Korean rivals eager to put pairing behind them

By Randall MellJune 9, 2016, 1:51 am

SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Ha Na Jang and In Gee Chun will draw curious eyes when they tee off together at 4:30 p.m. ET in Thursday’s first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club.

They were, after all, at the center of a tempest back in their South Korean homeland in March, and this will mark the first time they’ve been paired together since the infamous escalator incident in Singapore set off the controversy.

What did they think when they saw the pairing?

“I knew it was coming,” Chun said Wednesday through Won Park, her coach who acted as translator. “I didn’t know it was going to be this tournament or later, but am glad it’s this time. The sooner the better.”

The pairing rekindles accounting of the issues that erupted back in their homeland after Jang’s father dropped a 15-pound travel bag down an escalator at the Singapore airport, striking Chun in the tailbone. It knocked Chun out of three events while she recovered from the injuries. It also set off a media firestorm in South Korea as Jang went on to win in Singapore, bumping Chun out of the Korean Olympic qualifying mix that week.

“It’s a tough situation, but I have to face it and Ha Na has to face it,” said Chun, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion. “It’s good to get it over with.”

It makes for more scrutiny in Jang’s return after a long absence on tour.

Jang, who won twice at season’s start, has not played an LPGA event in six weeks, since she withdrew in the first round of the Swinging Skirts Classic. Jang said she was suffering from the effects of anemia, which caused dizziness, headaches, insomnia and vomiting.

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“I was very scared,” Jang said.

After withdrawing from the Swinging Skirts Classic, Jang said she sought medical treatment in San Francisco, but doctors didn’t have an answer for what was ailing her. She flew to her Korean home and spent five days in a hospital there undergoing tests but never got a complete answer as to what was causing her health problems. After five weeks of rest, though, she said she’s feeling much better.

Jang said stress might have been a factor in the ailment, but she thinks fatigue was a larger factor.

“I’m fine now,” she said. “Not feeling dizzy anymore.”

Jang said she has only been back practicing for less than a week in preparation for her start. She said Chun approached her on the practice putting green at Sahalee earlier this week.

“She says `You OK?’” Jang said. “She was worried about me. I said `I’m OK, thank you, let’s enjoy this week.’”

Jang said her only goal this week is to break 80.

“I just want to enjoy playing,” Jang said. “I’m a little uncomfortable because I haven’t played in five weeks.”




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.