Steele leads as darkness halts play at Valero

By Will GrayApril 22, 2016, 1:04 am

After a three-hour rain delay earlier in the day, the first round remains incomplete at the Valero Texas Open. Here's how things looked when darkness halted play, as a former champ holds a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Brendan Steele (-8 through 13 holes), Charley Hoffman (-6), Peter Malnati (-5), Stuart Appleby (-5), Steve Flesch (-4), Patrick Reed (-4 through 13 holes), Brandt Snedeker (-4 through 14 holes)

What it means: Early-week rains softened TPC San Antonio, so it didn't take much precipitation to grind things to a halt early in the morning. Once play resumed, Hoffman set the clubhouse lead to extend his affinity for this event. But he was passed late in the day by Steele, whose lone PGA Tour win came at this tournament in 2011.

Round of the day: Steele hasn't cracked the top 15 since October, but he's well on his way after his hot start in San Antonio. Beginning on the back nine, Steele birdied four of his first five holes before making the turn in 31, then added three more birdies on Nos. 1-3. In less than a full round, Steele has already matched his under-par total from five years ago, when his 8-under 280 total earned him his maiden victory.

Best of the rest: Hoffman has finished T-13 or better each of the last six years at this event, and he is well on his way to another high finish after opening with a 66. Hoffman carded seven birdies against just one bogey, closing with an 11-foot make on No. 18 to reach 6 under as he looks for his first win since the 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Biggest disappointment: Jimmy Walker lives in nearby Boerne and won this event last year by four shots over Jordan Spieth. But a repeat seems unlikely after Walker opened with a 3-over 75 that left him 11 shots off the early pace. Walker managed only one birdie against four bogeys and now has an uphill battle simply to make the cut.

Main storyline heading into Friday: The focus will be on the players returning to complete their opening round. It's a group that includes Steele, who will look to extend his lead, but also Phil Mickelson (1 over through 14 holes) who needs to build some momentum and Reed, a Texas native who made a late charge up the standings.

Shot of the day: Malnati hasn't made a cut since Pebble Beach, but he seems likely to end that drought after a 67 that included an eagle on the par-4 17th after he holed his wedge approach from 94 yards.

Quote of the day: "I've got to put four good rounds together instead of three. You don't win golf tournaments with three good rounds." - Hoffman

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.