Hahn, Barnes share Nelson lead; DJ 3 back

By Will GrayMay 19, 2017, 12:10 am

There was no post-Players lull for the world No. 1, who got off to a strong start at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Here's how things look after the opening round in Dallas, as James Hahn and Ricky Barnes share the lead:

Leaderboard: James Hahn (-6), Ricky Barnes (-6), Matt Kuchar (-4), Jhonattan Vegas (-4), Jason Kokrak (-4), Cameron Tringale (-4), Dustin Johnson (-3)

What it means: Most of the low scores were shot in the morning wave, including Barnes, who seeks his first career win, and Hahn, who hasn't cracked the top 40 since Riviera. They hold a two-shot buffer over a group that includes Kuchar, a regular Nelson contender, while Johnson sits one shot further back as he looks to improve upon last week's T-12 finish at TPC Sawgrass and boost his lead atop the world rankings.

Round of the day: Hahn has two career wins to his credit, but he's been largely quiet since his playoff win at Quail Hollow last spring. That changed with a bogey-free 64, as Hahn made three birdies in a four-hole stretch on Nos. 4-7 and then added three more circles on his inward half to shoot his first round in the 60s in his 24 attempts.

Best of the rest: Barnes is a former U.S. Amateur champ and perhaps the most decorated player still without a PGA Tour win, as this week marks his 255th career start. Barnes doesn't have a top-20 finish this season but that may change after he matched Hahn's 64. Barnes got off to a hot start, with birdies on five of his first eight holes, and had eight birdies total.

Biggest disappointment: J.B. Holmes was in position to win The Players Championship through 54 holes, but he ballooned to a final-round 84 in Ponte Vedra Beach and apparently hasn't recovered. Holmes shot a 6-over 76 in the opening round, including bogeys on seven of his first 12 holes, and now has significant work ahead of him if he's going to stick around for the weekend.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Barnes is overdue for a win and Hahn has defeated top players before, but the names to watch are in the pack at 3 under. That's a group that is headlined by Johnson, one of the few big names to contend last week on the Stadium Course, while he's joined by Brooks Koepka who was an early leader Thursday and lost in a playoff to Sergio Garcia at this event last year.

Quote of the day: "It's really not that big of a deal." - Jordan Spieth, who attempted to downplay his decision to switch to a mallet putter this week in Texas. He opened with a 2-under 68 and trails by four shots.

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.