Sergio, Tiger set for Saturday showdown

By Will GrayMay 10, 2013, 11:10 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Amid another day of sunny skies and relatively calm conditions, several players were able to again get the better of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, as even-par 144 was the minimum required to make the weekend. Here’s how things shape up heading into the third round of The Players Championship, where a pair of former winners occupy the first two spots on the leaderboard:

The leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-11), Tiger Woods (-10), Lee Westwood (-9), Henrik Stenson (-9), Kevin Chappell (-9), David Lingmerth (-9), Ryan Palmer (-8), Casey Wittenberg (-8)

What it means: Five years after he hoisted the crystal trophy, Garcia again finds himself out in front at TPC Sawgrass after a birdie barrage in the second round. He’ll be joined in the final group Saturday by Woods, who carded a 5-under 67 for the second consecutive day and who holds a distinct historical advantage over the Spaniard in the instances where the two have been paired together. In total, 12 players head into the weekend within four shots of the lead.

Round of the day: Beginning on the back nine, Garcia started slowly with six straight pars. From there, though, he heated up. Birdies at 16 and 18 were followed by a bogey at the first, but the Spaniard then reeled off five birdies in a row from holes 2-6 and added a 40-foot birdie on the par-3 eighth hole for good measure. Already the all-time career earnings leader in this event, Garcia now enters the third round in sole possession of the lead after a 7-under 65, tying his final-round effort in 2011 for his lowest round carded in 50 career rounds at the Stadium Course.

Best of the rest: Of the four players to shoot 66 Friday, only Westwood did so without dropping a single shot. The Englishman began his day in impressive fashion, holing a pitch shot for eagle at the par-5 11th, and added birdies at both 12 and 13. A leader after both 36 and 54 holes at this event in 2010, Westwood in fact has yet to drop a shot in either round thus far this week, and now begins the weekend firmly in contention at 9 under, just two shots off the pace.

Biggest disappointment: After making the cut in this event each of the last 11 years, Phil Mickelson saw his streak come to an abrupt halt after a 1-over 73 Friday. A winner here in 2007, Mickelson was never able to get out of the gate this week and reached just seven of 18 greens in regulation during the second round. He appeared likely to survive the 36-hole cut, but a pair of bogeys across his final three holes took Mickelson one shot outside the number, and he will sit out the weekend for just the second time this season.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Images of Medinah ’99 and Bethpage ’02 will be rekindled, as Garcia and Woods will find themselves together in the day’s final pairing. While Garcia is staked to a slim lead, Woods appears largely in control, displaying the tee-to-green prowess and par-5 scoring that have become trademarks of dozens of wins across his illustrious career. No shortage of strong names are nipping at their heels, though, including former world No. 1 Westwood, defending champion Matt Kuchar and reigning Masters champ Adam Scott.

Shot of the day: Entering the week, just two players had ever recorded an eagle 2 at the Stadium Course’s 18th hole – a figure that has already been equaled through two rounds. A day after Jason Dufner holed out for an improbable deuce, Marc Leishman followed suit Friday en route to a 6-under 66. Leishman, who contended last month at the Masters, struck a mammoth pitching wedge from 172 yards at the home hole, landing softly near the front-right pin before trickling into the hole.

Quote of the day: 'Even though I haven’t played well in the past, I’ve still won here … I know how to get around this golf course.” – Woods, who claimed both the 2001 Players and 1994 U.S. Amateur at the Stadium Course.

Getty Images

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.

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.

Getty Images

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.