Goggin Rd 1 Leader at The Memorial

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentJack Nicklaus always envisioned the Memorial as a northern version of the Masters, from the superb course conditions to super slick greens, from caddies wearing white coveralls to grounds so immaculate that nary a cigarette butt is to be found.
 
He got his wish Thursday, especially with the greens.
 
Matthew Goggin spent as little time on them as possible, taking only nine putts over his final nine holes on his way to a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead over Jerry Kelly and two-time Memorial champion Kenny Perry.
 
Goggin holed out a bunker shot for birdie on the par-3 fourth, then ended his round with a 12-footer for par from off the green, giving him only 22 putts for his round. Perry found the right speed and ran off six straight birdies on his way to a 66, also taking 22 putts. Kelly birdied four of his last six holes.
 
Most everyone else hung on for dear life.
 
Shaun Micheel had a 55-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that traveled 35 yards back into the fairway. Boo Weekley watched a wedge land near the hole at the par-5 11th, only to spin back to the front of the green, off the green and into the creek for a triple bogey.
 
The greens are the best greens Ive ever putted on anywhere in the world, Robert Allenby said after a 69. You can take Royal Melbourne, you take Augusta these are the best.
 
Perry could not have agreed more.
 
The two-time Memorial champion, who twice has given himself a chance to win this month, knocked in an 8-foot birdie on No. 11, and his next five birdies were holed from 18 feet or longer, a streak that ended on No. 17.
 
I was shocked when the one on 17 didnt go in, Perry said. Awesome day, though.
 
The greens rolled as true as a billiards table, and some players said they were the fastest they have seen all year, including that tournament at Augusta National last month. That was largely a product of spectacular weather at Muirfield Village, a rarity.
 
The greens are so fast, you cant believe it, Brett Quigley said after his 67, which included five straight birdies to close out his front nine. The whole day, youre playing defensive, even on uphill putts.
 
Phil Mickelson, coming off a victory at the Colonial, had a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 9 that went 12 feet by an onto the fringe, leading to a final bogey and an even-par 72.
 
The speed is quick, obviously, he said. Some putts are very tough, obviously.
 
Mickelson got an early glimpse of the speed on his opening hole, when he faced a bunker shot left of the green. Sergio Garcia was marking his ball some 20 feet left of the flag when Mickelson motioned that he was aiming in that direction. He played at a 45-degree angle from the flag, ran the shot some 40 feet by to a ridge, then watched it roll back and graze the edge of the cup.
 
We almost had another shot of the week on consecutive holes, caddie Jim Mackay said, referring to Mickelsons wedge through the trees to 9 feet for birdie to win the Colonial on Sunday.
 
Garcia, playing for the first time since winning The Players Championship, ran off three straight birdies toward the conclusion of his round until twice trying to play out of the bank of the water on No. 9, only once successfully. He finished with a double bogey for a 72.
 
Even though I played well, it felt like you couldnt'you didnt, he said. There were very little chances of giving yourself a putt you could go for. Its just not easy. Unfortunately that double on the last, after all the work I did, that didnt feel that good.
 
The greens were so fast that rules officials also were on the defensive, having to abandon several hole locations to keep it fair. One possibility was the front of the 11th green, because any putt above the hole could run off the green and into the creek.
 
It was fast. It was frightening at times. But it was fair, which was reflected in the scoring.
 
Thirteen players still managed to break 70, a group that included Colonial runner-up Rod Pampling (67), former Memorial champion Carl Pettersson (68) and former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
 
One area that kept this from being anything like the Masters was the field.
 
It was tough enough for the Memorial to lose Tiger Woods (knee), Vijay Singh (ribs), Steve Stricker (elbow) and Adam Scott (fatigue). the field expanded to 120 players this year to keep all invitationals consistent in size, but several players didnt want to come.
 
Ten alternates got into the tournament, but the list went down 17 names because of alternates who withdrew. Tee times at the Memorial used to be cherished.
 
It was the alternate who didnt want to come, Quigley said. Maybe it was too far away or they had U.S. Open qualifying. But how can you skip coming here?
 
Quigley got the call Tuesday while playing with Brad Faxon in Rhode Island, and when he got to Muirfield Village, all he heard on the range were horror stories about thick rough and lightning-quick greens.
 
It was doomsday out there, Quigley said.
 
But as they showed Thursday, it wasnt that bad if the shots were hit in the right spot and the putts were on the right line.
 
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  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

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    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

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    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    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.