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Johnson stuns Spieth, wins Northern Trust playoff

By Will GrayAugust 27, 2017, 10:14 pm

What once appeared like a walk in the park for Jordan Spieth quickly became anything but. Here's how things ended up at The Northern Trust, where Dustin Johnson rallied down the stretch to catch Spieth and then beat him in a playoff:

Leaderboard: Dustin Johnson (-13, won on first extra hole), Jordan Spieth (-13),  Jhonattan Vegas (-9), Jon Rahm (-9), Paul Casey (-6)

What it means: Spieth started the day with a three-shot lead, and his advantage ballooned to five through just five holes of the final round. But Spieth rinsed his tee shot on No. 6 en route to a double bogey, and by the 10th hole Johnson had drawn even. The two remained deadlocked down the stretch, with Spieth making an 18-footer for par on No. 17 only for Johnson to return the favor with an 18-foot par save on the 72nd green. It sent the tournament to overtime, where Johnson birdied the first hole for his fourth win of the season and first since a back injury led to his withdrawal from the Masters.

Round of the day: For the second time in three days, Vegas posted a 5-under 65 to race up the leaderboard. Vegas birdied two of his first three holes and made it around Glen Oaks without dropping a shot, jumping from the fringe of the top 10 into a tie for third to essentially secure a spot on the International Team at next month's Presidents Cup.

Best of the rest: Webb Simpson went low out of the gates, recording birdies on six of his first 13 holes en route to a 65 that matched Vegas and Charley Hoffman for the day's low total. Simpson made his lone blemish on the fifth hole and despite closing with five straight pars he moved up 28 spots into a tie for sixth.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth seemed unstoppable through 54-holes, and his record of closing out final-round leads included only a single blemish. But a few early falters mixed with some impressive play from Johnson, who forced overtime in improbable fashion and then closed out Spieth in style on the first extra hole. For Spieth, it's not of the same magnitude as the 2016 Masters collapse, but it was a surprising result given where he started the day.

Shot of the day: With Spieth already in the fairway on the first playoff hole, Johnson uncorked a 341-yard bomb over the lake that guards the 18th fairway. it proved to be the longest drive of the week and gave the world No. 1 an easy wedge from just 95 yards, which he played to within a few feet to seal the win.

Quote of the day: "It was a little bit easier coming in with a 60 degree here on 18." - Johnson, who had to lay up after driving it into the rough on No. 18 during regulation.

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.

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.