Stat attack!: CIMB Classic review

By John AntoniniNovember 2, 2014, 10:53 pm

All it took for Ryan Moore to come up with a new nickname was another timely victory on the PGA Tour. With a successful defense of this 2013 title at the CIMB Classic, Moore won for the third time in his career during the Fall Series, which is enough to make the Tacoma News Tribune in Moore’s home state of Washington to refer to him as Mr. October.

We won’t quibble with the fact that this year’s CIMB Classic ended in November, while we point out that Moore’s CIMB Classic win at Kuala Lumpur G&CC’s West course makes him the first player to successfully defend a PGA Tour title since Tiger Woods at the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Moore beat Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na and Gary Woodland (last year’s runner-up) by three strokes. Moore and Woodland are the first players to finish first and second in the same event in consecutive years since Phil Mickelson beat Jose Maria Olazabal in the BellSouth Classic in 2005 and 2006.

Players with multiple PGA Tour victories during the Fall Series

 Player Total wins Tournaments
 Ryan Moore 3 2014 CIMB Classic, 2013 CIMB Classic, 2012 Shriners Las Vegas 
 Dustin Johnson 2 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions, 2008 Turning Stone Champ.
 Stephen Ames 2 2009 Disney, 2007 Disney

Players with consecutive wins in the same PGA Tour event: 2010-2014

 Player Tournaments
 Ryan Moore 2013 and 2014 CIMB Classic
 Tiger Woods   2012 and 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational
 Steve Stricker 2011 and 2010 John Deere Classic
 Geoff Ogilvy 2009 and 2010 Tournament of Champions 
 Dustin Johnson 2009 and 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
 Steve Stricker 2009 and 2010 John Deere Classic

Similarity scores

Moore’s total of 17-under 271 last week was three strokes better than his 274 total in 2013 but he played remarkably similar on Kuala Lumpur’s West course both years. He was T-8 in the field GIR in 2013 and 2014 and he took 112 putts in each tournament. (Moore was also T-5 in 2010, when the CIMB Classic was an unofficial event held at The Mines.)

Moore was in the top 10 in the field in greens hit, total putts, putts per GIR and birdie-conversion percentage Sunday. He made 25 birdies for the week, including eight in a final-round 67 that saw him outpace 54-hole co-leader Kevin Na, who shot 70.

Ryan Moore in the CIMB Classic: 2013-2014

 Year Scores Fairways hit (Rank) GIR (rank) Putts (rank)
 2014 68-69-67-67—271 41 (T-15) 56 (T-8) 112 (6)
 2013 63-72-67-70—274 39 (T-12) 54 (T-8) 112 (T-9)

CIMB Classic leaders in putts per GIR

 Rank Player Putts per GIR Birdie conv. percentage Finish
 1 Charl Schwartzel 1.609 43.48 (1) T-19
 2  Luke Guthrie 1.640 33.64 (19) T-39
 3 Cameron Smith 1.042 37.74 (3) T-5
 4  Ryan Moore 1.643 37.35 (4) Won
 5 Jason Dufner 1.647 35.29 (11) T-26

Smith leads Asian contingent

Did you notice the name Cameron Smith just above Moore's name in the above list. You better get familiar with the 21-year-old Australian who finished T-5 in his PGA Tour debut. The youngster has been touted as the world’s next great Aussie golfer, and had six straight top-10 finishes world-wide from the end of August until early October. His strong finish in the CIMB gives him the opportunity to play another PGA Tour event, as the top-10 qualifies him for this week’s Sanderson Farms Classic in Mississippi.

Smith is the first player to finish in the top 10 in his PGA Tour debut since Chris Wood was T-5 at the 2008 British Open as an amateur. They are among the four players to accomplish this feat since 2000. Keep in mind, there are several players who were top-10 performers in their first PGA Tour start as a pro – Rory McIlroy, Russell Henley and Max Homa to name three - but they all played previously on Tour as amateurs.

Smith was one of three Asian Tour players with top-10s at the CIMB, with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat (nicknamed the Big Dolphin), and Angelo Que of The Philippines proving, once again, that Asian Tour players can be successful when competing against the world’s best.

Players with a top-10 finish in their first PGA Tour start: 2000-2014

 Player Finish Tournament
 Anthony Kim T-2 2006 Valero Texas Open
 Cameron Smith T-5 2014 CIMB Classic
 Chris Wood T-5 2008 British Open (as an amateur)
 Andres Romero T-8 2006 British Open

Asian Tour players with top-10 finishes at the CIMB Classic: 2010-2014

 Player Year Finish
 Cameron Smith 2014 T-5
 Prom Meesawat 2014 T-8
 Angelo Que 2014 T-8
 Kiradech Aphibarnrat 2013 T-3
 Jbe’ Kruger 2012 T-8
 Gangajeet Bhullar 2012 T-10
 Jeev Milkha Singh 2011 T-10
 Mardan Mamat 2010 T-5

Garcia’s year of almosts

Runner-up Sergio Garcia was one stroke off the lead entering Sunday’s final round, but couldn’t keep up with Moore Sunday, shooting a final-round 69 to finish three back. The Spaniard, who has won several times in Asia – he counts victories in Qatar, Thailand, China, Korea and Malaysia among his triumphs in the continent – hasn’t been so successful winning anywhere in the world in recent months. His last worldwide victory came in Qatar in January, and more recently he’s had six top-three finishes without winning since April.

Sergio Garcia’s near misses in 2014

 Tournament Finish Result
 CIMB Classic T-2 Two back of Ryan Moore
 WGC-Bridgestone Inv. 2 2 back of Rory McIlroy
 British Open T-2 2 back of Rory McIlroy
 Travelers Champ. T-2 1 back of Kevin Streelman
 Players 3 2 back of Martin Kaymer
 Shell Houston Open 3 2 back of Matt Jones 
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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

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 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.