Power Rankings: 2014 U.S. Women's Open

By Will GrayJune 18, 2014, 2:35 pm

While the PGA Tour heads to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship (our Power Rankings for that event can be found here), the women tee it up at Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Women's Open. One week after Martin Kaymer lapped the field, the best players from the LPGA Tour take their crack at its rough-less layout and turtleback greens.

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Inbee Park returns to defend the title he won a year ago at Sebonack over I.K. Kim. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Pinehurst:

1. Inbee Park: The defending champ and former world No. 1 enters with momentum after firing a final-round 61 to win in her most recent start. In addition to her win last year at Sebonack, Park captured the title in 2008 at Interlachen and has six top-10 finishes in this event since 2007.

2. Stacy Lewis: The new No. 1 enters with a ton of confidence, having won twice on the LPGA Tour in the past six weeks. While she doesn't have the record in this event of many of her counterparts, she is perhaps playing the best golf of anyone in the field heading into Pinehurst.

3. Cristie Kerr: Kerr was a runner-up to Inbee Park at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in her last start, and she has had no lack of success in this event. A winner in 2007 at nearby Pine Needles, she has finished no worse than 20th since, a streak that includes a pair of third-place finishes in 2009 and 2011.

4. Lydia Ko: She may only be 17 years old, but Ko has already shown that she can compete with the best players in the women's game. A winner earlier this year in California, the Kiwi has top-40 finishes in each of her two prior U.S. Women's Open appearances as an amateur and should improve on those results this week at Pinehurst.

5. Paula Creamer: Creamer ended a winless drought earlier this year in Thailand, and she appears to save her best golf for this event. A winner in 2010 at Oakmont, Creamer has finished T-19 or better at the U.S. Women's Open every year since 2004, and has been T-7 or better five of the last six years.

6. Suzann Pettersen: Last year's missed cut at Sebonack broke a streak of five straight top-15 finishes in this event for Pettersen, one that includes a tie for second in 2010. After missing the season's first major with a back injury, the Norwegian is back to full strength and eager to add to her major title haul.

7. So Yeon Ryu: A surprise winner in 2011, Ryu backed up that result with a T-14 finish in 2012 and was third last year at Sebonack. She has six top-10 finishes this year and is currently 10th on the LPGA Tour in GIR percentage.

8. Lexi Thompson: Thompson broke through to win the first major of the year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and has built upon that momentum, with three more top-10 finishes including a runner-up showing at Kingsmill. On a lengthy course like Pinehurst, her advantage off the tee will be even more pronounced this week.

9. Karrie Webb: In an era where the best female players are younger and younger, Webb just keeps cruising right along. Webb won earlier this year at the JTBC Founders Cup and also kicked off her season with a win in Australia. Her Open record is a solid one, with three top-20 finishes in the last four years.

10. Michelle Wie: Wie is having a career year in 2014, with a win in her native Hawaii highlighting a season that also includes eight top-10 finishes. While her record in the Open hasn't been great in recent years, she did contend as an amateur in both 2005 and 2006, and if she gets her unorthodox putting style working on the greens, she could be on the leaderboard once again.

 

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.