You Oughta Know: Wyndham Championship

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2012, 11:14 pm

Sergio Garcia desperately wants to return to the Ryder Cup.

He is showing just how much he misses playing in the international team event in his run at this weekend’s Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

With a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, Garcia seized the third-round lead.

Garcia can play his way back on to the European Ryder Cup team as an automatic qualifier with no worse than a three-way tie for third place Sunday. After making five consecutive Ryder Cup teams, Garcia did not qualify for the matches in Wales two years ago.

“You don’t want to get ahead of yourself,” Garcia said after Saturday’s round. “You just want to get on the team, and once you are on the team, you can start thinking about it.”

While Garcia is a favorite to win a spot as one of Jose Maria Olazabal’s two captain’s picks, he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. Garcia held the last spot on the Euro Ryder Cup world points list until Ian Poulter bumped him at the PGA Championship last weekend. With Garcia playing The Barclays next week instead of the European Tour’s Johnnie Walker Championship, this marks his last chance to make the European team on points. The Barclays doesn’t count toward the world points list but the Johnnie Walker does.

Garcia is 14-6-4 in Ryder Cup play. He has never been beaten in foursomes (alternate shot), the event’s most difficult partnered format. He’s 8-0-1. He has proven a fabulous partner with a 13-2-4 overall record in foursomes and four balls.

Some notes and nuggets to whet your appetite going into the Wyndham Championship’s final round:

• Garcia is vying for his eighth PGA Tour title, his first in more than four years, since he won The Players Championship in 2008. He won back-to-back European Tour events last October, the Castello Masters and Andalucia Masters.

• The last time Garcia had the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event? The Wyndham Championship. Garcia led going into the final round in ’09 but finished fourth, missing out on a playoff by a shot. Ryan Moore won that year.

• The last five times Garcia has taken a 54-hole lead into a final round on the PGA Tour, he failed to close the deal and win. He is 2-5 with 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour.

• Garcia has closed out 54-hole leads the last three times he has had them on the European Tour. He is 6-3 with a 54-hole lead on that tour.

• Jason Dufner is poised to be the man to beat in the PGA Tour playoffs. With a 7-under-par 63 to move into a tie for fourth Saturday at the Wyndham Championship, Dufner is in position to overtake Tiger Woods as the FedEx Cup points leader going into next week’s start of the playoffs at The Barclays. Dufner can take the lead with a victory Sunday at Wyndham, or with no worse than a two-way tie for second. Dufner could use the advantage with his announcement this week that he is skipping the first week of the playoffs at The Barclays next week to rest. 

• In the five-year history of the FedEx Cup, the regular-season points leader has gone on to win the playoffs just twice. Tiger Woods did it in 2007 and ’09.

• Heath Slocum looks as if he may be the only player to move up and crack into the top 125 of the FedEx Cup points list Sunday to qualify for next week’s start to the playoffs. Slocum entered this week 128th in FedEx Cup points. With his 67 Saturday, he is projected to move up to No. 122. Jhonattan Vegas, No. 124 in FedEx Cup points, put himself in danger of failing to qualify by missing the cut.

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 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.

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.