Leader Holmes doesn't hold back on Doral

By Jason SobelMarch 7, 2015, 12:18 am

DORAL, Fla. – On the surface, it would appear there’s absolutely nothing wrong with posting a 10-under 62 in the opening round of a professional golf tournament. That’s especially true when the next closest competitor is a whopping four strokes behind you and the overall scoring average is a notch above par.

But that idea underscores the reality of the situation. There actually exists one problem with going so low to kick things off.

You have to come back the next day.

And so it was for J.B. Holmes, whose opening 18 holes here at Trump National Doral were referred to by multiple players as perhaps “the round of the year,” despite the year only being a little over two months old.

Holmes returned Friday to shoot a 1-over 73 that was always going to pale in comparison.

“I've got a two‑shot lead,” he said. “Not too bad. If you had told me that at the beginning of week I would have a two‑shot lead after two rounds, I would have said, alright, sounds good.”

Following the round, Holmes was a mixture of pleased with his performance and frustrated with the redesign of the first hole – a par-5 playing 593 yards that yielded some head-scratching results.

With his first swing of the club after that 62, the big-hitting Holmes piped a drive 330 yards down the middle of the fairway. With his second shot, he went for the green with a 6-iron and thought it was perfect.

“I thought I was going to have a tap-in eagle,” he insisted.

Instead, the ball landed five feet onto the green and three feet from the left edge, only to fall all the way off to the right and into a watery grave.

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“It's pretty bad that you can hit two perfect shots and the ball can go in the water because of just a ridiculous green design that's really just terrible,” he said. “The shape of the green is fine, but it's not that wide anyways. And why you would put a giant hump in the middle of it to make a ball go in the water is ... it's stupid. Golf course is hard enough. You don't have to do that.”

He didn’t stop there.

“That's a joke. I hit a 350‑yard drive and hit a 6‑iron straight up in the air. … And it goes in the water on the right side of the green. I mean, that's not hard. That's stupid. That's unfair.”

Holmes was more perturbed by the opening-hole bogey than a closing double at the treacherous 18th – a hole he simply described as “tough.”

In between, he added a handful of birdies – five of ‘em, to be exact – in a round that might have been 11 strokes from that of the previous day, but really didn’t feel that much different.

“I hit a lot of great shots,” he said. “Not much difference between this round and yesterday in my opinion. So easily could have shot 6 under today. So just shows how difficult this course is and how you can get a couple bad breaks and make some numbers.”

Holmes’ lead over Ryan Moore is two shots, but only one other player is within four strokes and just 17 total are under par in the 73-man field.

For a guy who’s never won in wire-to-wire fashion and converted just one of three previous 36-holes leads, he’s certainly in pole position entering the weekend.

Then again, Holmes also understands that not all golf can be judged on score alone.

He maintained that his mindset didn’t change after the opening 62 and won’t change after the second-round 73, either.

“If you put everything on the score, then golf's not going to be much fun, because it's difficult,” he claimed. “I was just trying to go out there and have a good time and whatever the score is, it is.”

Therein lies the best thing about posting an over-par round while owning the lead. Just as reality shows there’s always a dark cloud lingering after going low on the opening day, there’s similarly a silver lining after this type of follow-up.

You get to come back the next day.

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.