Fact Pack: Northern Trust Open

By Will GrayFebruary 12, 2013, 10:42 pm

This week the PGA Tour remains in California for the Northern Trust Open. Players will face Riviera Country Club, one of the more historical regular venues utilized by the Tour each year. 'Hogan's Alley' has been the host of a series of major champions, and last year was the site of a memorable 3-man playoff between Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and eventual winner Bill Haas. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• As @HookEmNWhoDey pointed out to me this week on Twitter (you can follow me @WillGrayGC), last year's scoring was significantly higher than years past; the 7 under total that Haas shot was a full five strokes higher than any winning total here since 2003 as players struggled with windy conditions. Though only five players broke 70 in the final round, one of them was Sergio Garcia, whose final-round 64 was by far the best round of the day, and moved him from a tie for 49th all the way into a tie for fourth.

• The last few years have shown the value of holing putts at Riviera, as Haas (2012) and Phil Mickelson (2010) both led the field in putts per round en route to victory, and Vijay Singh held the same title in 2011 while finishing second overall. With that in mind, two possible sleepers may be Chris Kirk and Bryce Molder, who rank second and third, respectively, in strokes gained putting entering the week and who are both coming off stellar weekends at Pebble Beach.

• Fantasy players should note that first-time winners at Riviera are few and far between, and this week's star-studded field will likely mean that trend will continue. Only twice in the last 24 years has a player notched their first career PGA Tour victory here, the last being Len Mattiace in 2002.

• After failing to make a cut the whole month of July 2012, Kevin Stadler has seen a remarkable turnaround in his game. A T-11 finish at the Reno-Tahoe Open led to a pair of top-10 finishes during the FedEx Cup Playoffs and a solid Fall Series to end his 2012 campaign. This season, Stadler has picked up right where he left off, backing up a T-11 finish in Phoenix with a T-3 showing last week at Pebble Beach, his best result on Tour since a playoff loss at the 2009 Wyndham Championship.

• The undisputed modern-day king of Riviera is none other than Fred Couples. The two-time Northern Trust champ made his first start here in 1982 - seven years before Rory McIlroy was born - and in 30 career starts has racked up a whopping 14 top-10 finishes. By comparison, that's the same amount of top 10s that Phil Mickelson (4), Tiger Woods (4), Luke Donald (3) and Ernie Els (3) have scored here in a combined 44 starts.

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.