conejo Valley, and now has played the five par 5s at Sherwood Country Club in 10 under through two rounds. That included an eagle on the second hole, and perhaps Woods’ most impressive shot of the day, if not the year. He hit a 4-iron from a hanging lie so severe that it caused Woods to stumble down the hill after impact.

The ball landed 8 feet away to the right of the pin.

And on the next hole, when Woods made a superb par save with a putter through a swale to about 3 feet, caddie Steve Williams walked off the green and said, “The tide is turning.”

McDowell keeps plugging away in his sixth straight week of competition, playing well enough to keep pace except for a few mistakes. He took a double bogey on the ninth hole, and failed to save par from a bunker on the 18th.

He was at 9-under 135, and will be paired with Woods in the final group Saturday.

“Sometimes in a four-round tournament, you get a round where you don’t really play your best,” McDowell said. “To shoot 3 under and not play my best, I’m pretty happy with that.”

Rory McIlroy played with Woods for the first time in competition – the Skins Game at the Memorial doesn’t count – and was impressed with what he saw. McIlroy caught flak at the Ryder Cup for saying he would love to play Woods if his game didn’t improve, although he doesn’t regret what he said – even Woods would agree with the “if his game didn’t improve” part – and both played well.

McIlroy only fell apart at the end.

He hit 5-wood on the par-5 16th that covered the flag and just went over the back of the green. On firm turf, however, he hit a thin chip some 20 feet away, narrowly missed the birdie putt, then watched his 2 1/2 -foot par putt circle the cup and stay out.

On the 18th, McIlroy hit 7-iron over the green, chipped long off the back of the green and had to two-putt from 35 feet for a double bogey that gave him a 70.

The real excitement came from everyone behind them.

Paul Casey made a hole-in-one on the 12th hole, which carried him to a 7-under 65. Bubba Watson made the rarest shot in golf – an albatross – when he holed out his second shot on the par-5 16th. That was the difference in his 69, although he was still 14 shots behind.

Anthony Kim also made a nice recovery, chuckling at a report on a golf blog that he might have another injury after opening with a 79.

“It’s as good as ever,” Kim said after a 66.

Woods still has two rounds to show true signs that he is on his way back, and he has kept it simple at Sherwood – attack the par 5s and limit the mistakes.

As if often the case with anyone at any tournament, however, the putting stood out the most.

Not only did he made some key par saves and two good birdie putts inside 12 feet in his great start – he one-putted the first four holes and two-putted for birdie on the fifth – he constantly ran the ball some 3 to 4 feet beyond the hole.

Woods attributed that to having too many putts above the hole, although there was a confident look to his putting that had been missing for so much of the year. He no longer looked concerned by facing those par putts, and it showed. Seven times, he ran a birdie putt at least 3 feet by the hole and made them all.

“I hit a lot of pure putts,” Woods said. “I wasn’t quite as sharp as yesterday, but I was able to piece it together and figure out how to hit better shots when I was struggling a little bit. I hit a couple loose shots and all of a sudden, ‘OK, this is what I need to do to fix it.’ And I fixed it. So that was nice.”

Still, he missed only two greens in regulation, and the closest he came to bogey was on the final hole when he ran his birdie attempt some 5 feet by the hole. He made that for a bogey-free round, a rarity this year.

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.