Garcia, Fowler among four Masters co-leaders

By Will GrayApril 7, 2017, 11:32 pm

After another day of blustery conditions, it's crowded atop the leaderboard at the Masters. Here's how things look at the halfway point, as four players share the lead - each in search of his first major title:

Leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-4), Rickie Fowler (-4), Charley Hoffman (-4), Thomas Pieters (-4), William McGirt (-2), Justin Rose (-1), Fred Couples (-1), Jon Rahm (-1), Ryan Moore (-1)

What it means: Hoffman started the day with a four-shot lead, but he quickly came back to the pack with a 75 and at one point was passed by Garcia. PIeters and Fowler joined them in the afternoon wave, setting up an enticing weekend where conditions are expected to be a little bit easier and Rose is the only player among the top six who has already won one of golf's four biggest events.

Round of the day: Fowler contended last week in Houston, and he's again in the mix after a 5-under 67 in the second round. Fowler got things jump-started with a hole-out eagle from the bunker on No. 2, then added three more birdies before a watery bogey on No. 15 that he neutralized with another birdie on the very next hole.

Best of the rest: Garcia has had plenty of chances to snag that elusive major, but this may be his best in the last few years after a 3-under 69 gave him a share of the lead. Garcia's score was in question for part of his round after a scoring error on No. 10, but Garcia was ultimately absolved and played the last 15 holes in even par after opening with three straight birdies.

Biggest disappointment: Lee Westwood started the day in third place after an opening-round 70, but last year's runner-up has some work to do after fading with a 5-over 77 in the second round. Westwood opened with a bogey, one of eight he made in a round that concluded with four bogeys over his final five holes. At 3 over, he now trails by seven shots.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: It's difficult to pick five, let alone one. Each of the co-leaders have compelling angles, including PIeters who became the first Masters rookie to share the 36-hole lead since Brett Wetterich in 2007. But don't lose sight of the compelling group of Masters winners just four shots off the pace: Adam Scott, Phil MIckelson and Jordan Spieth, each of whom has a great chance to add to his collection in the champions' locker room.

Shot of the day: Branden Grace earned a piece of Augusta National crystal with his approach to No. 15, a 95-yard wedge that landed behind the hole and spun back in for an eagle. It turned out to be an important shot, given that Grace made the cut on the number at 6 over after a second-round 74.

Quote of the day: "I just feel like if I'm healthy enough to swing hard at it, I can play this course." - Couples, who trails by three shots on the 25-year anniversary of his Masters win.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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.