Varner hoping to save season at hometown WGC

By Will GrayAugust 1, 2017, 10:37 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Harold Varner III will have plenty of support from the crowds this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. But it remains to be seen if he can translate support into a season-saving performance.

Varner is making his first career WGC start, having earned a spot in the 76-man field by winning the Australian PGA Championship in November. And what better place to make a debut than Akron, where Varner was born in the same hospital as LeBron James and Steph Curry.

“It was pretty cool, after I got done practicing me and one of my best friends and my caddie went to my grandmother’s house and then we went to the house that I was, not born in but where grew up,” Varner said. “Pretty weird to see, you know, that and where I live now. It puts things in perspective. I think it’s real easy to forget where you come from, and understand that I just bought a boat for what some of these houses are. It’s humbling.”

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Varner is glad to have a spot in the no-cut event at Firestone Country Club, and his PGA Tour card could hinge on his play this week. He currently sits 133rd in the season-long points race and is not yet qualified for next week’s PGA Championship, meaning this could be one of his last opportunities to accrue points.

While many in the field at Firestone are looking to build playoff momentum, Varner is simply looking to keep his card. But he did finish T-23 last week at the RBC Canadian Open last week, one of just two top-25 finishes he's had since April.

“I’m starting to play a little bit better,” Varner said. “I think it’s just a great opportunity for me to get the season back going in the right direction, and what better place than where I was born?”

Varner also spent part of his childhood in Gastonia, N.C., and he admitted that he struggled to balance on- and off-course priorities when he first played in the Wells Fargo Championship on a sponsor invite. He feels that this time around his focus is where it needs to be heading into a marquee first-round grouping alongside Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose.

“I’m going to be mowing the grass next Monday. It’s fine,” Varner said. “I have a job to take care of, I have a great opportunity and I’m just going to do my best not to just blow it away.”

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.