Diversitys the KaName at Disney
Theres a Japanese player on top, followed closely by an Argentine, a Fijian and a host of Americans.
But even more differential are the motives these players have for winning this event.
On an overcast and windy day in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., PGA Tour rookie Kaname Yokoo birdied seven of his first ten holes on the Palm Course en route to a 7-under-par 65. He enters the weekend at 13-under 131.
I think once the Japanese people see me in the newspaper tomorrow morning, they will be pretty surprised, Yokoo said through a translator.
Yokoo is one shot clear of Jerry Smith, who shot his second straight 66.
Davis Love III (66) and Jose Coceres (65) each birdied their final holes at the Magnolia Course Friday, as did Vijay Singh (68) and David Toms (68).
Love and Coceres are knotted at 11-under, while PGA Championship winners Toms and Singh are tied with David Peoples (65) and Brian Wilson (68) at 10-under.
Meanwhile, two-time Disney champion Tiger Woods is lurking five shots off the pace.
Woods made his way to 9-under, before three-putting the par-4 17th for bogey. Tigers was forced to plow through a spike mark on his par putt.
It was one of those putts, that if I hit it easy, it could go anywhere, said Woods. So I just tried to ram it in there.
Admittedly red after the dropped shot, Woods blasted his tee shot on the par-4 18th some 360 yards down the center of the fairway. With only 89 yards to the pin, he placed his approach shot pin high, ten feet from the hole. But he missed the slippery, side-hill putt.
``That's the way it is sometimes,'' Woods said. ``You hit good shots and don't make a putt, hit a bad shot and make a bomb.''
With five PGA Tour wins and over $5.5 million in earnings this season, Woods is just looking to stoke the fire.
Others have greater motivation this week.
Smith, at 120th on the money list, and Wilson, No. 179, are trying to secure their 2002 tour cards.
There are only 125 guys that are going to (gain full exempt status via the money list). You just sort of try not to focus on that, just play your game, Smith said. It is hard. It is kind of a mental challenge every day.
Love and Toms ' both winners this season ' are trying to ride a wave of momentum into the upcoming year.
Ive always been the type of player to want to finish the year on a good note, said Toms, who is third on the money list with three victories. It gives you an extra boost going into next season.
Coceres, 56th on the money list, is trying to jump into the top 30 and qualify for the $5 million Tour Championship. And Singh is trying to avoid going winless on tour for the first time since 1996.
Then theres Yokoo, who earned his way onto the PGA Tour by finishing tied for 18th at the 2000 Qualifying Tournament.
The 29-year-old from Tokyo is trying to distinguish himself in what has become a pool of Japanese talent exported to the PGA Tour.
Shigeki Maruyama is the most famous of his countrymen, having become the first Japanese player in PGA Tour history to ever win on the mainland at this years Greater Milwaukee Open.
Theres also Toshi Izawa, who lost in a six-way playoff in this years Nissan Open and tied for fourth in the Masters Tournament; Shingo Katayama, the cowboy-hat wearing crowd pleaser who tied for fourth in the PGA Championship after leading the tournament through 36 holes; and Toru Tanaguchi, who finished third in the the WGC-World Match Play Championship in Australia.
Yokoo is the least known of the quartet, though hes already secured his 2002 playing privileges in his first season on the PGA Tour.
Im a little popular, said Yokoo. Shigeki Maruyama is really well-known in Japan. Shingo, he finished second at the Nissan this year. They are both really well known. They have had good success in Japan.
So, too, has Yokoo, having won in each of the past three years in his native land.
Now, he's trying to make his mark in the U.S.
Thanks to a tie for sixth in the Texas Open and a tie for 20th in last weeks Invensys Classic, Yokoo has climbed to 106th on the money list, with over $447,000.
'This is the strongest field in the world,' Yokoo said of the tour. 'I've always wanted to come over here.'
Though hes never been in this position before, Yokoo was in fourth place after two rounds of this years BellSouth Classic, only to shoot 77-78 on a 36-hole Sunday and tie for 34th.
Said Yokoos translator, Aaron Buchmiser: Hes afraid to go to sleep. He doesnt know whats going to happen. His swing might change or something.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Defending champion Duffy Waldorf shot 73-69--142 and missed the 36-hole cut by three strokes. The 5-under cutline was the lowest in tournament history. Seventy-one players made the cut.
*The final pairing - Yokoo and Smith - will tee off Saturday at 1:55 p.m. ET.
*Patrick Macune, the New York police officer who has been sifting through rubble at the World Trade Center since the terrorist attacks, made an eagle on the 14th hole of the Palm Course. His team finished at 18-under par, tied for 15th.
Full-field scores from the NCR Golf Classic
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.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
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.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.