Power Rankings: 2015 Northern Trust Open

By Will GrayFebruary 17, 2015, 5:31 pm

The PGA Tour concludes the West Coast Swing with the Northern Trust Open, the 14th event of the wraparound season. A field of 144 players will tackle Riviera Country Club this week, which hosted the PGA Championship in 1995.

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Bubba Watson won this event a year ago by two shots over Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner. Here are 10 players to watch in Los Angeles:

1. Bubba Watson: The defending champ is making his first start since a T-2 finish at TPC Scottsdale. Watson has three top-10 results in his first three starts this season, including a WGC win in China, and last year led the field in driving distance at Riviera.

2. Jimmy Walker: Walker quietly finished T-21 in defense of his Pebble Beach title, ending a run of three straight top-10 finishes. He lists Riviera among his favorite courses on Tour, and it's easy to see why: Walker has cracked the top 20 each of the last four years in L.A., including T-4 finishes in both 2011 and 2012.

3. Jordan Spieth: Spieth helped Texas win an NCAA title at Riviera in 2012, and he logged a T-12 finish here last year mid-week including rounds of 66 and 67. He tied for seventh last week at Pebble, including four rounds of 68 or better, and is 11th on Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green.

4. Dustin Johnson: Johnson finished second at Riviera a year ago and recorded a T-4 finish last week in his second start back from a six-month hiatus. DJ has been feast-or-famine recently at Riviera, with three top-five finishes sandwiched around a pair of missed cuts since 2010.

5. Jim Furyk: Furyk was unable to end his victory drought at Pebble Beach, but he still logged a T-7 result in his first stroke-play start since September. He has six top-25 finishes at Riviera since 2006, including each of the last three years.

6. Bill Haas: Haas won here in a playoff in 2012, the highlight in a recent run of four straight top-25 results at Riviera that also included 2013 when he missed a playoff by one shot. He has three top-25 finishes already this season, including a win last month at the Humana Challenge and a T-19 finish at Torrey Pines in his most recent start.

7. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese phenom has been hit or miss in 2015: a pair of top-three finishes to go along with a T-78 finish at Sony and a missed cut his last time out at Farmers. He should bounce back at Riviera, where he finished T-23 last year in his NTO debut after four straight rounds of par or better.

8. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard is making his first start in the U.S. since the Tour Championship, but he is a familiar face at Riviera. Garcia has played in this event eight times prior, recording six top-25 finishes including T-4 (2012) and T-13 (2013) in his two most recent appearances.

9. Charl Schwartzel: Schwartzel hasn't won in the U.S. since his breakthrough at the 2011 Masters, but the South African feels comfortable on the kikuyu grass at Riviera. Schwartzel tied for third in his 2012 debut, then followed with a fifth-place showing last year. He has broken par in each of his eight rounds at Riviera, including five rounds of 68 or better.

10. Keegan Bradley: Bradley has been slow out of the gates in 2015, but his track record at Riviera suggests he may contend this weekend. Bradley has top-20 finishes at this event in each of the last four years, including a playoff loss in 2012. He carded bookend rounds of 68 last year and has been over par in only one of his last 12 trips around Riviera.

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.