Making it through Q-School
We have all been there before. You play excellent for weeks and then all of the sudden BAM! I seem to be hitting a little fade. Oh, now a slice. Oh no! Push slice! I made six straight cuts on the Futures Tour and never felt better about my game. I even shot 2 under in the first round of LPGA Q-School in Palm Springs. Unfortunately, I followed it up with a spirit-breaking 82 to miss the cut.
I tried to not lose my cool. I might have thought about getting a ‘real’ job for like 10 minutes, but then remembered that I had one more shot to make it in Venice, Fla.
After playing eight tournaments in 10 weeks, I was exhausted. My family practically used our last $5,000 to go to Q-School, and I couldn’t give up yet. My mom, dad, and I drove 16 straight hours and put eight hours of practice in everyday.
During the first round I played with Vera Shimanskaya. She has three gold medals from the 2000 Olympics in gymnastics. She is 6 feet tall, long blonde hair, not one ounce of fat. This is an athlete. Unfortunately, she struggled with a high score, but had only been playing golf for three years.
Even with all our practice, it was still not coming together. I shot 79. I felt like my dreams had been shattered. But my game felt so close. We didn’t give up. I played better and better throughout the next couple days. I had early tee times, so we practically lived on the range every night. Tension was high as my dad and I tried to not point fingers at each other (although we both slipped a few times). I shot 73 to make the 36-hole cut right on the number. Then another 73 when the conditions were windy. I went from 85th to 65th to 49th place. One more day.
We calculated that I probably needed to shoot 3 under to make the top 30. My dad and I didn’t say one word to each other throughout the whole round. I was 2 under after four holes. Try not to get excited, just play your game, Carling. Then the winds kicked up high and the pin placements got tougher and tougher. After 11 straight pars, I felt like I was running out of holes. Then when my par putt lipped out on 16, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach.
I had 180 yards into the 17th hole and made a fantastic two-putt from 45 feet. Last hole, I figured I was off the pace, but in the back of my mind I thought, “I’ve played some of my best golf today to be 1 under, maybe, just maybe other people are struggling too.” So I didn’t do anything stupid on the long par 5. Driver, 5 iron, 8 iron to 25 feet, and then two-putted my way to a very classic par. From across the way my mom gave me a “thumbs up,” and I know what that means.
It turns out the conditions were even tougher than I thought, and the whole field was high. I made it! I made it! I had the second lowest score of the day!
Well the season is over, and I’ve got two months to get ready for the final stage in Daytona Beach. I’ll be doing the P90x intense exercise program to get into shape, and moving down to Florida when the weather turns cold. Wish me luck.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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
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
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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.