Coetzee celebrates 28th birthday with 69 at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2014, 12:26 pm

HOYLAKE, England – When did George Coetzee notice he was tied atop the leaderboard at the Open Championship? About the same time he bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17.

“It’s obvious I looked at it as soon as I was at the top,” he said with a laugh Friday at Royal Liverpool.

The back-to-back bogeys might have dropped him out of a share of the lead, but Coetzee sank an 8-foot putt on the last to give him a 3-under 69 – matching his career-low round in a major – and a 5-under 139 total through two rounds. After playing in the late-early wave, in the worst of the conditions, he sits just one shot off the lead of Rory McIlroy, who doesn’t tee off until 9:27 a.m. ET Friday.

Not a bad birthday present.

Coetzee turned 28 on Friday, and he will celebrate with “a couple of Cokes” and some good company, with his girlfriend and mother in town for the Open.

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The South African, ranked No. 72 in the world, arrived at Hoylake in search of some form. Entering this week he had missed three of his last five cuts, with no top-25 finishes. This is the championship he covets most, however, and in his first career major, the 2011 British Open, he was tied for seventh, two shots off the lead, after two rounds at Royal St. George’s. He eventually tied for 15th.

“At one stage of my career I averaged 69s for majors,” he said, laughing.

Now, Coetzee is trying to become the second South African in the past five years to win the Open. Growing up there, he admittedly wasn’t very good while playing in the wind. His home course, Pretoria, is a parkland course about 4,600 feet above sea level, and he says that he never broke 80 on the coast until he was 16. 

“I couldn’t understand why the ball was going so short,” he said. 

Eventually, he grew to love links golf, because of the imagination required.

“It’s a lot more fun,” he said.

It wasn’t much fun for the rest of the field Friday morning, when the wind gusted up to 35 mph with ominous skies. When Coetzee finished his round, Royal Liverpool was playing nearly two shots more difficult than it had during the opening round. Coetzee, D.A. Points and Gary Woodland were the only players to post a round in the 60s while playing in the morning.

Coetzee qualified for his ninth career major by winning earlier this season at the European Tour’s Joburg Open. It was his first career title, and he said that it was “nice to tick the box” heading into the heart of the season.  

“Really big,” he said. “It’s nice to take the pressure away from yourself, knowing that you’ve been there and done it.”

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.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.