Furious Finish Keeps Furyk in the Lead

By Mercer BaggsAugust 25, 2001, 4:00 pm
There were no left-handed shots Saturday. No trees struck. No flagsticks hit.
But there were a lot of good shots for Tiger Woods in the third round of the $5 million WGC-NEC Invitational.
Woods posted a 4-under-par 66 at Firestone Country Club to move to 11-under through 54 holes in Akron, OH.
But while Tiger has the headlines, Jim Furyk has the lead.
Thanks to a furious finish, Furyk matched Woods 66 to maintain a two-shot advantage at 13-under-par over the worlds top-ranked player heading into the final round.
'If you gave me my choice, Id rather be leading the golf tournament by two and teeing off with Tiger in the last group. Theres worse positions I could be in right now, Furyk said.
Furyk and Woods have distanced themselves from the 38-man field, but its not quite a two-man race to the $1 million finish line.
Paul Azinger (65) and Darren Clarke (68) are five off the lead at 8-under.
Phil Mickelson (70) is six back after receiving a one-stroke penalty at the par-5 16th.
Two off the lead at the time, the lefty blocked his tee shot into the left rough.
With his ball nestled in the thick grass, Mickelson was unable to clearly identify his ball, as he hadnt marked it when he put it into play. After conferring with rules officials, Mickelson picked up his ball to see if it was his, but when he did so, he failed to tell his playing partner, Furyk.
That resulted in a one-stroke penalty. Rule 12-2 in the Official Rules of Golf states ' Except in a hazard, the player may, without penalty, lift a ball he believes to be his own for the purpose of identificationBefore lifting the ball, the player must announce his intentions to his opponent in match play or his marker or fellow-competitor in stroke play.
Mickelson eventually carded a double-bogey 7.
A year ago, Woods won his second straight NEC title under the cover of darkness. This year, he may do the same under the cover of an umbrella.Due to the threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon, tournament officials have moved and split tee times.
The first pairing will go out on the back nine at 7:45 a.m. ET, with the leaders teeing off on the front at 9:06 a.m.
Play is expected to conclude around 1:00 p.m., barring weather delays.
CBS will broadcast the tournament in a tape-delayed format in its original 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. time period.
Playing in the penultimate group on Saturday, Woods birdied his first two holes to tie Furyk for the lead at 9-under.
Woods bogeyed the 4th, but actually took sole possession of the lead when Furyk bogeyed the 4th and 5th holes.
A couple of tight approach shots led to birdies at Nos. 9 and 10. He then completed his scoring by sinking a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th.
I hit a lot of pretty good shots, Woods said. I got myself right there in contention with a chance to win tomorrow.
A victory would be the sixth straight for Woods in the Buckeye State. Tiger has won three consecutive Memorial Tournaments, played in Dublin, and the last two NEC Invitationals.
Woods is winless since capturing the Memorial in early June. Furyk, however, hasnt won since the season-opening Mercedes Championships.
Saturday, Furyk started sluggishly but finished mightily.
Following the back-to-back bogeys, Furyk made birdies at the 8th, 12th and 13th holes to regain a share of the lead at 10-under.
He stayed level with Tiger by birdieing the 16th, and then surged ahead with two more red numbers to shot a back-nine 5-under-par 30.
It turned into a very, very good day, Furyk said. Hopefully, tomorrow, things will go smoothly and Ill have a good round, but Ill be prepared. If its not looking well or its not going well early, I know I can plug away and turn it around like I did today.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Furyk has held at least a share of the lead heading into the final round of a PGA Tour event five times. He's won twice (1995, '99 Las Vegas Invitationals).
*U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen fired a 6-under-par 29 on the front nine Saturday. The score tied the nine-hole record at Firestone Country Club, set by Tom Weiskopf in the final round in 1977. Goosen started his round by holing a 9-iron from 142 yards for eagle. Hes played the 1st hole in 4-under-par through three rounds.
Check out Retief Goosens scorecard
The South African birdied his final hole to shoot 1-under 35 on the back nine. Goosens 64 has him a 5-under-par for the tournament.
*Colin Montgomerie broke 70 for the first time in the third round on the PGA Tour this season. Montgomerie shot 66 to move into a tie for 5th place at 7-under.
Full-field scores from the WGC-NEC Invitational

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 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.