McDowell in familiar spot after opening-round 68

By Will GrayJune 12, 2014, 7:30 pm

PINEHURST, N.C. – Graeme McDowell took to Pinehurst No. 2 Thursday like a man who has been in this spot before.

A U.S. Open champion from four years ago, McDowell plotted his way around Donald Ross’ iconic design with a clear plan in place: remain patient, and above all else keep it in play. It resulted in a 2-under 68, good enough to share the early clubhouse lead with Kevin Na.

“It wasn’t my best ball-striking display this morning, but you don’t have to strike it amazing around here, you just have to position the ball correctly at times,” McDowell said. “I played the golf course very conservatively.”

While the fairways here are not as narrow as the targets players faced last year at Merion, plenty of danger still lurks on either side. McDowell was able to avoid almost all of it in the opening round, missing only one fairway while reaching 13 of 18 greens in regulation.

His scorecard had just one blemish – a bogey at No. 4 – but that was quickly countered by an eagle at the par-5 fifth, and McDowell added a birdie at No. 14 to move near the top of a crowded leaderboard.

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“I positioned the ball great off the tee. I drove it really well all day,” he said. “Generally kept the ball exactly where I wanted to going into the flags, short of a lot of the greens (and) on the correct side of most of the flags.”

McDowell is no stranger to leaderboards at the U.S. Open, with four straight top-20 finishes from 2009 to 2012 highlighted by his win at Pebble Beach and runner-up showing two years later at Olympic. With a fast and firm golf course expected to get only more difficult as the week progresses, the Ulsterman offered a sobering outlook on what it might take to lift the trophy on Sunday.

“This golf course is difficult, and good shots are going to finish in bad spots and you’ve just got to really, really grind hard. It’s not going to give you a lot of opportunities,” he said. “I think the winner of this tournament is going to make 10 to 12 birdies, maximum. That’s only three a round.”


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.