Expert Picks: Wells Fargo Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 30, 2013, 10:26 pm

This week, the PGA Tour heads to Charlotte, N.C., for the Wells Fargo Championship, where players will be tested by a future major championship venue in Quail Hollow. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: The Ulsterman returns after another extended break to a course that he has dominated in the past. His victory in 2010 at Quail Hollow was a signature moment in his career, and his runner-up showing last year was almost as impressive.

Group 2: Bo Van Pelt: Normally a top-10 machine, the veteran has not been as sharp this year, but he’s played well in Charlotte in the past (fifth in 2010 and T-6 in 2006).

Group 3: Jonas Blixt: A case could be made that Blixt was 2012’s top rookie – he matched Rookie of the Year winner John Huh with a victory and had five top 10s, including a tie for ninth in his first trip to Quail Hollow.

Group 4: John Rollins: Another quietly consistent year for the American, he has six top-25 finishes in 11 starts and ranks 27th on Tour in total driving, a combination of accuracy and distance, which is key at Quail Hollow.


Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Webb Simpson: It’s his hometown event, and he’s beginning to round into form after a playoff loss in his last start. In his past two appearances at Quail Hollow, he’s finished fourth and joint 21st.

Group 2: D.A. Points: Last year’s playoff loss in Charlotte masked an otherwise forgettable record there. But he’s made his last four cuts and was thisclose to earning his second title of the season in NOLA.

Group 3: Brian Davis: Top 16s in his last two appearances at Quail Hollow, and he’s been inside the top 35 in his last four starts.

Group 4: John Rollins: Not great form recently, missing his last two cuts, but he’s posted six top 25s this season and could provide some value in a weak group.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Webb Simpson: He showed up in Hilton Head after getting knocked down at the Masters. Lost the playoff there and finished one outside of the playoff last year in Charlotte. I think this week he gets the win.

Group 2: Ryan Moore: A tie for fifth here a year ago is the confidence he needs to reignite his season, where he hasn't seen a top 25, much less a top five, since he finished solo fourth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Group 3: Jonas Blixt: He finished T-9 here last year but has been streaky in 2013, playing the weekend only five times in 11 starts. Last year's Frys.com Open champ trended only slightly better coming into Charlotte a year ago, when he went on to get his first top-10 finish of the season. 

Group 4: Steve LeBrun: After a tough start to his season, he's picked up momentum and has finished inside the top 40 in his last four starts, including a T-21 last week and a T-18 the week before at Harbour Town, where he also held a share of the 36-hole lead.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Lee Westwood: If he struggles on pristine greens, then perhaps logic should tell us he'll succeed on raggedy ones.

Group 2: Brendon de Jonge: Charlotte resident is becoming a leaderboard stalwart, with six top-25s in 14 starts.

Group 3: Kyle Stanley: A disappointing start to the season turned joyful in a hurry last week, and this streaky player should keep it going.

Group 4: Bobby Gates: While most players are complaining about Quail's greens, Gates is taking a positive attitude into this week.


Randall Mell

Group 1: Webb Simpson: Keeps the momentum going for his return to the U.S. Open.

Group 2: Luke Guthrie: Quail Hollow likes anointing young stars.

Group 3: Jordan Spieth: See Luke Guthrie...

Group 4: John Peterson: See Luke Guthrie...

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.

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.