Duval Answers Challenge
Playing in his first 72-hole event in10 weeks, the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket birdied the 15th, 17th and 18th holes to capture the Buick Challenge by two strokes over Nick Price and Jeff Maggert.
'It's surprising to come back this way,' said Duval, whose final round 65 earned him $414,000.
Thirty starts removed from his last victory at the 1999 PLAYERS Championship, Duval is a PGA Tour winner for the 12th time.
It's been a frustrating season for the former No.1-ranked player in the world. Putting problems cost him a couple of chances to win earlier in the year. An errant 6-iron cost him a chance to win his first major at the Masters. And until this week, the public's last image of Duval was of him hopelessly flailing away in the Road Hole bunker at St. Andrews.
Then, when things finally seemed to be clicking, a bad back sidelined the 28-year-old.
He missed the season's final major, the PGA Championship. He missed the $5 million WGC-NEC Invitational.
And quite simply, he just missed playing.
Lying on his couch, Duval wondered when, and if, he would play again. And would he be able to compete at the level he was accustomed to?
He answered those questions this week.
Trailing Maggert by two shots entering the final round, Duval found himself in sole possession of the lead by the time the final group made the turn.
Following a front-nine 5-under-par 31, Duval was at 17-under, one shot clear of Maggert and Price.
Maggert, who was trying to become the first wire-to-wire winner of this event in 23 years, birdied the 10th to reclaim a share of the lead; and then took the outright lead with another red number at the par-3 12th.
Meanwhile, Price looked as if he was beginning to falter. In search of his first Tour win since the 1998 FedEx St. Jude Classic, the Zimbabwean bogeyed the 9th and 11th holes to fall two shots off the lead at 15-under.
Price regrouped with birdies at the 12th and 13th holes, but couldn't close the gap on Maggert. Playing alongside Price, Maggert also birdied the 12th and 13th to retain a two-shot lead over his playing companion at 19-under-par.
That lead was cut to just one when Price birdied the par-5 15th.
With three holes remaining, Maggert led the way at 19-under. Price was one back at 18-under. And Duval stood in third place at 17-under.
Then things got really interesting.
An errant tee shot at the par-3 16th led to a bogey 4 for Maggert. With two holes left, the scoreboard showed Maggert and Price tied for the lead at 18-under, with Duval just one shot back.
Playing in the penultimate group, Duval stuck his approach shot at the par-4 17th to two feet. The tap-in birdie made it a three-way tie for the top spot at 18-under.
That logjam didn't remain for long.
Approaching from the fairway, both Maggert and Price missed the green at the 17th. Both made bogey.
That meant a par 4 at the last for Duval would secure him at least a spot in a playoff. But Duval didn't want that. He had already lost once this year to Dennis Paulson in sudden death at the Buick Classic.
No, there would be no playoff this Sunday. Duval made sure of that by sticking another approach shot within three feet of the cup. It was Duval's eighth birdie of the day. It turned out he didn't need it, as both Price and Maggert parred the 72nd hole, but it was a great way to complete his comeback.
'This is a spectacular week for me,' said Duval. 'Everything that happened this year on the golf course, then to follow it up that disappointment with the injury, then to come back and do this..it's an absolute dream.'
Maggert's Sunday dream turned into a nightmare down the stretch. For the day, Maggert carded seven birdies, but he also posted five bogeys en route to a 2-under-par 70.
'I just made a few too many bogeys,' said a disappointed Maggert, who is now 1-8 when taking a 54-hole lead into the final round. 'David played awfully good today. Me and Nick played well all day but we kept stumbling at the end and David made birdies.'
While the season is winding down, Duval is just getting started. Armed with good health and improved confidence, Duval is ready to 'get after it.'
Said Duval: 'This is the best I've felt in a long time, certainly this calendar year.'
And the year's no over just yet.
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.